Friday, March 29, 2019, 9:30 AM to ? Work party at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site. Volunteer for indoor projects or to help guide local school students in their outdoor projects. No experience necessary!

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 6:00 PM. Meet at 2045 Memory Lane in Silver City, New Mexico. No potluck dinner but refreshments provided. Featured speaker: Chris Turnbow addresses "The Search for the Seventh Parrot.”

NEXT FIELD TRIP: Sunday, April 7, 2019. Old Town and the petroglyphs of Hidden Valley Ranch. Meet at 10:00 AM sharp at the rest area on Highway 180 southbound at Mile Marker 144.7, about 3 miles south of the Hwy 180/Hwy 61 junction. These will be short walks on easy-to-moderate terrain but keep your eyes and ears open because Rattlesnake Season has begun in earnest.

Travel

Visit a Virtual Museum

image from swvirtualmuseum.nau.eduThe American Southwest Virtual Museum describes itself as "...a digital repository of photographs, maps, information, and virtual tours of National Park Service units and museums across the Southwest." However, they offer much more than that to the avocational archaeologist. For example, browse through their Pottery Guide in the home page's right sidebar, or perhaps start with the home page's Featured Exhibit. Their interactive Artifact Exhibits include animal bone, projectile points, shells, and more - with comprehensive identifications that include provenience.

The American Southwest Virtual Museum is an excellent way for anyone to become better acquainted with the cultures, artifacts, and archaeological sites of the US Southwest. Your GCAS Webmaster says check it out!

/s/ webmaster [Style III Mimbres bowl image by Boone/Belnap, Bilby Research Center, Northern Arizona University]


Arizona State Museum's Conservation of Native Basketry

The Arizona State Museum, located on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, has image from www.statemuseum.arizona.eduspent the past six years on a massive conservation project of their collection of over 35,000 Native baskets, sandals, cradleboards, mats, and more. They undertook their Woven Wonders conservation project because their vast collection of perishable items required new conservation techniques to safely store them without further deterioration. Moreover, the ASM aimed to make their collection more accessible to the public as well as researchers. This involved not only improving how the collections were physically stored and climate-controlled, but also updating how the items were organized and catalogued. [Photo via Arizona State Museum.]

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Have You Visited the Amerind Museum Yet?

image from upload.wikimedia.orgIf you have ever traveled along Interstate 10 in Arizona between Willcox and Benson, you may have spotted a small roadside sign in the Dragoon Mountains [photo on left via Creative Commons] directing you to the Amerind Museum off of Exit 318. The idea of a museum located in such a beautiful natural setting may have piqued your interest, but at 75 mph you were already past the exit to give much thought to a detour.

How about taking a detour there now?

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GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part VI

Mexico dinner with group 3 - Mata Ortiz hotel portalTo read the full narrative of the great GCAS field trip of May 2-4, 2018, see Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V. 20 - Our field trip tour group  14 of 16

I have been remiss in not disclosing that our group dined - and well - while in Mexico. No photos were taken of the excellent seafood restaurant our guide Luis introduced us to in Janos; but we had a more traditional lunch experience in a small hotel in Mata Ortiz that had little trouble in providing our group of 16 gabachos with a classic lunch of chiles rellenos, tacos, and much, much more.  (h/t Marcia Corl for the dining photo up there on the left; webmaster focused instead on the chile ristras along the garden portal.)

Day 3: May 4, 2018. We arrived in Paquimé. The site's thick adobe walls may be slowly dissolving back into the earth, but it remains an awe-inspiring sight to look out over Paquimé's grand plaza, its ceremonial structures, and its residential areas comprising some 1700 rooms.

6 - Residential compound 7 - View of 2d-story floor timbers and floor grooves 12 - Small patio-plaza with drainage feature 16 - Room of 17 corners 11 - Doorway into small plaza + T-doorway with bowed lintel 8 - LtoR = Kyle  Kevin  Josh  Bob  Luis

Continue reading "GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part VI" »


GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part V

8 - Mata Ortiz 1930s-era churchTo read the complete narrative of the GCAS field trip of May 2-4, 2018, see Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

The second half of Day 2, May 3, 2018, comprised a tour of the area's historic structures, including a charming 1930s-era church in Juan Mata Ortiz.

In stark contrast to the small, well-tended church and grounds in Mata Ortiz, were 10 - Terrazas's Hacienda San Diegothe ruins of Hacienda San Diego, one of the mansions belonging to the early 20th-Century cattle baron Luis Terrazas. During the First Gilded Age, Luis Terrazas amassed a combined total of 7 million acres of ranch land, over 500,000 head of cattle, and a few hundred thousand head of horses, mules, and sheep. He was reputed at the time to be the largest individual land owner in the Americas. During the Mexican Revolution of 1916, Pancho Villa used his position as provisional governor to confiscate 11 - Hacienda San Diego portalTerrazas's land and slaughter all the livestock to feed the revolutionary army.

(This is an avocational archaeological website, so I will not personally comment upon the politics of the Terrazas-Villa era. I will leave it up to discerning websurfers to determine for themselves whether or not certain remarks are factually attributable to Luis Terrazas, such as, "Chihuahua comprises the largest part of my ranch," and "I am not from Chihuahua. Chihuahua is mine.")

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GCAS Field Trip Part IV: Marcia Corl, Today's Featured Photographer

Marcia Corl, an archaeology enthusiast from Las Cruces, joined us on our international field trip to Firing Ceramics in Juan Mata OrtizPaquimé. In today's post please enjoy some of her portraits of the people living and working in the ceramics center of Juan Mata Ortiz. All photos you see in this post are Marcia Corl's, EXCEPT this large one over here on the right. Marcia says that this particular one is a photo she took of another photo that she saw hanging in one of the Mata Ortiz galleries we visited. Marcia says that this is a portrait of Juan Quezada himself, shown firing Mata Ortiz ceramics the Old Skool way - using a flaming pile of wood and cow pies. However, an image of Juan Quezada seems to be an apt introduction to the rest of Marcia's own photos of the artisans and residents of his home town. (As always, hover on a photo for a caption; and click on any photo to enlarge.)

Marcia writes:

"​I had no idea what to expect when I learned I was able to go with this bright and energetic group to Mata Ortiz and Paquimé.  I had told myself that I was not going to spend any money on pots (which I had very little room for in my house), but the trip was going to be a learning experience anyway.  Never had seen Paquimé either. We The Young Artist saved the second day of the trip for the Mata Ortiz visit. I expected to drive up to some sort of Plaza where we would find everyone with their wares, but our first stop was at a little adobe house, where I thought Luis (our guide) maybe had some personal business, until we were all escorted into the private house of a potter.  The whole bus was going in!  She had 3 walls of the small front room lined in shelves of pottery, all hand thrown, and Potter fine detailsome hand painted with a single-hair brush. The prices were on tape written in dollars below the beautiful objects, ranging from 5 dollars to 200 dollars.  The table she was to demonstrate the fine painting was on the 4th wall.  We all watched with bated breath while she marked the finely decorated white clay pot with a repeat pattern of burnt orange paint between the tiny black design already there. 

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GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part III

1 - Mata Ortiz detail work Potter fine detailTo read the complete narrative of the GCAS field trip of May 2-4, 2018, see Part I here, and Part II here.

Day 2: May 3, 2018. Shopping day in the artisans' town of Mata Ortiz. Because the Grant County Archaeological Society embraces art and culture in all its forms. (h/t Marcia Corl for close-up photo of fine ceramics detailing.)

Juan Mata Ortiz is a town of about 1200 people located several miles south- 5 - LtoR  Kevin  Meem and Lee examine potssouthwest of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. It was established in the late 19th Century  as "Pearson," but after the 1916 Mexican Revolution it renamed itself "Juan Mata Ortiz" in memory of an army colonel and local hero who had fought against the Apache. The town's economy had been based exclusively on agriculture, but beginning in the late 1970s/early 1980s a ceramics tradition began to develop that now provides the town and its inhabitants with a more stable and diverse economy than agriculture alone had afforded.

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GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part II

IMG_423125 - Olla - photographing the cliff face May 2, 2018, the first day of our GCAS international field trip to archaeological and 33 - Yep  Golondrina historic sites in Chihuahua, Mexico, was windy and action-packed. We hiked for about 1/3 mile from La Cueva de la Olla crossing a shallow stream and the valley floor, up a short, steep path to the cave and cliff dwellings of La Cueva de la Golondrina ("Cave of the Swallow"). Occupation of this site has been dated to roughly 1000-1050 CE; somewhat more recent and for a shorter duration than La Cueva de la Olla. (h/t Marcia Corl for far left image.)

One of the structures in La Cueva de la Golondrina (see photo over here on the right) was built in a unique 27 - Golondrina circular cliff dwellingcylindrical shape, yet it and the other more conventional, rectangular-shaped adobe rooms at this site used the same defensive techniques of small ventilation windows and narrow, low, T-shaped doorways that seem typical of cliff dwellings of this era throughout northwest Mexico and southwest US.

31 - Golondrina far L wall's carved steps 32 - Golondrina far L wall porthole detail with lintelsFacing the cave, the cliff dwellings on the far left appeared more intact than those at La Cueva de la Olla; their walls extended all the way to the cave's roof. Slim rows of latillas in the upper parts of small ventilation windows remained in place despite graffiti etched into the surrounding adobe. Steps carved into the sloping rock were still usable to climb up to the cave floor (see photo on far left). The fine sand of the cave floor itself appeared uniformly flat and smooth, even into the cave's furthermost recesses.

Facing the cave along its upper right side, a long panel of white-painted pictographs came into view.

Continue reading "GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part II" »