Our previous post featured the fine work that Archaeology Southwest Field School students display as part of their public outreach duties. The second portion of the June 29, 2019, GCAS field trip to the Gila River Farm included a tour of this season's Field School excavations. Of particular interest was evidence the Field School uncovered of cultural convergence. In a multi-room pueblo complex, the crew found artifacts of various 14th-Century Puebloan cultures including Mimbres-Mogollon (with their distinctive wall and floor construction features), and Kayenta (with their unique ceramics including Kayenta perforated plates). It became clear from the excavations that people of different cultures, practices, and languages, migrating in and out of the region, found ways to live and work together long-term. We in the 21st Century could take a lesson.
If you happen to be traveling along Highway 70 between Lordsburg, New Mexico, and Phoenix, Arizona, you may want to plan an extra 45 minutes to make a quick side trip when you reach Thatcher, Arizona. The Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher proudly displays the Native American artifacts collected from numerous sites throughout Arizona and New Mexico by the well-trained avocational archaeologists Jack and Vera Mills during the four decades from the 1940s through the 1970s. [Far left photo via eac.edu; near left photo via travel2arizona.com.]
The 2019 Southwest Kiln Conference will be taking place during the weekend of October 4, 2019 - October 6, 2019 in Globe, Arizona, and everyone is invited. The organizers stress that "...attendance is free and open to the public so come up to Globe and learn about the exciting things being done in the fields of prehistoric pottery replication and experimental archaeology."
John has been a member of GCAS for more than 10 years. He grew up in El Paso and worked for 30 years with the Federal Government in the Washington, DC, area before returning to the Southwest in 1995. He has helped with the Cañada Alamosa and other archaeological projects for Human Systems Research in Las Cruces as well as with the Black Mountain and Woodrow Ruin projects for Colorado University.
On Sunday, April 28, 2019, John was one of a group who took advantage of the weekend's ASNM Annual Meeting in Silver City to visit the Kipp Ruin near Deming, New Mexico. This site was first recorded by archaeologists in the early 1900s and is currently owned and managed by the Archaeological Conservancy. Kipp is located on the floodplain of the Mimbres River in Luna County at the eastern edge of the Mimbres region, the northern edge of the Casas Grandes region, and the western edge of the Jornada Mogollon region.
Kipp has pithouse structures that appear to date from 100 BCE to 1000 CE. We see an example of one such structure in John's photo above on the left. Kipp also has a post-1200 CE component that appears to have evidence of all three cultures - Mimbres, Casas Grandes, and Jornada Mogollon - that converged at this location. Evidence includes remnants of Salado polychrome pottery such as the potsherd shown in John's photo over here on the right.
Thank you, John, for sharing your photos with all of cyberspace!
Researchers at Washington State University have (re)discovered the oldest tattooing tool in all of western North America. [Photo of tool on right, via Newsweek.] This 3-1/2 inch long, dual-needle tattooing instrument made out of two prickly pear cactus spines bound to a skunkbush sumac stem/handle with yucca fiber, had been excavated in 1972 from a midden at the Turkey Pen archaeological site in southeastern Utah. Based on the tool itself and human coprolites and maize cobs found in the same midden, the find was dated to 79-130 CE, about 2000 years ago during the Basketmaker II period. Similar tattooing tools retrieved from sites throughout the US Southwest were much more recent, having been dated to about 1100-1280CE. In other words, the Turkey Pen artifact now suggests that tattooing in our region had been practiced for at least 1000 years longer than previously believed.
One of the fun aspects of studying petroglyphs is that regardless of how you interpret the images, nobody is wrong and everybody is right. Following, then, are pics of some of the petroglyphs our GCAS group saw on our March 3, 2019, field trip to Indian Wells.
Author Alex Patterson identifies this circle-with-a-dot over there on the left as a symbol for the moon. Others describe it as a symbol for the sun. Either interpretation seems reasonable but it gets complicated when considering this next image here on the right. Two moons? Two suns? One of each, perhaps?
The March 3, 2019, GCAS field trip to Indian Wells was enlightening on several levels. Chris Overlock's photos gave a good overview of the general terrain and vegetation, and showcased the classic GCAS looking-for-potsherds stoop that we all know and love. Here in Part II, is a second view of the overall terrain of Indian Wells, followed by a brief illustration of what a bulldozed archaeological site looks like for those who may not have ever seen one before.
Chris was one of 11 humans accompanied by 2 enthusiastic canines on our March 3, 2019, visit to three archaeological sites that comprise Indian Wells in southwestern New Mexico. Two of our group had come all the way from Las Cruces to join the fun. High-clearance vehicles carried us over increasingly rough roads to a point from which we could reach our intended sites on foot. The weather was breezy but otherwise just right for exploration.
Researchers at Penn State reported a few months ago that they have isolated a 1000-year-old plant virus - a chrysovirus - from corncobs recovered from the Antelope House Ruin in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. This chrysovirus is not just the first chrysovirus found in corn, but it is the oldest plant virus scientists have found to date. [Antelope House image via americansouthwest.net; virus image via alchetron.com]
Archaeology Southwest reports that on Thursday, March 28, 2019, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will sell certain oil and gas leases within the Greater Chaco Canyon area. They are asking concerned citizens to contact the BLM to protest this lease sale and will provide information on their website within the next several days explaining how to write an effective protest. In the meantime, some background: