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A Flurry of Field Schools in the Upper Gila and Mimbres Drainages

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

The Upper Gila, San Francisco, and Upper Mimbres drainages have seen several cycles of intense research and student training since the 1930s. Field projects directed by notable archaeologists and institutions, including Emil Haury, Paul Martin and John Rinaldo, James Fitting, Harry Shafer, and the Mimbres Foundation, have periodically focused professional attention on the area while providing fertile training grounds for students in U.S. Southwest archaeology. Currently the area is in the midst of another archaeological boom, with field schools from multiple institutions introducing new students to the area and changing our understanding of the region through new research programs that span much of the pre-contact period. This session presents research from five current field schools, bringing together established and emerging scholars to present new insights on the archaeology of southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.


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  • Documents (15)

Documents

  • Chasing Tlaloc and Dragonflies in the Mimbres Valley: An Analysis of Ceramic Distribution and Style (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Danielle Romero. Barbara Roth. Darrell Creel.

    Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures were common design elements on Classic Mimbres ceramics. However, certain forms and motifs were more widely used than others. During the 2016 field season at the Elk Ridge Ruin, a bowl with a Tlaloc figure was recovered from a burned ramada area, and a sherd with a partial dragonfly was found in one of the pueblo rooms. While both of these figures were included on rock art panels, they were infrequent on ceramics. This paper examines the presence of...

  • The Early Agricultural Period on the Upper Gila River, Arizona (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT John Roney. Robert Hard. Karen Adams. A. C. MacWilliams. Andrea Thomas.

    Recent excavation and survey documents substantial use of the Upper Gila River Valley in Arizona during the Early Agricultural period. We have identified at least two classes of Early Agricultural period sites in the Duncan region, cerros de trincheras and river terrace sites. Both contain residential architecture and evidence of a diversity of activities. Round Mountain, a cerro de trincheras, contains 1.9 km of walls and terraces and 16 rock rings and was constructed on a 640 foot hill during...

  • God's Empire: Ritual, Repression, and Resistance on the Rio Grande, 1300-1848 (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Patrick Depret-Guillaume.

    This interdisciplinary project evaluates the relationship between Spanish and indigenous religious practices and their respective political objectives in proto-historic and colonial New Mexico. Beginning with a discussion of the emergence of a new religious idiom in the Pueblo world during the fourteenth century CE, I investigate the entanglement of political and economic forces with religion up to the conquest of the region by Anglo-Americans in the mid-1840s. In doing so, I highlight the...

  • A Natural and Unnatural History of Faunal Change in Southwestern New Mexico since AD 500 (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Karen Schollmeyer. S. O. MacDonald.

    An important intersection between archaeology and the study of natural history lies in understanding the long-term processes of human-environment interaction that affected local biotas in the past and have shaped contemporary landscapes. This study integrates information from archaeological faunal assemblages and historic and modern data from the major watersheds of southwestern New Mexico—specifically, the upper Gila-San Francisco and Mimbres drainages—to examine changes in the status and...

  • Not Quite Coalesced: Salado Settlements in the Upper Gila (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Jeffery Clark. Katherine Dungan. Leslie Aragon.

    Most 14th-century Salado settlements in the Upper Gila watershed are comprised of separate room blocks in both planned and ad hoc configurations. These spatial arrangements suggest that integration, and by extension coalescence, was never fully achieved despite occupation spans of more than a century. This poster examines ceramic and other material culture variability among room blocks within four settlements to identify social and cultural differences that persisted until depopulation in the...

  • Prehistoric Pipe Replication and Analysis, A Deeper Look into the Bowl (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Adam Sezate.

    Smoking pipes have played an integral role for many American Southwestern groups. My research project conducts a thorough investigation into the construction of prehistoric ceramic and stone pipes. Using only stone tools, I conduct construction and use-wear analysis on the tools used to create pipes as well as the pipes themselves. I analyze the two materials most used among Southwestern Native American groups, local Southwestern clay (from the Tucson Basin) and vesicular basalt. Measuring the...

  • Research Analysis of Tool-Stone Procurement Patterns in the Gila Forks Region and Beyond (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Paul A. Duran. Fumi Arakawa. NMSU 2015 Field School.

    Lithic data from Twin Pines Pueblo in the Gila Forks region of New Mexico can shed new light on tool-stone procurement strategies in the American Southwest. The goal of this research is to track the economic strategies among the Mimbres people by investigating stone-tool raw material distributions and procurement strategies. I begin by defining local, semi-local, and non-local lithic materials in the Gila Forks region. Then, I investigate how groups in this region procured and used different raw...

  • The Reserve Area Archaeological Project (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Emily Trautwein. Stephen Nash. Michele Koons. Deborah Huntley.

    Since 2014 archaeologists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Reserve Area Archaeological Project (RAAP) have conducted survey work in the greater Reserve, New Mexico region. They examined numerous tracts in a range of biomes to better understand the highly variable topographic setting and archaeological settlement patterns, documenting dozens of new sites in the process. After spending a week in the New Mexico site files in Santa Fe in March, 2016, the team also spent substantial time...

  • Revisiting the Mogollon Early Pithouse Period (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Lori Barkwill Love.

    The beginning of the Early Pithouse period in the Mogollon region, around A.D. 200, was marked by a fundamental shift in material culture and lifeways. This major shift included the introduction of ceramics and the construction of more substantial habitation structures as well as communal structures. Yet, relatively speaking, few Early Pithouse period sites have been excavated, and many of the sites that have been excavated were excavated 30 or more years ago. This poster presents new data from...

  • Salvage Excavation: NMSU Summer Field Project at the South Diamond Creek Pueblo in the Northern Mimbres Region (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Fumiyasu Arakawa. Trevor Lea.

    New Mexico State University (NMSU) anthropology students spent the summer of 2016 getting to know a bit more about the Mimbres people who lived more than 1,000 years ago, and along the way helped preserve their history. Eight NMSU students joined community volunteers for four weeks to explore and excavate areas of the South Diamond Creek Pueblo (SDCP) in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. The project had three major goals: 1) to contribute to our understanding of cultural trajectories in the...

  • Settlement patterns of Salado period occupations in the Duncan/York Valley on the Upper Gila River (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Kristin Corl. John Roney. Mary Whisenhunt. Robert Hard.

    The Salado period occupation sites have become the focus of substantial discussion in the Southwest as it relates to broader regional migrations, population fluctuations as well as sociocultural changes. Unfortunately many of these important sites have suffered from decades of destruction and continued looting. Comparing early site notes from the Gila Pueblo and other early researchers in the Duncan/York Valley to the University of Texas at San Antonio Southwest field project survey notes, this...

  • Site analysis and excavation of the Gila River Farm Site in Cliff, New Mexico (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Conner Awayda. Leslie Aragon.

    Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona’s Upper Gila Preservation Archaeology (UGPA) field school excavations at the Gila River Farm Site (LA 39315) produced interesting results from the 2016 field season. The Gila River Farm Site is a Cliff Phase (A.D. 1300 – 1450) Salado site located on the first terrace of the Gila River, in southwestern New Mexico. It was recorded by archaeologists in the 1980s but had never been excavated. Although now protected on land owned by the New Mexico...

  • Subconscious Expressions of Identity in Migrant Communities: A Look at Lithic Debitage (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Peter Babala. Joseph Reti.

    Subconscious expressions of cultural identity can be found in low-visibility attributes of every-day processes such as lithic production. In the late 13th century, Kayenta migrants into the southwestern New Mexico maintained or adapted many archaeologically visible traditions. This research examines lithic debitage assemblage morphology and attributes from three archaeological settings: southwestern New Mexican sites, Kayenta sites, and Salado sites (representing post-migration communities)...

  • Survey in the York-Duncan Valley, Arizona: Understanding Patterns of Mogollon Population Aggregation and Dispersal (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Mary Whisenhunt.

    This research project examines prehistoric population aggregation and abandonment processes by analyzing how communities in Arizona’s York-Duncan Valley nucleated, and then dispersed in or abandoned the region from the end of the Early Agricultural period to the Salado period. The Upper Gila River Valley offers a unique opportunity to understand these dynamics. The research explores the interplay of ecological and demographic pressures within a resilience theoretical framework. I suggest that...

  • The Value and Availability of Quality Obsidian at Antelope Creek (2017)
    Citation DOCUMENT Kaitlyn Cometa. Allen Denoyer.

    Antelope Creek is a part of the important larger obsidian source at Mule Creek in Southwestern New Mexico. Antelope Creek contains an abundance of both poor and good quality obsidian that appears to have developed from the same volcanic event. In this experiment, a large sample of Antelope Creek obsidian was collected and tested for quality through the process of flintknapping. Results indicate that knappers can readily tell a poor quality nodule from a good quality nodule from this source by...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America