Assessing Archaeological Applications of Curated Sediment Samples: A Case Study at Mesa Portales

Author(s): Nathan Shelley

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "How to Conduct Museum Research and Recent Research Findings in Museum Collections: Posters in Honor of Terry Childs" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This project assesses the research utility of curated sediment samples excavated at Mesa Portales, New Mexico. These archaeological deposits date to the Pueblo III period (1150-1300 AD) and contain evidence suggesting two traditionally estranged cultures, Gallina and Chacoan, co-existed. This evidence stands in contrast to other instances of Gallina archaeology appearing to represent a culturally isolated population. Curated samples were compared to new geologic-core samples from the site vicinity to characterize site-formation processes and test stratigraphic context of artifact provenience and previous interpretations of cultural interaction at Mesa Portales. In addition to contributing to our understanding of the occupation sequence at Mesa Portales, project goals include developing protocols for using curated sediments to address new geoarchaeological problems and generating information regarding the utility of curated sediments to aid in future collections-management decisions. Evaluation of certain curated archaeological materials, such as sediment samples, is needed to determine their archaeological value and whether their continued curation is appropriate. As the archaeological community awaits the long overdue approval of updates to 36 CFR 79 (Curation of Federally-Owned and Administered Archeological Collections) the ability to discard federal collections remains in limbo and research involving the curated Mesa Portales samples can provide an invaluable perspective.

Cite this Record

Assessing Archaeological Applications of Curated Sediment Samples: A Case Study at Mesa Portales. Nathan Shelley. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451836)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25380