NEW MEXICO ARCHAEOLOGY
Dating New Mexico Archaeology:
Strong Attractions, Warm Glows, and Sizzle
A Zoom webinar by Dr. Eric Blinman and Shelby Jones
Tying archaeological evidence to calendric time scales requires collaboration. Archaeomagnetic dating uses the Earth’s magnetic field at past times to date material. Radiocarbon dating is a method to date organic material using the properties of carbon-14. Both science-based dating methods are in use at the Center for New Mexico Archaeology in Santa Fe. Both laboratories are at the cutting edges of their disciplines, both serve world interests and both are fun with moments of beauty!
Dr. Eric Blinman is the director of the Office of Archaeological Studies in Santa Fe. He holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Washington State University and has been involved in Southwestern archaeology since 1979. During his tenure, he has provided numerous outreach programs for New Mexico Historic Sites.
Shelby Jones will head the archaeomagnetic and radiocarbon dating laboratories at the Office of Archaeological Studies. She will receive her PhD in geophysics this year and has worked with applications of geomagnetism to archaeology since 2013.
Virtual Webinar Chaco Series
Join Rob Weiner
“Gambling at Chaco Canyon: Oral Tradition, Archaeology, and Ancient History in the Southwest".
Sunday, November 15
Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico is among the most researched
archaeological sites in the world, but there is still major disagreement over
the organization and function of this ancient center. In this talk, Rob Weiner
explores a new vision of Chaco Canyon informed by engagement with
Diné (Navajo) oral traditions of The Great Gambler which, combined with
archaeological evidence, suggest gambling was a key element of Chaco's
ancient history. Far from the recreational leisure activity of today, gambling
was enmeshed within religious, social, political, and economic life at Chaco.
Considering the role of gambling offers a new lens onto the cultural dynamics of the Southwest's most infamous archaeological period.
Rob Weiner is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research focuses on Chaco Canyon, with particular emphasis on monumental roads, cosmovision, gambling, and Navajo oral traditions. More broadly, he is interested in archaeologies of religion and the role of religion in the longue durée of human history. He has conducted fieldwork in all Four Corners states as well as Turkey.
He also holds positions as a Research Fellow with the Solstice Project, and as a Research Affiliate at Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.
>Use this link to watch the program: Gambling at Chaco Canyon
Ruth Van Dyke is an archaeologist specializing in the North American Southwest, specifically Chaco Canyon and the Four Corners region. Her research interests include landscape, architecture, power, memory, phenomenology and visual representation. She is currently working on social, visual and political relationships among Chacoan outlier communities in northwest New Mexico.
EXPERIENCE CHACO CANYON
With Dr. Ruth Van Dyke,
We are beginning our Chaco Experience lecture series with the “Chaco Landscapes:
Sensory and Political Engagements with Place” presented courtesy of Dr. Van Dyke and
School for Advanced Research (SAR). We will continue with additional lectures about
Chaco culture prehistory including Chaco ruin outliers.
Archaeologist Ruth Van Dyke presents the 2020 Linda S. Cordell lecture as part of the
SAR's Creative Thought Forum. Dr. Van Dyke shares insights into social, political, and sensorial relationships across the greater Chaco landscape, past and present. She explores how archaeologists can work together with Native peoples to influence the public understanding of contemporary economic/extractive projects, including those in northwest New Mexico.
“Ask An Archaeologist”
Capturing Archaeological Sites Using Aerial Drone Technology
With April M. Brown,
Digital Media Coordinator The Archaeological Conservancy
Over the past few years, aerial drone technology has become a valuable archaeological
tool, especially as the technology has become more affordable. Drones aid in discovering
previously undetectable features; can be outfitted with specialty sensors; and offer a
large-scale perspective of cultural sites that is impossible to achieve on the ground.
I recently had the privilege of producing a series of virtual tours for The Archaeological
Conservancy that were featured in the Santa Fe New Mexican. The first in the series
features James Walker, our Southwestern Regional Director and Vice President, leading
a tour of Arroyo Hondo. Episode 2 is in production and will feature a guided tour of San
Marcos Pueblo by Conservancy President Mark Michel. Drones transform these Galisteo
Basin Pueblo Sites from fields of grassy mounds into defined features and site boundaries
that are only visible from the air.
A side from entertainment, drones can also offer valuable details on potential illegal activity and environmental risks to the site; as well as allow for high-resolution photographs that can also be used in GIS spatial analysis tools. This Thursday, I will discuss the Conservancy’s virtual tour project, as well as other uses for drones that are certain to be the wave of the future in archaeology.
April M. Brown recently graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, a concentration in Archaeology, and a minor in Geographic Information Science. Her honors research focused on documenting rock art sites in the Jemez Mountains using drones and spatial analysis tools. She is the Digital Media Coordinator for the Archaeological Conservancy, a national non-profit organization based in Albuquerque that acquires and preserves cultural sites across America. In this position, she produces digital content for social media and the web, hosts and mediates virtual lectures, and is responsible for the virtual tour production, editing, and distribution for the Conservancy.
Open Recorded Program by clicking this link. Drone Archaeology
Arroyo Hondo video:
What Ifs: Santa Fe and Southwestern Archaeology
with Dr. Stephen Lekson
Individuals and institutions of Santa Fe played decisive roles in the development
of Southwestern archaeology. Steve Lekson argues that, for over a century,
southwestern archaeology got the history of ancient Southwest wrong. Instead,
he advocates an entirely new approach—one that separates the archaeological
thought in the Southwest from its anthropological home and moves to more
historical ways of thinking.
The attached lecture traces the remarkable influences of Santa Fe’s archaeologists,
museums, and world-views on the practice of Southwestern archaeology and on
our perceptions of the ancient past. In this entertaining and thought-provoking talk, archaeologist Stephen Lekson asks some “what ifs?” What if: Instead of Santa Fe, Southwestern archaeology centered in Tucson? Or developed out of Ciudad Chihuahua? Or if Southwestern archaeology identified as History, rather than as a laboratory of Anthropology? Or my personal favorite, “What if Hewett had stayed in Greeley, Co?”
Please enjoy this video generously provided by Dr. Lekson and SAR.
Tech Note: In the webinar supplied in this issue, it will likely start around two to three minutes in. Just re-start the timer by moving the timer slide bar at the bottom of the screen all the way to the left. After the time reset, to remove the busyness of additional YouTube videos on the right side of your screen, just press f (just f) to make it full screen. When finished, press f again to minimize the screen.
In his own words, Dr. Lekson describes himself. “I am an archaeologist, working in the U.S. Southwest. Most of my fieldwork has been in the Mogollon and Anasazi (Ancestral Pueblo) regions, but I’ve also dabbled in Hohokam, Casas Grandes, Jornada, and Rio Grande areas. My principal interests are human geography, built environments, and government; but my current research projects have more to do with migrations (Pinnacle Ruin, in southern New Mexico) and household archaeology (Yellow Jacket, in southwestern Colorado). I am also interested in museums (I am Curator of Anthropology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History) and archaeology’s role in American and global intellectual life.”
Stephen Lekson is the curator of archaeology and professor of anthropology at the Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado, Boulder. He has directed more than twenty archaeological projects throughout the Southwest and has published widely. His most recent books include A History of the Ancient Southwest and Chaco Meridian.
"Mud Daubers, Spiders, and Abandonment at LA 112420,
An Early Developmental Pithouse in Sandoval County, NM"
Presented by Dr. Kenneth Brown
Dr. Brown reports his findings from the excavation of a previously identified archaeological site in the highway rite-of-way on the north side of highway 550 west of the Rio Grande. This project was conducted in compliance with the highway 550 Rio Grande bridge widening project in July and August in 2017.
Open Recorded Program by clicking this link. Mud Daubers, Spiders, and Abandonment
Drinking Practice and Politics in Chaco Canyon -
Presented by Dr. Patricia Crown
You may enjoy Dr. Crown's program through a webinar via YouTube. Use the link below to view her webinar, “Drinking Practice and Politics in Chaco Canyon New Mexico” generously provided by the School of Advanced Research (SAR). Dr. Crown was to be our June speaker.
This link starts about 25 minutes into her lecture. Slide the advance bar backward to the start.
Dr. Crown is an archaeologist who works in the American Southwest and has been on faculty at UNM since 1993, where she is the Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. Professional recognition and honors include the A.V. Kidder Award from American Anthropological Association, UNM Presidential Award of Distinction Award and the Society of American Archaeology Award for Excellence in Ceramic Research.
Dr. Crown uncovered the first evidence of chocolate consumption in North America—north of Mexico—in 2009, and her research has received national and international attention. Crown and colleague Jeffery Hurst—at the time a senior chemist for the Hershey Company—have analyzed the identified chemical signature of cacao in three sherds of distinctive cylinder jars from Chaco Canyon, expanding knowledge of trade relationships between Mesoamerica and the US Southwest.