Casting Clovis Artifacts

A short while ago Dr. Francis Smiley from Northern Arizona University suggested making some new casts of the collections from the Clovis type-site.  We were able to meet in Albuquerque and borrow some lab space from generous colleagues at the NMMNH.

I chose about 18 artifacts generally representing our materials including points, knives, scrapers, gravers, and a fine-pointed piercer for the initial trial run.  Along with this, I intended to bring the Dickenson Cache but lack of organization (and coffee) caused me to forget the cache when leaving the collections facility.  Anyway, we still had some good stuff to work with and it was a pleasure to sit back and watch someone else labor away.

After photographing each artifact, a temporary number was assigned to each specimen and mold box.  The mold boxes are custom fit to each artifact in order to save on casting materials.

The artifacts are then placed in each box, suspended away from the edges with foam and pins.

Next, the two-part compound is measured out on the balance, mixed, and the timer set.

Round one begins with the mold material poured up to about the halfway point on the artifact.  Then we wait.

Round two removes the stabilizing foam at the top and the boxes are topped off.  Again we wait.

The boxes are removed and molds are labeled.  A razor knife opens the molds to reveal the original artifact.  Each is inspected for imperfections or air bubbles.

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Voila! A mold is created to share these fine artifacts with the world without fear of damaging the originals.  Thanks to Dr. “Kim” Smiley for starting us off on this new endeavor.  We hope to see you again soon for the next round.

Western New Mexico University Museum

Originally posted on New Mexico Small Museum Guide:

Western New Mexico Uuniversity MuseumThe Western New Mexico University Museum has the world’s most comprehensive permanent exhibition of prehistoric Mimbres Mogollon pottery and artifacts. Exhibits include separate displays of basketry, footwear, cordage, stone tools, and stone and shell jewelry.WNMU Museum exhibits

The museum also has exhibits about the history of WNMU and the Silver City area, the Scott Nichols Buggy Collection, American Indian tourist items, and a collection of mining tools.

The museum is located in Fleming Hall on the WNMU campus. The building was built between 1916 and 1917 to house the gymnasium and a science hall for what was then the New Mexico Normal School. Fleming Hall later served as the University library before it became home for the museum in 1974.

Address: Western New Mexico University Museum, Fleming Hall, 1000 W. College Avenue, Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-534-2222
Email: Info@wnmumuseum.org
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m…

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Atlatl Throw at Blackwater Draw

25 October 2014 – Annual Blackwater Draw Atlatl Competition and Throw

Gates open at 9:00 am.  Practice rounds in the morning.  Competition begins around 10:30.  Learn something new.  Prizes given in each class.  All skill levels welcome and encouraged.  Sponsored by Eastern New Mexico University club Mu Alpha Nu.

The event will be followed by a pig roast barbeque at the home of Tommy Heflin.

More information to follow.

The Torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is Missing its Megafaunal Disperser

Originally posted on GeorgiaBeforePeople:

The torreya (Torreya taxifolia), also known as the stinking cedar because its crushed needles give off a strong resin odor, is a relic species thought to have been more widespread during warm climatic phases of the Pleistocene.  It likely diverged from an ancestor that was even more widespread during the Miocene when warm moist forests occurred all across North America and Asia.  T. taxifolia  is an extremely rare species confined to just the east side of the Apalachicola and Flint Rivers, while a closely related sister species (T. californica) is native to California where it is found in several disjunct populations. 

Pleistocene Ice Ages fostered the spread of arid grassland environments that were unsuitable for torreyas.  Under these conditions the torreya retreated to moist refugia on steep ravines of the Apalachicola and Flint Rivers. Connie Barlow, author of the below referenced book, thinks the torreya …

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Sante Fe Archaeological Society

In the great state of New Mexico and looking for something to do this year?  Check out the lecture schedule in Santa Fe!

September 9   Tim Maxwell (Director Emeritus, Museum of New Mexico, Office of Archaeological Studies) Chasing Beauty: The Turquoise of the Casas Grandes Region of Northern Mexico

October 14   Scott Fitzpatrick (University of Oregon/AIA national speaker) How Oceanographic Effects Influenced the Prehistoric Colonization of Islands: a Pacific Caribbean Comparison.

November 11   Richard I. Ford (Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus Anthropology and Botany, University of Michigan) Religion on the Rocks: Petroglyphs In Northern New Mexico

January 13   John Pohl (University of California/AIA national speaker) Bringing the Pre-Columbian World to Life: The Scholar’s Role in Entertainment Media

February 10   Anastasia Steffen (Valles Caldera National Preserve) Fire and the Archaic Landscapes of the Valles Caldera

March 10   John Bailey (Rio Grande del Norte National Monument) What is the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument?

April 14    George Crawford (Blackwater Draw) The Clovis Site, Landscape, Environment, and Preservation on the Southern High Plains

Fall 2014 Brown Bag (September 20) – The Folsom Site, led by David Eck, State Land Office archaeologist.

Spring 2015 Trip (April 24-27) – Fort Stanton; Lincoln; and more to be determined.

Spring Brown Bag (May 9 tentative) – Los Luceros, Alcade, NM

The Santa Fe Archaeological Society (founded 1900) is a chapter of the American Archaeological Institute.

Talks are held at the Pecos Trail Café, 2239 Old Pecos Trail.

Archaeology and the Press: Part 1- Why does the news get it so, so, so, wrong?

Originally posted on Doug's Archaeology:

Press and Archaeology

Bad “news” articles are everywhere, but sometimes it seems like they are especially bad in archaeology. Bad articles can range from something as simple as the misspelling of a name to articles about how archaeologists recently discovered dinosaur bones in which the “archaeologists” interviewed is actually an “expert” on UFO sightings. Even the best news sources can get it wrong, here is a line from the Guardian,

The recent archeological finds of a pliosaur skull in Dorset” (for any non-archaeology readers, archaeologists don’t really deal with dinosaurs)

This post is going to be a part of a series on the Press and Archaeology. I have been writing a BAJR guide on the topic on and off for several years now and with some recent events I thought it would be good to dust it off and blog about it.

Do your job dammit!

Your first reaction to a bad…

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Real-Life Paleo Diet Included Spiral-Tusked Elephant Ancestor

Originally posted on Ancientfoods:

There’s a new mega-mammal on the menu of America’s first hunters.

On a ranch in northwestern Sonora, Mexico, archaeologists have discovered 13,400-year-old weapons mingled with bones from an extinct elephant relative called the gomphothere. The animal was smaller than mastodons and mammoths, but most had four sharp tusks for defense.

The new evidence puts the gomphothere in North America at the same time as a prehistoric group of paleo-Indians known as the Clovis culture, whose beautifully crafted projectile points helped bring down giant Ice Age mammals, including mammoths. This is the first time gomphothere fossils have been discovered with Clovis artifacts.

“The Clovis stereotypically went out and hunted mammoth, and now there’s another elephant on the menu,” said Vance Holliday, a co-author on the new study, published today (July 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The archeological site, named “El Fin del Mundo” (the End of…

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