Shelf Life, Part 1

Today is International Museum Day and to celebrate, we’re taking you behind the scenes at the American Museum of Natural History! In this video series, Shelf Life, dive deep inside the Museum’s collection to discover the past, present, and future of its approximately 33 million artifacts and specimens.

In Episode 1 (below), meet the Museum collections, including the 131 frog-eating bats, 12 meteorites from mars, and 1,235 moccasins. In Episode 2, find out how scientists organize this amazing array of items:

This is great, and inspirational for the science/museum professional.  Sharing is so important and most people don’t understand how much there is behind the scenes in repositories, curation facilities, and museums in general.

Posted in Archaeology, museum, museum interpretation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When evolution just gives up – The mighty Sloth

Damn, Megalonyx jeffersonii, you really let yourself go.

via When evolution just gives up — Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Posted in Archaeology, paleontology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

3D Cardboard Puzzle–Clovis Point

This is great! Thanks Zac.


Have you ever wanted to make a 3D cardboard puzzle of a Clovis point? Now you can! Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to scan a selection of Clovis points from the Blackwater Draw NHS, and those will soon be available (open access) for download. In the meantime, you can build your own Clovis point (and/or share the experience with your children, students, colleagues and friends), modeled from LA3324-25313 (above), and made available here as a 3D puzzle.


To build the model, simply download the instructions (here), then print them on an 8.5 x 11″ piece of paper, paste that piece of paper on whatever remnants of a cardboard box is most accessible, cut them out, then assemble (note – glue helps, but s not required)! While it does not give you all of the rich detail that we captured in the 3D scan, it will give you a feel for…

View original post 201 more words

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

Another Mammoth Killer

From the North Bank mammoth kills.

Posted in Archaeology, Clovis, Clovis site | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coronado’s Entrada, a letter from the road, 1541

Here’s a replay of a popular post concerning our region and the greater Southwest United States and Northern Mexico


Coronado’s Report to the King of Spain
Sent from Tiguex on October 20, 1541

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, 1510-1554Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, 1510-1554

Letter from Francisco Vazquez de Coronado to His Majesty, in which he gives an Account of the Discovery of the Province of Tiguex.

NorthernNewSpain“HOLY CATHOLIC CAESARIAN MAJESTY: On April 20 of this year I wrote to Your Majesty from this province of Tiguex, in reply to a letter from Your Majesty dated in Madrid, June 11 a year ago. I gave a detailed account of this expedition, which the viceroy of New Spain ordered me to undertake in Your Majesty’s name to this country which was discovered by Friar Marcos de Niza, the provincial of the order of Holy Saint Francis.

marcosniza“I described it all, and the sort of force I have, as Your Majesty had ordered me to relate in my letters; and stated that while I was engaged…

View original post 2,249 more words

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

The Largest Saber-toothed Cat, Smilodon populator — GeorgiaBeforePeople

Smilodon populator may have been the largest cat ever to have hunted in the wild. Richard Farina, a South American paleontologist, estimated this species reached a weight of over 800 pounds. This is more than twice as big as the more famous Smilodon fatalis, a species that lived all across North America during the late […]

via The Largest Saber-toothed Cat, Smilodon populator — GeorgiaBeforePeople

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

More About the Lower Younger Dryas Boundary


Andronikov et. al. 2016


Printed in the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography

ABSTRACT. Hollow magnetic microspherules from along the lower Younger Dryas boundary (c. 12.9 ka BP) in New Mexico (USA) were studied using scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, X-ray diffraction, and laser-ablation inductively coupled-plasma mass spectrometry methods. The shell of the microspherules (10–15% of the spherule’s diameter) displays dendritic surface textures, which are likely due to quenching during rapid cooling of molten material. Structurally, multiple single-magnetite crystals attached together form the bulk of the microspherules. Iron dominates the microspherules’ composition (90% FeOtot), Mn is the second most abundant element (up to 0.4% MnO), Al is detected in low concentrations (<0.30% of Al2O3). Among the trace elements, the rare earth elements display slightly fractionated patterns with concentrations of 0.1– 1.0× CI chondrite. The microspherules contain elevated concentrations of Ni relative to detrital magnetite (up to 435 ppm) and very low concentrations of Ti (down to 5
ppm). Chemical, structural and mineralogical features of the microspherules do not contradict the existing models of the formation during ablation while a meteoroid goes through the Earth’s atmosphere. Elevated concentrations of the magnetic microspherules in sediments can be a stratigraphic marker for the lower Younger Dryas boundary in North America.

Key words: magnetic microspherules, trace elements, Younger Dryas

Download the article by clicking the link below.


Posted in Archaeology, Clovis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Eurasian Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) may be the same species as the North American Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)

Interesting. A little light mammoth reading from Science 2015 for your Thursday morning.


Eurasian steppe mammoths crossed the Bering Land Bridge early during the Pleistocene (~1.9 million years BP) and colonized North America.  They ecologically replaced stegomastodons over most of the continent but the ranges of both overlapped in Central America until the late Pleistocene.  Mammoths never colonized South America where stegomastodons continued to flourish until human hunters arrived on the scene.  Mammoths were probably better adapted than stegomastodons to the cooler more temperate climates that occurred over most of North America during the Pleistocene. Stegomastodons should not be confused with the American mastodon (Mammut americana) which co-existed with mammoths across most of North America for almost 2 million years.  They were able to co-exist because these 2 species favored different ecological niches.  Mammoths preferred higher drier grasslands, while mastodons were semi-aquatic denizens of wetlands.

Scientists long assumed mammoths that colonized North America evolved into a different species than Eurasian steppe mammoths.  North…

View original post 201 more words

Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

Clovis Unifacial Knife

Another great one that really benefits from scanning.  A Clovis uniface found in the North Bank Mammoth kills in the early 1960s.  Enjoy!

Posted in Archaeology, Blackwater Draw, Clovis | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


Posted in Archaeology | Leave a comment

3D Scanning

Dr. Zac Selden has been doing a lot of 3D scanning with one of our own faculty, Katy Putsavage.  Although initially the focus was on pottery from the Miles Collection, he was kind enough to take on some Paleoindian artifacts from the Clovis type-site as well.  These files not only look pretty but will assist in research and allow data to be efficiently shared.

The files are huge so this only works well with high band-width but are definitely worthwhile.

Let us know what you think.  I’ll be adding more information to the artifacts as time permits.

Posted in Archaeology, Blackwater Draw, Clovis site | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oleta Joanne Dickenson, Obituary


BWD 6570

Joanne Miller Dickenson, 75, of Melrose, NM died January 27, 2016, in her home in Rose Bud, AR, with her family by her side.
She was born to the late John W. and Ina Miller, December 21, 1940, in Clovis, NM. Joanne Graduated from Melrose High School and later earned her Masters of Science degree from ENMU.
She married James “Jim” E. Dickenson in 1958 and they lived and ranched in the Melrose area for 55 years before relocating to Rose Bud, Arkansas in 2014. Joanne was an archaeologist until she retired. She loved her work as Curator of the Blackwater Draw National Landmark near Portales, NM. Her work took her all over the United States and enjoyed sharing information about the site with others. She was featured on NOVA as rediscovering the oldest hand dug well in North America. She contributed to the writing of the book Arch Lake Woman: Physical Anthropology and Geoarchaeology.
In her earlier years raising four children and helping with ranch work, she also was involved in helping with school activities, was a Girl Scout leader, a 4-H leader, a member of a quilting club, and a volunteer sports photographer for the Clovis News Journal. She sewed, baked, and canned with neighbors for family and to share with others. She was a long time member of the Melrose First Baptist Church where she was a prayer warrior and assisted with Walk to Emmaus. After moving to Rose Bud she spent her time caring for her husband, loving on her grandchildren and their friends, learning to paint, and being involved in activities at the First Baptist Church Rose Bud.
Joanne was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Tommy Miller, and one grandson James W. Dickenson.
She is survived by her husband: James “Jim” E. Dickenson, Rose Bud, AR; four children: Ronda Lunsford and husband Russell Lunsford, James E. Dickenson, Jr and wife Christine Dickenson, Veronica Snow and husband Joe Snow III, and Rebecca Norris and husband Daril Norris; She is also survived by several sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the Blackwater Draw NHL, c/o the ENMU Foundation, ENMU, Station 8, 1500 S. Avenue K, Portales, NM 88130. Online donations may be made through and designating “Blackwater Draw Site”.

Published in the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune on Jan. 31, 2016 – See more at:

Posted in Archaeology, Clovis site | Tagged , , | 1 Comment