Catching Up on the Blog

Too many projects and too few hands have meant that the Blackwater Draw blog gets neglected more than it should.  Too much time is spent in petty bureaucracy, assisting other researchers with their personal projects, and fixing the many problems associated with a large, under-staffed cultural property and museum.  Hopefully, our new Curator will be posting here soon as she brings new ideas and energy to the position.

However, great things are afoot…

I have been allocated a small but significant amount of money from the University Administration to revamp the Blackwater Draw Museum.  Our new facility will be somewhat smaller but is a much better space in a far better location on the main campus of Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.  For those who have been to the older museum, you may remember that the displays and much of the “look” dated to about 1970 with several displays being updated in the mid-1980s.

April and May are always busy…

Conferences, school field trips, regional talks fill the calendar.  We will be attending the New Mexico Association of Museums meeting later this week, setting up a display and demonstration table at the Archaeology Fair at the Branigan Cultural Center in Las Cruces next weekend, and speaking in Santa Fe next week.  Then there are the SAA confernece in San Francisco and the Southwestern Federation of Archaeological Societies meeting in Hobbs, New Mexico.

And Finally…

We will be hosting the New Mexico Prehistory Day and Open House at the Blackwater Draw National Historic Landmark on May 2nd.  Come celebrate New Mexico Cultural Heritage Month at the Clovis site with demonstrators and archaeologists from around the state from 10:00 – 4:00 p.m.  It’s FREE and open to everyone.

Open House 2015

2 May 2015 – Prehistory Day and Open House at the Blackwater Draw National Historic Landmark

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Join us for our part of New Mexico’s Cultural Heritage Month, May 2nd from 9:00 to 5:00.  This event is free and open to the public.  We are already expecting a large turnout and several exciting demonstrators are committed to this year’s event.  We plan to have displays of Ice-Age animal bones, artifacts of New Mexico, atlatl throwing, primitive fiber arts, flint knapping demonstrations, tours of the bone bed excavations, and more.  Look for more information on the blog in the months to come.

An Alibates Knife

AlibatesKnifeHere’s an interesting Paleoindian biface made from banded Alibates chert.  It was apparently discovered by a local resident in the early 1970s.  The tool (knife) measures about 12 cm (4 3/4″) and is remarkably thin, with flaking consistent with other Clovis bifaces from the site.  I have used this, as well as other unusual specimens to demonstrate the wide variety of lithic tools that are part of the tool kit that are often overlooked in the popular media.  Although we cannot be certain as to it’s exact temporal placement, based on morphology, the area where it was recovered and information from the finder, I think it is most likely Clovis in age, but we will never be certain.

I decided to post this today as one of our graduate researchers, Stacey Bennett just came across the original field note from when it was returned to the Landmark in 1984.

AlibatesKnifeNotes

Blackwater Draw Atlatl 2013

A few photos from the Blackwater Draw Atlatl 2013.

Prehistory Day at the Blackwater Draw NHL

Prehistory Day was successful, due to an excellent turnout, helpful volunteers, and great weather.  A special thanks goes out to the members of Mu Alpha Nu and their friends for helping out again this year.  Nearly 300 people turned out for the event which lasted all day with people trickling in until we closed at 5:00.

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Chuck Hannaford discusses prehistoric tools and lifeways with interested visitors.

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Mary Weahkee demonstrates traditional yucca fiber working.

Demonstrations included fiber working, sandal making, flintknapping, and hunting techniques used by ancestral New Mexicans.  Discussions ranged from general archaeology to gourd canteens, stone tools, and prehistoric containers.

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Tommy Heflin teaches flintknapping to people of all ages and abilities.

The Portales flintknapping group, headed by Tommy Heflin, were a popular station at the event, helping create a new generation of flintknappers.

Every is attracted to the spear throwing range.

Everyone is attracted to the spear throwing range.  Isaiah Coan from the Office of Archaeological Studies was a great help with the kids.

The "touch-and-feel" tables create many opportunities for learning about the past and what it means to be human.

The “touch-and-feel” tables create many opportunities for learning about the past and what it means to be human.

From the abstract concept of "containers" as an artifact, a local boy learns about prehistoric life.

From the abstract concept of “containers” as an artifact, a local boy learns about prehistoric life.

Stacey Bennett shows her poster display created for the event.

Stacey Bennett shows her poster display created for the event.

We hope to keep the public outreach events a regular occurrence at Blackwater Draw.  Keep your eyes on the blog for future activities.

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Kids of all ages can get in touch with the past at these events.  Hope to see you here next year.