For several years now, Archaeology Southwest has focused its field efforts on the Mule Creek region of western New Mexico. This area, and the Upper Gila more generally, is serving as a testing ground for our ideas about social changes that happened in the Southwest in the 1200s and 1300s. Fieldwork is only a small part of our research, though; once the artifacts are washed and the units are backfilled, the real work begins.
Rather than leaving the blog in the field, we will continue to tell the story of our research in the Upper Gila as it progresses through analysis and—hopefully—conclusions. Each member of the research team has one piece of the puzzle to fit into place, and each of us will be posting updates about our work. We hope that a cohesive picture of the archaeology and history of the area emerges.
As I write, Katherine Dungan is analyzing sherds from this summer’s excavation. With the help of volunteers, those data will be recorded and integrated into a database that allows us to ask questions such as, “Where does [a specific type of pottery] tend to occur most?” and “Are the north and south room blocks using the same kind of imported vessels?” Deb Huntley and Jeff Clark continue to work on grant proposals and synthetic projects that situate the Upper Gila in the Greater Southwest. And I’ve sent obsidian from sites all over the Upper Gila to the Geoarchaeological X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratory for analysis. Those results will help me determine changing patterns of obsidian distribution.
Trace the human history of the Upper Gila with us as this exciting project unfolds. We look forward to your comments and questions.