By Dorothy Kilgore, field school student from the College of Western Idaho
On June 15, 2013, Archaeology Southwest field students and staff performed a community outreach day at the Gila Community Center in New Mexico. Stations included an artifact show-and-tell, a pottery-making station, an artifact-digging station, a stone tool-making station, and a video crew to perform interviews.
Many families showed up and had a real interest in the archaeology of the region. Many of them had exciting stories that they shared with the video crew about all the artifacts and features that they had encountered growing up. The children were very entertained at all the stations and many even stayed at the pottery station the whole time practicing their coiling technique. On top of being able to make pots at the pottery station, the children also enjoyed watching the lithics crew explain and make arrow points. They also fully enjoyed the digging station, with all the hidden pottery and arrow points waiting for them to discover. Once they were done with that many came over to the show and tell station portion of the outreach and enjoyed trying to grind corn with the traditional metate and mano (grinding stones). We also shared illustrated fact sheets with the community, including information on Chaco, rock art in the Southwest, Salado, Mimbres culture, and Mogollon culture. Many of the families thought outreach was really cool, worked really well, and enjoyed watching their children have fun and learn about the archaeology and past cultures within their region.
The event at the community center was followed by a tour of the Dinwiddie site. Several brave families endured the heat and had fun identifying artifacts on the site surface and looking at the adobe walls exposed in the gravel road that bisects the site.