My daughter proved herself apt at hunting (fake) small mammals with a throwing stick. My neighbor’s son, who attended with his archaeologically famous grandparents, mastered atlatl throwing. My mother and I shaped, drilled, and strung a stone pendant. My husband, Preservation Archaeologist Doug Gann, enthusiastically approached everyone with his new Google Cardboard viewer, which led to dizziness, stumbling, and awe of the 3D model of our surroundings he’d made on the fly as guests were arriving. My father and I toured the historic ranch property with the great-granddaughter of the original owner, George Pusch, who was the subject of a manuscript I’d finished editing the day before. (My impression of him as a thoroughly decent fellow was borne out.)
And that was just my family and friends! Judging by the laughter, the many busy hands, and the fine company, everyone who attended our Annual Members’ Meeting at Steam Pump Ranch had an excellent time. With apologies to our friends in thawing climes, I must say that the exceptionally fair weather that morning was universally appreciated. Shaded picnic tables and soft breezes made for an idyllic breakfast.
Our colleague Allen Denoyer pulled out all the stops with Hands-On Archaeology activity stations. As is typical of his boundless energy, he seemed to be everywhere at once, one minute atop the replica pithouse showing how his team is remudding and floating the roof, the next minute flaking a stone tool, then suddenly across the field with dart shaft in hand. Each of us staff members assisted at the various stations, which in turn helped us meet more of our attending members than ever before.
Our partner Joyce Rychener’s Heritage Garden called to the many green thumbs in attendance. The single gourd seed she’d planted last year accounted for the gentle clacking of dried bottle gourds whose vines wove through the branches of the tallest tree above us all.
Bill Doelle shared highlights of 2014 at Archaeology Southwest, and we’ll be sharing those soon in our annual report. He noted that all the sites we’ve visited for our past few annual gatherings, including Steam Pump Ranch, where we stood that day, had been preserved through Pima County bond funds. Bill encouraged Pima County residents to continue supporting the use of bond funds for archaeological and historical preservation.
This glorious morning was possible because of the gracious assistance of the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Department and the Oro Valley Historical Society. Thanks especially to Lynanne Dellerman, Joel Woppert, and Joyce Rychener of the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Department, and to Barbara Mcintyre, Jo DiGennaro, Lois Nagy, Roxy Johnson, and Warren Lazar of the Oro Valley Historical Society.