(October 10, 2016)—We run Hands-On Archaeology programs at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley, Arizona, every second Saturday over the fall and winter months. We have two pithouses we have built in the garden area to teach people about how people lived in this area in the distant past.
At each of these events, I endeavor to have different things for people to try out and learn about. For this past Saturday, Joyce Rychener and I decided to make some pigment paints using mesquite sap as the binder. I had never played with mesquite sap as a binder before.
I brought a bunch of small tabular stones people could paint designs on using five different natural pigments. We mixed the paint in Laevicardium shells and painted on the rocks with yucca brushes. We showed visitors how to make the yucca brushes, and we encouraged them to try painting with things like bone awls. The paint mixed with the mesquite sap dried nicely and could not be easily rubbed off.
We had a steady stream of visitors all day long. It seemed like everybody really enjoyed playing with the paints. I want to thank my helpers—Jaye Smith, Katie Bubnekovich, and Joyce Rychener.