(June 1, 2022)—Welcome to another exciting season of Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeology Field School. So far, we have been flooded with new information about the area around Tucson and about the archaeological context for the site we are working on, and we were also introduced to experimental archaeology!
On our first day together, we visited the Tohono O’odham Nation, where we met the staff of the Cultural Center and Museum. We learned about the history and culture of the Tohono O’odham people from Museum Specialist Matthew Lewis and toured the museum’s collection. When the building was built, they had the foresight to allow for the storage area to be expanded. I was glad to learn that, because so many museums I know of are running out of space.
Although we had an easy start on the first day, we were up and exploring not long after dawn on the second. We learned about the different types of pottery found in the Tucson area by walking over a site and seeing the different types of pottery right in front of us! This was extremely helpful for me to actually see and touch pottery sherds to begin to differentiate them from compact dirt and flaky rocks. All this was before we even made it to New Mexico!
On the third day, we traveled to the headquarters in New Mexico. After we made camp, our experimental archaeology lessons began. Allen introduced us to flintknapping and using an atlatl. This was my first time doing experimental archaeology, and Allen is a very good teacher. I had a lot of fun using the atlatl to throw a training dart, without a point, so that we wouldn’t hurt one another. Many of us are now practicing in our free time. The target: a deer decoy intended for archery practice.
So far this week has been quite an adventure! I’m looking forward to more long days of excavation, survey, lectures, and field trips in the coming weeks.