Southwest Archaeology Pt.1

Archaeological fieldwork in the Anasazi culture area (Northern AZ & NM and Southern UT & CO). For the sake of privacy and protection, I will leave out the details of the location.

When people think about archaeological fieldwork they think of people digging in pits. Although excavation is a huge part of fieldwork, much of the work in archaeology involves survey. There are various methods of survey but this particular survey involved was is called “field walking” to cover planned out transects. This allows for a more thorough search from sites and artifacts while walking very systematically over the land. Sites and artifacts are recorded but rarely are the artifacts collected. The artifacts collected are usually the rare finds such as projectile points and intact groundstone. Projectile points are collected due to the rarity of the finds and the possibility of finding them again are rare even after taking down their coordinates. Groundstone is extremely important due to the traces of various organic materials and minerals that can be found in it’s pores.

You will see in the photos that I have demonstrated some of these materials that were collected. One of them is a Clovis point. Clovis is perhaps one of the oldest known cultures in the Americas, dating to approx. 13,000 years ago. There is still a lot of debate in the archaeological world about Clovis being the oldest in the Americas.

In another photo you will see an intact metate. This was most likely used for the purposes of grinding down various grains and perhaps dates closer to Late Archaic, 500BC. However, since it was just found this summer, the exact timeframe of this particular metate is unknown.

The photo of the rock art was not found on our survey but was close to where we were working. It is located in a canyon that has thousands of petroglyphs dating from thousands of years ago all the way to just a few hundred years ago.

What is extremely important to realize is that these artifacts, although very interesting, should not be removed from where they are found unless there is a professional archaeologist in the field to ensure properly recorded information. Context is everything in archaeology. Just because you found a cool Clovis point doesn’t mean that picking it up and taking it home is ok. Even if your intentions are good and you take it to a museum, we encourage you not remove it from its place. Without context, very little (if any) information can be gained from that artifact. Let’s learn more about the past and remember that without proper research, we can know very little.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed! I will post more about my archaeological adventures as they come up!

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Author: TravelingCollegeNerd

Anthropologist. Archaeologist. Student. Amateur photographer.

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