UTSA Upper Gila River Archaeological Field School- Week One (06/08-12/15)!

The Field School Players

  • Directors/ Co-Directors
    • Robert Hard
    • Art MacWilliams
    • John Roney
    • Lori Barkwill-Love (Assistant Director), Ph.D candidate
    • Kristina Solis (Lab Director) Ph.D candidate
  • Graduate Students
    • Ashley Jones, Ph.D candidate
    • Mary Whisenhunt, Ph.D candidate
    • Andrea Thomas, M.A. student
  • Undergraduate Students and B.A. Volunteers
    • Ian Bates
    • Megan Brown
    • Rosa Compean-Molina
    • Hayley Fishbeck
    • Robert Gardner
    • Overton Lesley
    • Kimberly Martin
    • David Barron, B.A.
    • Stephanie Dooley, B.A.
    • Gabriella Zaragosa, B.A.

The fun has begun just outside the small town of Duncan, Arizona! Our first week at work was filled with amazing visits from the amazing archaeobotanist Dr. Karen Adams, and geomorphologists Dr. Gary Huckleberry, Dr. Fred Nyles, and Dr. John Sandor. Dr. Adams discussed the history of maize cultivation, maize morphology, and maize in archaeological contexts. She also brought a variety of fantastic samples of Native American maize landraces for show and tell. The Dr. Huckleberry joined the project for a few days to dig four backhoe trenches on this region of the Upper Gila floodplain to establish baseline knowledge on the paleoenvironment of this region and speak to the possibilities of farming potential during Early Agricultural Period (~2100 BC- AD 500 ) occupation in this area of the Upper Gila River. And last, but not least, we began work at our site, AZ:CC:4:61 (ASM), or as it is known the Round Mountain Site!!

AZ:CC:4:61 (ASM); Round Mountain is a Cerro de Trincheras site  and according to radiocarbon dates collected from the 2014 field season the site dates to cal.BC 510 to 395 Round Mountain contains culturally constructed terraces and rock rings. The artifact assemblage includes: groundstone (manos and metates), lithic flakes and projectile points (crafted from obsidian, chert, and rhyolite), and ceramic sherds (the ceramics however are not associated with the main period of occupation).

AZ:CC:4:61 (ASM); Round Mountain is a Cerro de Trincheras site and according to radiocarbon dates collected from the 2014 field season the site dates to cal.BC 510 to 395. Round Mountain contains culturally constructed terraces and rock rings. The artifact assemblage includes: groundstone (manos and metates), lithic flakes, and projectile points (crafted from obsidian, chert, and rhyolite), and ceramic sherds (the ceramics however are not associated with the main period of occupation).

A variety of maize landraces brought by Dr. Karen Adams

A variety of maize landraces brought by Dr. Karen Adams

In Dr. Huckleberry's Backhoe Trench: (From front to back: Ian Bates, Kimberly Martin, Rosa Compean-Molina, and Andrea Thomas

In Dr. Huckleberry’s Backhoe Trench: (From front to back: Ian Bates, Kimberly Martin, Rosa Compean-Molina, and Andrea Thomas

During week one, the students began training in archaeological fieldwork including: survey techniques with John Roney and Mary Whisenhunt, plan/profile mapping, filling out field forms (feature forms, unit/level forms, artifact tags), and breaking ground with excavation at Feature E, which is an oval rock ring.

As part of the process of understanding the architecture of the rock ring features, a group of students worked on cleaning up the rock rings by exercising proficient gardening skills. This “Rock Ring Beautification” project provided us with excellent understanding of the scale of construction and the shape of each feature. The feature beautification also provided Lori Barkwill-Love with a cleared feature to photograph from all angles to create a 3D model using photogrammetry Edgesoft Software.

Dr. Hard discussing the site and the floodplain below to the crew (Shown in picture: Gabriella Zaragosa, Rosa Molina, Stephanie Dooley, Robert Gardner, Ian Bates, Kimberly Martin, Haley Fishbeck, Overton Lesley, Megan Brown, Dr. Robert Hard, and David Barron)

Dr. Hard discussing the site and the floodplain below to the crew (Shown in picture: Gabriella Zaragosa, Rosa Molina, Stephanie Dooley, Robert Gardner, Ian Bates, Kimberly Martin, Haley Fishbeck, Overton Lesley, Megan Brown, Dr. Robert Hard, and David Barron)

Gabriella Zaragosa beginning excavation on Feature E

Gabriella Zaragosa beginning excavation on Feature E

Rock Ring Beautification (from left to right: Overton Lesley, Lori Barkwill-Love, Stephanie Dooley, and Rosa Compean-Molina)

Rock Ring Beautification (from left to right: Overton Lesley, Lori Barkwill-Love, Stephanie Dooley, and Rosa Compean-Molina)

Rock Ring A before beautification

Rock Ring A before beautification

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