I was assigned to look for artifacts in and around Feature A, which is a rock ring that was found on Round Mountain. I started looking for artifacts by scanning over the top layer of grasses, dirt, and even picking up interesting rocks because they might be some sort of flaked stone tool. On the northeastern portion of the wall I found an obsidian projectile point hidden in-between some of the larger rocks that once made up the wall. Since this was a flaked stone tool, Dr. Hard explained how to document the point in the artifact bag log and how to use a GPS to record the exact provenience for the point. Obsidian is an igneous rock and a volcanic glass that can be very sharp and is perfect for the creation of tools. It can also be sourced back to its original region. If this point were to be sourced and the results indicated it is not indicative to this region, then it may be plausible that the inhabitants of Round Mountain traveled long distances for this resource.
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!!
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.