Next Friends Meeting:
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 7 pm
Sandia Ranger Station (N. Conference Room) in Tijeras
Speakers: F. Joan Mathien, PhD
Presentation: TURQUOISE IN PRE-COLUMBIAN NEW MEXICO
Blue-green stones have been found in archaeological sites in the U.S. southwest and Mexico since archaeologists began to excavate in many different areas in these two countries. One of the most spectacular finds occurred during the late 1890s when the Hyde Exploring Expedition uncovered a number of burials at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, NM, that were accompanied by thousands of pieces of turquoise. Because turquoise was also one of the stones decorating a number of shields and other gifts presented to Cortez by the Aztec leaders in 1492 and because the best documented turquoise deposit in the 1890s is located in the Cerrillos Hills near Santa Fe, a number of investigators proposed early long-distance trade networks with Chaco Canyon as the northernmost center to move such goods far to the south. This presentation will review the history of turquoise use by Native Americans in New Mexico and present results of recent analyses of turquoise artifacts from Chacoan sites and their implications for Chacoan social organization during the period from A.D. 850 to 1150 to provide background for evaluation of the proposal of Chaco’s role in long-distance trade.
F. Joan Mathien is a retired National Park Service archaeologist who moved to New Mexico in1974 to attend graduate school at the University of New Mexico. During her student years she worked on several projects in New Mexico before joining the NPS Chaco Project with the responsibility for analyzing ornaments and minerals from excavations. This research led to a continued interest in turquoise use among pre-Columbian Native Americans and inquiries into methods for sourcing this mineral in order to reconstruct early trade networks. Since retirement in 2005 she has continued research on Chaco Canyon and the use of turquoise by its inhabitants. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and a Research Associate with the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and the Office of Archaeological Studies of the Museum of New Mexico.
Note: There is limited seating in the Ranger Station Conference Room. At times we have had to turn people away due to the posted fire regulations. We suggest that you arrive 10-15 minutes early to ensure you will have a seat. Thanks for understanding!