Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sherds! Glorious Sherds!

A larger "life-size" print of this photograph is currently on display in our Changing Gallery exhibit Fragments: Broken Bowls Tell More Tales" It is from Pueblo Grande Museum’s (PGM) photo archives. The southwest corner of the platform mound is visible at the upper left of the photograph. This jumble of sherds is the “sherd discard pile” at Pueblo Grande ca. 1935 – 1940. During that time, workers at PGM saved only “museum quality” specimens and discarded the others (for example - plainware and redware sherds).

Notes from our Curator: 
We have 3 pieces of primary information on this photo - 
1.    A caption with an original prints states "Sherd Count - one season's work - Ca. 1/2 million sherds analyzed."
2.    There a comment in a monthly progress report that references this sherd pile it states “The pottery store room [at Pueblo Grande Museum] was cleaned up and all accumulated sherd bags were disposed of according to proper designation. All type sherd[s] were segregated and prepared for type collections. The discard pile was moved and a number of type sherds, design sherds, and even intrusive sherds were recovered” January, 1940.
3.    The archaeologist, Julian Hayden, believed that these sherds were taken to “the dump” (1990)

What ultimately happened to this sherd pile remains unknown, however, I think this photo is a great example of how the archaeological and museum professions have changed over time. We believe that these sherds were “discarded” because workers thought that no other information could be gained from saving them.
I use illustrations like this photo to advocate for the preservation of archaeological specimens and data. Just think what else we’d know had the sherds in this photo been kept with their provenience information! We never know what advances will come, and saving even the most trivial objects today can have big implications on future research.
For more information, see The Archaeology of the Pueblo Grande Platform Mound and Surrounding Features, Volume 1 (pg. 127-9).

Monday, October 8, 2018

Meet the Artist: Xavier Quijas Yxayotl

Come listen to Xavier Quijas Yxayotl make the earth sing with his hand-made traditional Mayan and Aztec instruments on Sunday, October, 28 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pueblo Grande Museum. Under the night sky on the Museum patio next to the prehistoric ruins of Pueblo Grande, Xavier shares stories of the cultural significance of various instruments and how they were used in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

Recognized as the foremost authority on the reproduction and performance of traditional Mayan and Aztec instruments, Xavier Quijas Yxayotl expertly crafts flutes and ocarinas according to ancient manuscripts. But perhaps what he is most recognized for is his skillful reproductions of the Aztec Death Whistle ancient instrument commonly carved into the shape of a skull. Which produces a terrifying, hair-raising sound that once heard, is never forgotten. 

Xavier will demonstrate a variety of instruments, many hand made by Xavier himself from ceramic, jade, and stone. This special presentation offers a unique view of Mesoamerican indigenous culture through stories, music, art and instruments. After the presentation, guests will have the opportunity to meet Xavier and purchase music, art, and other merchandise created by the artist.

Tickets are $10 in advance online or in the Museum Store with Discounts for Museum Members. Or $12 the day of, in person ONLY at the Pueblo Grande Museum Store during regular store hours of 1 to 4:30 p.m. Online sales end at midnight October 27.

This Meet the Artist Concert is part of a Fall and Spring concert series made possible through the collaborative efforts of local independent recording label Canyon Records, and the Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary. This partnership is a continuation of the programming that accompanied the premiere One World, Many Voices: The Artistry of Canyon Records exhibit to provide a variety of platforms for Native American music and expression currently touring around the state of Arizona.

This intimate performance has limited seating.

This is a fundraising event for the Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary in partnership with Canyon Records. There are NO Refunds for this performance.

Event Details:
Where: Pueblo Grande Museum Back Patio (will be moved inside if weather requires)
When: Sunday, October 28, 2018
Time: Doors Open at 6 p.m.; Performance Begins at 6:30 p.m.; Meet & Greet at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10 advanced online or in Museum Store, Discount for Museum Members; Day of tickets are $12, available in Museum Store ONLY during opening hours of 1 to 4:45 p.m.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

90th Anniversary Blog Series: Artifact 1

In 2019, Pueblo Grande Museum (PGM) will be observing our 90th anniversary as an institution. As part of our celebration, we’re featuring interesting research happening at PGM.

One of our largest research projects is the fifth volume of the Pueblo Grande Archival Project Series (Archival Series). The project began in 1989 with the goal of creating an archaeological report for the unpublished excavations conducted within the boundaries of Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. These excavations began in 1929 and continued into the 1980s. Before the Archival Series, the results of more than 50 years of work had never been published or reported. To date, three volumes have been published.
The fifth volume of the Archival Series will focus on objects excavated from the site, and the documentation is being conducted by professional archaeologists who are volunteering their time. We’ve asked each archaeologist to select the most interesting object they’ve analyzed for a blog series leading into our 90th year as Pueblo Grande Museum!
Our first featured artifact blog is by volume 5 researcher Holly Young, “Retired” Curator of Collections - Holly managed the collections at Pueblo Grande Museum for over 25 years and is a mentor for current staff members.

A long time ago, I started to write a chapter on the wood artifacts discovered at the Pueblo Grande site during the CCC and WPA sponsored archaeological projects. While the Hohokam probably used wood to make many objects, wood does not survive well in open air sites, and there are few surviving examples of any kind from the Hohokam culture area. The temptation is to use historical analogues to describe and imply function for ancient objects. Here is one that has defied all of my poor attempts at description or anything else.

It has a “handle” which is not centered, so it’s probably not a pottery paddle and besides, there is no evidence of pottery making at Pueblo Grande.

It has that large notch in the “blade”, as well as a notch in the end of the “handle.” I can’t tell you how often I have flipped my opinion of these notches, over whether they were created by the maker of this object, or if they are simply an accident of preservation. I think my latest conviction is that they were created by the maker. Although the questions of “why” and “what for” remain to trouble me.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Throw Back Thursday

We have a threefer for this Throw Back Thursday! 

These three photographs are from the Phoenix Chinatown archaeology project ca. 1990. 

The excavations were conducted prior to the construction of America West Arena (now Talking Stick Resort Arena, or in case it changes again, where the Phoenix Suns basketball team plays) in downtown Phoenix. One of the neatest things about this project is that it was partially funded by donations from business and individuals from the Chinese community here in Phoenix. The excavations were conducted prior to the construction of America West Arena (now Talking Stick Resort Arena, or in case it changes again, where the Phoenix Suns basketball team plays) in downtown Phoenix. One of the neatest things about this project is that it was partially funded by donations from business and individuals from the Chinese community here in Phoenix.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Frankly My Dear....

One of the recently received archaeological collections at Pueblo Grande Museum (PGM) is the Community Noise Reduction Program (CNRP).

The CNRP is part of a noise mitigation program for residents of neighborhoods severely impacted by sound from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Archaeological and historical studies were conducted as part of the CNRP and both prehistoric sites and historic neighborhoods were documented.

Staff at PGM have just begun processing the CNRP collection and one of our favorite objects in the collection is a small, glass Babs Yesteryear perfume bottle. The bottle is made in the shape Scarlett O’Hara and was sold as a Gone with the Wind promotional item around 1939/1940.

Say hello to PGM's 2018 September Artifact of the Month

Historic archaeology can reveal information about groups of people who are often excluded from the written record including women, children, and minorities. "Fiddle-dee-dee!" Other objects related to women in the CNRP include other perfume bottles, jewelry, a glass breast pump, and medicines marketed specifically to women. To learn more about the archaeology and neighborhoods studied during the CNRP check out the digital publication Seeds of Growth: Neighborhoods on the Salt River Floodplain.

You never know what cool things PGM collections staff and volunteers will uncover during their processing, we'll just have to wait and see. "After all, tomorrow is, another day!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

PGM Artifact of the Month

Meet Pueblo Grande Museum's Artifact of the Month for August

"What is this?" you ask! Well we aren't completely sure exactly.

 Similar, but larger, objects have been found at sites throughout the region occupied by the Ancient Sonoran Desert People (the Hohokam). Some archaeologists believe that this particular one may have served as a floor riser or a support for a bench. This one was found during excavations in downtown Phoenix.

What do you think? Can you help solve this mystery?

Monday, June 4, 2018

PGM Artifact of the Month

 From the site of Pueblo Grande, this small modeled spindle whorl is decorated with punctations (holes). It is made from clay and measures 2.1 cm in diameter and the center hole is 0.4 cm. Whorls are components of spindles and act as a weight to maintain rotation during the spinning of yarn. 

Three types of whorls have been recovered at Pueblo Grande: worked sherds, modeled bead-like, and stone whorls. Modeled spindle whorls appear in the Hohokam area during the Sedentary period (AD 900-1150); their use increased during the Classic period (AD 1150-1450).