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 The project began in 1989 with the goal of creating an archaeological report for the unpublished excavations conducted within the boundaries of Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park.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.

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