Sunday, December 23, 2018

90th Anniversary Blog Series: Artifact 2

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 The project began in 1989 with the goal of creating an archaeological report for the unpublished excavations conducted within the boundaries of Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park.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 second featured blog is by volume 5 researcher Andrea Gregory - Andrea is the senior faunal and shell analyst for Archaeological Consulting Services, Ltd.

Although thousands of pieces of shell jewelry have been recovered from excavations at Pueblo Grande, a pendant crafted from a marine bivalve in the shaped of a horned toad illustrates the skill of Hohokam shell craftspeople in creating items with detail and life, even while working with fragile materials.

1:J1:277, Laevicardium horned toad pendant.

Lizard motifs are thought to represent animals encountered regularly during Hohokam life (Jernigan 1978), and Akimel O’odham ethnographies describe wooden effigies of lizards and horned toads that were used by medicine men to cure diseases (Russell 1908:107, 123). Another lizard reference is found in a preface to the Akimel O’odham myth of Thin Leather, which describes Morning Green Chief, the ruler of Casa Grande, as having a daughter who finds a lizard that falls from the sky. The lizard becomes a large mass of turquoise stones, which are collected as decorations for the great-house settlement (Bahr et al. 1994:138).

References Cited
Bahr, Donald, Juan Smith, William Smith Allison, and Julian Hayden
  1994     The Short Swift Time of Gods on Earth: The Hohokam Chronicles. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Jernigan, E. Wesley
  1978     Jewelry of the Prehistoric Southwest. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Russell, Frank
  1908     The Pima Indians. Twenty-Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1904–1905. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

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