4/1/16

AtoZ Letter A...Ancient Anasazi Artifact Artist

DIG DIARY...June, 1989...New Mexico
Day1...The cool, crisp mountain air encourages quick dressing and deep breathing...still acclimating to the thinner mountain air.  After breakfast of oatmeal and iron skillet toast made over an open campfire, we are off to the 'Dig Site'.

Walking along the ancient trail with eyes on the ground I spot a shard.  My first piece of 1000 year old pottery.  And they said this was going to be hard digging.  And it was after the first five inches of loose dirt in the spot designated to the lowest ranking amateur archeologist.  Troweling and brushing that first five inches of loose dirt revealed the top of a wall.  How exciting and again, so easy!

After several hours of shallow digging, four walls of a 4x4 room can be seen as the high noon sun beats down through the twisted trunk and branches of a tree that was not there when the walls were first built by the Ancients.  The unusually small room is a puzzle to the experienced diggers.  It is customary to josh with the amateur...so the experts calling my room a potty or jail cell fell on deaf ears as I was sure it was the Treasure Room...and so it was.
The Treasure was not an easy find.  Digging through centuries of packed dirt, rocks from pebbles to boulders, and gnarled roots made me glad to have been assigned what was surely thought of as a 'Dud Dugout' by the experts.  However, after the discovery of a rare obsidian arrow head in one corner, and the cache of whole pots in another corner, the experts were astonished.  I was humbled and honored beyond words as I held the perfect tiny black obsidian point in my hand knowing I was the first person in over a thousand years to do so.  
 
In the end, my 'Dud Dugout' turned out to be a storage closet connected to a larger room by a walk way that once served as a door.  The two rooms were fronted by a courtyard with a ceremonial fire pit.  The Anasazi entered their dugout home through an opening in the timber roof.  There are numerous theories of how and why these ancient sites were abandoned and belongings left behind for the blowing sand and eons of winter weather to rot the timbers and fill the dugouts.
 
For this Artifact Artist, every piece of pottery found was a treasure.  Every rock that was used to grind corn was an amazing piece of ancient history.  Every drawing, painting and reproduction piece of pottery made from the Ancient Artifacts continue to be treasured reminders of a once in a lifetime experience.


22 comments:

  1. I've never gone digging for anything other than Petoskey stones. One of theses days I will make it to NM to visit all these wonderful places.

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    1. Wow, Petoskey stones are treasures, too. You will love NM...it truly is the Land of Enchantment.

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  2. The nearest I have got to matching this was unearthing fossils millions of years old on a geology field trip. Fascinating.

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    1. Geology field trips were favorites of mine, too. Especially when finding small fossils without having to dig to China.

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  3. The extent of my digging has been to find Fairy Stones at Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia. It would be fun to be part of the archaeological dig in Jamestown - they're finding all kinds of goodies from the beginning of "the new world."
    Happy A to Z!
    Wendy from
    Jollett Etc.

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    1. I would love to find a Fairy Stone...how neat to have a whole park of Fairy Stones. A Jamestown Dig would be at the top of my Bucket Dig List.

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  4. How interesting! Living in Australia leaves artifact finding completely out of my scope - we're such a young country and have very few ancient sites (and certainly none that they want help digging up!) Looking forward to the rest of your posts :) Leanne from
    cresting the hill

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    1. The Australian Aborigine are certainly an ancient culture that I would imagine have been the subject of many archeological digs. Australia is a continent I would love to visit. I am looking forward to your posts as well.

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  5. Not keen on getting my hands dirty. Very neat post and good writing......this shall be fun A to Z.

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    1. Not to worry, it's a good pair of work gloves kind of work...except for the sifting through the rocks, roots and dirt. Oh Okay...it's a dirty job, but somebody had to do it! Glad I got to be one of those somebody's.

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  6. I agree with Joanne, not fond of getting my hands dirty, with dirt anyway. Not a gardener either. I'd much rather have ink and glue from a scrapbooking project! Glad I can live vicariously through you. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world as well!

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    1. I am an ink and glue gal, too. Scrapbooking works right in with other artistic mediums like paint and graphics. Thanks for stopping by...I enjoyed your music post for Letter A.

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  7. I absolutely love this art style and your presentation of it! Archaeology is a big dream of mine - though I've never managed to do it, this little article reminded me of how I used to dig old sand dumps for vinegar bottles made in the 1800's! They were gorgeous and I never thought to keep the broken ones or to capture their beauty ... I'll definitely look at things differently! THank yoU!

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    1. I think digging in sand dumps for old bottles qualifies as a 'Archaeological Dig'...it sure does for me and my sister who has a wonderful collection of old bottles. They are quite beautiful. I can see how you might work those old bottles into one of your historical romance stories. Thanks for the return visit. I enjoyed your AtoZ post.

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  8. Very interesting post. My hubby is an archaeologist and I met him working on a dig, so I particularly enjoyed your post. Looking forward to the rest of the alphabet :-)

    Cheers - Ellen | http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com

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    1. How cool is that...archaeologist couple...small world here in the AtoZ World. Thanks for the return visit...I really enjoyed your Anchor post.

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  9. Amazing! I was a cultural anthropology major - I loved the concept of archaelogy (and dreamed of doing digs in Egypt as a youngster) but I never would have been built for the hot sun - plus now, my bad back would leave me in perpetual pain if I tried. But what an experience you had. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I too dreamed of Egypt and digging in the sand. Instead I was fortunate to be included as an Archive Artist Archeologist while working on a Masters In Art. What an experience and quite a story to share along with the resulting art forms that are a result of a great experience.

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  10. Very cool and exciting! Great entry Sue!
    Revisit the Tender Years with me during the #AtoZChallenge at Life & Faith in Caneyhead!

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    1. Thanks Barbara. I enjoyed your Tender Years post, too.

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  11. I have never dug and discovered anything relevant. After reading your post, I realized what a phantasmagorical world it would be, Sue.
    Something like a different world within a world. I'm sorry I got extremely surreal here.
    Looking forward to more of your archaeological experiences in this journey.

    www.p-h-a-c.blogspot.com

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    1. Funny thing about your 'surreal different world' thought...the Anasazi had an extraordinary belief and spiritual connection to a different world. As a word-mister myself, I loved your word 'phantasmagorical'. Good one!

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