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Pasatiempo - - MIXED MEDIA -

You can find out about New Mexico’s 12,000-year-old cul­tural her­itage, and do fun things like learn to throw spears with an at­latl, at In­ter­na­tional Ar­chae­ol­ogy Day on Satur­day, Oct. 17. This is an open house for the Cen­ter for New Mexico Ar­chae­ol­ogy, the stor­age fa­cil­ity for the state’s ex­ca­vated col­lec­tions and the home of the Of­fice of Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Stud­ies’ re­search lab­o­ra­to­ries.

One of the labs fea­tures the “low-energy plasma ra­dio­car­bon” sam­pling de­vice, which can be used to an­a­lyze ar­ti­facts with­out de­stroy­ing them; this hap­pens with tra­di­tional car­bon dat­ing. At­ten­dees will also learn about the lab that spe­cial­izes in ar­chaeo mag­netic dat­ing. Soil that is heated in a kiln or fire pit ori­ents it­self to the Earth’s mag­netic field. When the soil cools, the ori­en­ta­tion “freezes,” and it can be dated by com­par­ing it to a chart of mag­netic-field ori­en­ta­tions for the par­tic­u­lar time and place.

The cen­ter re­cently saw its first ex­per­i­men­tal pot­tery fir­ing, pro­duc­ing repli­cas of An­ces­tral Pue­bloan cor­ru­gated jars for Chaco Canyon’s ed­u­ca­tion out­reach pro­gram. “We will fire on Fri­day, Oct. 16, and then open that kiln on Satur­day morn­ing of the open house,” said OAS di­rec­tor Eric Blin­man. “I will con­duct sev­eral smaller ‘flash’ fir­ings dur­ing the open house, ex­plor­ing some of the other fir­ing tra­di­tions.” These in­clude bis­cuit ware, Río Grande glaze ware, and Mo­gol­lon brown ware.

Dur­ing the open house, Chuck Han­naford shows you how to use the at­latl and tra­di­tional bows and ar­rows. Su­san Moga presents ar­ti­facts un­cov­ered at Fort Ba­yard, Fort Stan­ton, and the Rai­l­yard. Lynette Et­sitty makes coiled bas­kets. Nancy Akins ex­hibits bones ex­ca­vated at a rock shel­ter near Mora. You can also meet the ar­chae­ol­o­gists who led ex­ca­va­tions at the Palace of the Gover­nors, the Rai­l­yard, and other sites.

Ar­chae­ol­ogy Day hap­pens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Cen­ter for New Mexico Ar­chae­ol­ogy is lo­cated off Caja Del Rio Road (7 Old Co­chití Road). For in­for­ma­tion, call 505-476-4404 or see “Events” at www.nmar­chae­ol­ogy.org. — Paul Wei­de­man

Isa­iah Coan from the Of­fice of Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Stud­ies demon­strates flintk­nap­ping with ob­sid­ian; be­low, an ar­gon plasma cham­ber sam­ples a piece of su­mac wood for a dat­ing ref­er­ence in the low-energy ra­dio­car­bon tech­nol­ogy

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