Long time, no blog. I wanted to give everyone an update on my post-fieldwork research and analysis of material from Woodrow Ruin. First, the sorting and typing of close to 40,000 sherds from Woodrow Ruin has been completed! This seemed like an insurmountable task when analysis began, and it would have been for one person. However, I have had invaluable help from some local archaeology enthusiasts, who have dedicated 2 hours a week to the analysis of artifacts from Woodrow Ruin. Gretchen, Kate, Karen, Debbie, Joanne, Mardi, Karol, and Rosi, I can’t thank you enough for all of your help! Analysis of the sorted ceramics has already started to reveal some interesting data.
One of the things I am most intrigued with was unexpected. By far, the majority of Style III rim sherds from Woodrow Ruin have two thick rim bands. This was not something I was looking for, but became apparent as more and more sherds were examined. I’m not completely sure what the abundance of Style III sherds with two rim bands represents, but my guess is that it could be a Woodrow “calling card.” Perhaps a certain potter or group of potters at Woodrow used two thick rim bands as their signature or maker’s mark.
Data from the neutron activation analysis (NAA) of ceramics from Woodrow may help solve the two-thick rim band mystery. Currently 85 sherds are being bombarded by radiation at the University of Missouri Research Reactor to help determine the source of the clay. Likely, the majority of the sherds were made at from clay sources near Woodrow. However, our understanding of ceramics made in the upper Gila is not nearly as complete as ceramics made in the Mimbres river valley. It will be interesting to see how many sherds with two thick rim bands in the Mimbres river valley have the same compositional components as those from Woodrow Ruin.
Several other interesting trends have emerged from the analysis of ceramics from Woodrow Ruin. It is apparent that Woodrow Ruin has a much higher percentage of San Francisco redware and Mogollon Red-on-brown sherds than most other Late Pithouse sites in the Mimbres region. However, Mimbres Style I ceramics dominate the assemblage. To me, this indicates a very large Late Pithouse population at Woodrow Ruin. Woodrow Ruin may have been one of, if not the largest Late Pithouse sites in the Mimbres region.
Analysis of data from excavations have shown that the apex population at Woodrow Ruin was somewhere between AD 850-1000. This was a period of much change and transformation in the Mimbres region. People switched from living in deep pithouses to above-ground roomblocks. The excavations at Woodrow Ruin have demonstrated that the transition from the Late Pithouse to Classic period was not rapid and insubstantial, but diverse, gradual, and important. This transition is the focus of my dissertation, so I will be writing extensively about it. In the meantime though, I’m providing a link to the NSF report I’ve written that discusses the results of three years of work at the site (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-K_AF2ZH-S7SE5GTXJaZWJhdFU/edit?usp=sharing).
More updates to come as my dissertation nears completion!