Monthly Meeting

ETHNOARCHAEOLOGY: THERE IS MUCH MORE TO LEARN THAN JUST HOW TOOLS ARE MADE

Russell Greaves

7:30 PM, Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
2000 Mountain Road NW

Ethnoarchaeology combines ethnographic observations of living people with aspects of their technology, subsistence, and land use to develop new opportunities to interpret the archaeological record. Most ethnoarchaeological research has focused on how tools similar to those found archaeologically are made. Less commonly, such opportunities provide significant perspectives linking material cultural with a broad range of activities that are important for better understanding of past human lifeways. This talk presents information from long-term ethnoarchaeological work with a group of hunters and gatherers in the savannas of Venezuela and with Maya agriculturalists in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The research opportunities in Venezuela shed light on understanding of hunter/gatherer tool use during men and women’s subsistence activities, the use of hearths and the visibility of women’s activities, and profound environmental knowledge. Work with the Maya has addressed their use of water sources in a landscape without rivers or flowing surface water; their profound knowledge of soil, climate, and rainfall in agriculture; and how they are adapting to changing opportunities as the modern world. These examples demonstrate the interpretive potential of behaviorally-focused ethnoarchaeological work addressing more than just the logistics of technological production and tool use.

Russell Greaves (Ph.D. University of New Mexico), the new Director of University of New Mexico’s Office of Contract Archeology, has over 39 years of archaeological research and cultural resource management experience. He has worked primarily in the American Southwest, Great Plains, Texas, and Great Basin regions and in other areas and has performed cultural resource management and research archaeology of an array of Paleoindian, Archaic, and Late Prehistoric archaeological records and many historic-period Native American, Spanish, Hispanic, European, and African-American sites. He maintains active ethnoarchaeological research interests, especially in relation to ongoing investigations among Yucatec subsistence Maya agriculturalists and extensive research with mobile Savanna Pumé hunter-gatherers of the Orinoco Plains. Dr. Greaves is a Research Associate of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University and a Consulting Scholar in the American Section of the Penn Museum in Philadelphia.

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The Albuquerque Archaeological Society is an avocational group that advocates preserving archaeological and other cultural resources by informing members and the public about archaeological and ethnological subjects through our meetings, presentations, newsletter, other electronic media, field trips, volunteer efforts, field surveys, and studies. Membership is only $25 for an individual or family, and it’s free to students with a Student ID or current class schedule. Membership puts you on our mailing list for our monthly newsletter, and gives you access to our field trips, volunteering endeavors, and our seminars. However, our meetings are always free and open to the public, with a guest lecturer and refreshments, great conversation, and the chance to socialize with those who share an interest in archaeology, both professionals and avocational members. Come see what we’re all about! We’d love your company!

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