Monthly Meeting


Barbara J. Mills

7:30 PM, Tuesday, May 17, 2023

Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
2000 Mountain Road NW

(Also available online)

My presentation will discuss archaeological research conducted in the Mogollon Rim region of east-central Arizona by the Silver Creek Archaeological Research Project (SCARP) at the University of Arizona and the collaborative Southwest Social Networks Project. Physiographically, demographically, and socially transitional, the Mogollon Rim region provides a well-documented case study for looking at “edge region” or frontier dynamics. I describe ways in which the Southwest’s internal frontier was constructed and changed from the eleventh through fourteenth centuries, from its circular-great-kiva-focused communities to the Pueblo IV plaza-oriented villages associated with two different symbolic systems – the Kachina and Salado religions. Distinctive elements of the Rim region’s internal frontier include the importance of recognizing frontier-frontier rather than center-periphery migration; acknowledging frontiers as socially heterogeneous, dynamic zones of innovation; showing how frontier social networks operated differently than those in more demographically dense areas; and the ways in which frontiers can be more susceptible to climatic and social crises because of factionalism and low population densities.

Dr. Barbara J. Mills (PhD, University of New Mexico) is a Regents Professor in the School of Anthropology, University of Arizona. She is an archaeological anthropologist whose research involves using material culture (especially pottery and architecture) to study migration, social change, and interaction at multiple scales, from households to macro-regions. Her work employs a variety of approaches, including pottery technology, social network analysis, and demography. While most of her research has been conducted in the North American Southwest, she also has archaeological experience in Guatemala, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. Following her work as Director of the Silver Creek Archaeological Project in east-central Arizona, which included collaborations with several tribes, she began the Southwest Social Networks Project to synthesize ceramic data from across the region for social network and GIS analyses. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this project has now been incorporated into cyberSW, a cyberinfrastructure that makes the data from her and others’ projects available along with an analytical toolbox. Professor Mills is the recipient of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis – Ceramics (2015), an SAA Presidential Recognition Award (2017), the Patty Jo Watson Distinguished Lecturer for the Archaeology Division (AD) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) (2011), and the Gordon Willey Prize (AD, AAA) for the best archaeology article in American Anthropologist (2006). She is the author or editor of nine books and has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She is the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology (2017) and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Networks Research (2023).

This program will be presented via Zoom at the regular members meeting in the Albuquerque Museum Auditorium as well as available on members’ computers, tablets, or smartphones. A day or so prior to the meeting, an email message will be sent to members with the link for the Zoom meeting, which will open around 7 pm to allow for greetings among friends. Please keep your microphone muted during the presentation until the question-and-answer session.


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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