International Archaeology Day
Keeping with annual tradition, the inhabitants of the Center for New Mexico Archaeology – the Office of Archaeological Studies (OAS), the Archaeological Research Collections of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC), and the Friends of Archaeology (FOA) – are celebrating International Archaeology month. Opportunities include online interactive events with staff, premiers of new videos, highlights of favorite featured videos, and debuts of kid-friendly downloadable activities.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CNMA would open its doors to the public on the third Saturday of October to visit with the scientists/analysts/educators of OAS in their labs, throw and shoot spears and arrows at the atlatl field, and tour the archaeological collections of MIAC. We hope to celebrate in-person in future years, but for now...
What is International Archaeology month?
International Archaeology Month is held every October with a world-wide celebration of archaeology, history, and the thrill of discovery. International Archaeology Day, the third Saturday, is celebrated with a series of events to raise awareness of the value of archaeology as history and to provide opportunities for the public to participate in archaeological activities.
All Zoom events will also be broadcast live on Facebook. Recordings will be made and published on the Friends of Archaeology YouTube Channel.
Zoom for all sessions:
Meeting ID: 893 4715 9992
Schedule of events
11 – 11:45 a.m.
Plasma Lab and Radiocarbon Dating at OAS
Marvin Rowe, PhD, OAS Research Associate
Radiocarbon dating is a versatile dating tool developed in the 1950s. It has been refined ever since, both in its techniques and how archeologists interpret results. It uses the decay of a naturally produced radioactive isotope of carbon, radiocarbon or 14C, and all living organisms incorporate 14C into their tissues while they are alive – and almost without exception at almost the same ratio of radioactive to stable isotopes in the atmosphere. As soon as an organism dies, the ratio 14C to non-radioactive 12C changes with a slow decay of the radiocarbon. Half of the 14C atoms decay and disappear from a body in 5,730 years. That's perfect for archeology because that means half is gone in 5,730 years, another half is gone in 11,460 years, etc. This predictable pattern provides a convenient measure of time going back easily to about 15,000 years ago, and further back with larger uncertainty. This is the era of greatest interest to archaeologists, and radiocarbon dating is a commonly used technique.
The plasma laboratory is part of OAS at CNMA in Santa Fe. The aim of the laboratory is to produce carbon dioxide gas (CO2) from archaeological specimens using a specialized plasma oxidation technique. Chemistry Professor Marvin W. Rowe developed the technique while working at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The idea was sparked by a Texas A&M University archaeology professor asking Rowe’s group to help radiocarbon date a rock painting sample. Having recently come across a chemically reducing hydrogen plasma technique for restoring metal artifacts, Dr. Rowe thought an analogous technique could be used to oxidize organic carbon remaining from vehicle/binder materials in the rock art using oxygen plasmas. After several incarnations of plasma machines, the most elaborate system developed so far is located at the CNMA facilities.
12 – 12:45 p.m.
Kiddo Kits – Educational Mapping Activity for Youth
Shelby Jones, OAS Research Associate and Educator
This September, OAS delivered 100 “Kiddo Kits” for distribution through the Vital Spaces monthly Community Art Closet event. These activity kits for youth of all ages, were sponsored by the Santa Fe Community Educators Network (SFCEN), a collaborative working group of Opportunity Santa Fe: Birth to Career Initiative through the Santa Fe Community Foundation. OAS Education Outreach staff, especially ethnobotanist and OAS Educator, Mollie Toll, have been active and engaged partners in SFCEN for several years, working alongside local educators to provide opportunities for children in Northern New Mexico that are both fun and educational.
This Kiddo Kit is a compilation of hands-on, outdoors, and coloring activities encouraging participants to explore the components of a map as well as how to read a map! We explore Geographic North (using shadows outdoors) and Magnetic North (with a mini homemade compass). The content of the kit “Where am I? Where are you?” is designed as a series of connected but stand-alone activities which upper elementary aged students can work on independently, and children of all ages can work on together and with adults.
We look forward to opportunities for future expansion of the lessons, connecting maps to the many facets which contribute to the diversity of the Land of Enchantment.
1 – 1:45 p.m.
Ask An Archaeologist
Eric Blinman, PhD, Director of OAS
In this online zoom event, the Director of the Office of Archaeological Studies will answer any and all of your questions about archaeology. Submit your questions in advance to email@example.com