Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Pueblo Grande Museum ~ Ancient Technology Day

This morning I went with my family to the Pueblo Grand Museum in Phoenix to learn about ancient technologies.

First, I have to say that I was more than a little pleased with my kids. When I suggested that we spend the first morning of their Spring Break at a museum studying how people lived over a thousand years ago, I wasn't sure how it would go over. My kids however, didn't flinch. They just kind of said, "O.K." and that was it. I guess I've dragged them to enough museums and festivals that it has become an accepted part of their reality.

This post is actually a prelude to the next several articles I'll be writing this week. I met interesting people and learned fascinating things today and I want to share it all with you! I can't wait to tell you about finger plying Agave fiber with Vincent Pinto or the beautiful shell etchings of Timothy Terry. I also threw my first atlatl and watched the TelaraƱa Weavers and Spinners teach kids how to weave on box looms. Over the next couple days I'll tell you all about these events in more detail.

For today, allow me to briefly acquaint you with the Pueblo Grande Museum. The museum is located on an archeological site and works to "collect, preserve, research, interpret, and exhibit cultural materials from the site of Pueblo Grande and the Greater Southwest." The location includes an outdoor trail where you can visit a platform mound from AD 1450, an adobe compound AD 1300, pithouses AD 950 and a ballcourt from about AD 750 to 1200.

I took a couple pictures to give you a look into the world of the ancient Hohokam. The picture on the left shows a room with high walls. The artifacts found in this location suggest that this space was possibly used for special ceremonies. Notice that the door has been sealed. This could mean a change in use for the adjoining space.

On the right there is a room that actually contained two doorways. It was built with a rare corner door facing the northeast. "At sunrise on the summer solstice, and sunset on winter solstice, a curious alignment occurs. During these two days, a shaft of light stretches from one doorway to the other, signaling the midpoints of the solar annual cycle."

Finally, I want to draw your attention back up to the picture at the top of this post. If you look closely at the rock, you'll see that it contains an ancient petroglyph or rock engraving. This rock was removed from it's original site which is an unfortunate occurrence. This happens sometimes which means that archeologists lose all of the links they would otherwise have to the etching and limits what we can learn. Yet, it's still a piece of art that has been given to us by a people from long ago.

That's all for tonight. I hope I have sparked your interest. I'll be back tomorrow with more of my pictures and experiences from my day at the Pueblo Grande Museum.

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