Officials with the El Paso Museum of Archaeology invite the public to view the new exhibit, From the Edge of Center: The Chacoan Outliers that opens on Saturday, January 25 at the museum.
“We are pleased to present this exhibit on the Chacoan outliers to the El Paso community,” said El Paso Museum of Archaeology Director, Jeff Romney. “It is not often that we get to see archaeological materials from the Four Corners region at the Museum. Many of the Ancestral Puebloan (formerly referred to as the Anasazi) cultures developed out of the Chacoan system. Many historic Puebloan peoples still see Chaco and its outliers as sacred ancestral sites.”
The exhibit features items from the museum’s permanent collection as well as items on loan from Salmon Ruins including ceramic vessels, beads, pendants, perishable materials such as sandals, and other items.
The Chacoan Culture flourished between AD 860-1150 and was originally centered at Chaco Canyon in Northwestern New Mexico. The Chacoans built immense great houses and great kivas capable of hosting large groups of peoples for ceremonies and other public activities.
While Chacoan Culture was centered within the canyon, its influence extended much further out. Throughout the San Juan Basin to the north to the Zuni Mountains in the south, there can be found outlying great houses that share many of the same features as those in Chaco Canyon, although generally on a smaller scale.
Outlying great houses and great kivas have been found at Aztec Ruin and Salmon Ruin, both dating to the mid-12th and early 13th centuries, which show clear evidence of not only the spread of the Chacoan system, but also the continuation of Chacoan traditions beyond the decline of the Chacoan Heartland after AD 1150.
El Paso Museum of Archaeology officials add that they are proud to present this exhibition in cooperation with Salmon Ruins the San Juan County Museum Association.
The exhibit is free to the public and will run through June. For more information on the exhibit or to learn more about the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, call (915) 212-0421, or visit the muesum’s website or Facebook page.
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology invites the public to learn more about Native American culture by attending two special events on Saturday, November 30, that celebrate Native American Heritage Month.
“This year the museum of archaeology is excited to share two different Native American art forms with our community,” said Museum of Archaeology Director Jeff Romney.
“Through pottery and storytelling, our guests can see how these traditions are passed down through generations to preserve this part of Native American culture and heritage.”
Traditional vs Non-Traditional Hopi Pottery, 2 p.m.
Master Potter Gwen Setalla (Hopi) will present as part of the Museum’s 2019 Lecture Series. Setalla is a third generation of the Frog Woman/Feather Women potters (Hopi/Tewa). She has attended many prestigious Native American art shows and has won numerous awards for her pottery.
She will discuss the traditional process from beginning steps to the firing process and will also illustrate how commercially available materials are sometimes used. Visitors can meet the artist from 12:30 to 1:30 pm and 3:30 to 5:00 pm. Ms. Setalla will have pottery and jewelry available for purchase.
Native American Storytelling, 5 p.m.
Alex Mares (Diné) will share Coyote Stories, which are traditionally told in winter by Navajo, Pueblo and Apache Tribes. Mares is a formally trained Native American storyteller and interpreter whose cultural background includes Diné, Pueblo, Jicotec and Spanish.
The family-oriented event will be outdoors around a campfire so please dress warmly. Hot chocolate will be served. Please bring a folding chair or campstool.
Native American Heritage has been recognized by the United States in various ways since 1976 when President Gerald Ford proclaimed a week in October as Native American Awareness Week. November was proclaimed Native American Heritage Month in 1990 and has been recognized as such since then.
The City of El Paso officials announced that the El Paso Museum of Archaeology will host the 21st Biennial Jornada Mogollon Archaeology Conference on October 11 and 12 at the museum.
“These types of conferences highlight the fact that archaeological research is alive and well in the Southwest.” said El Paso Museum of Archaeology Director Jeff Romney. “They provide an opportunity for members of the public as well as other professionals in the field to meet and discuss ongoing discoveries and research in our region.”
Held every two years, the conference is one of the museum’s signature events which draws archaeology professionals, students, and enthusiasts together to discuss the latest research and excavations in the El Paso region (Jornada Mogollon area).
The conference consists of 30 minute presentations by various presenters who will discuss their latest research and findings in the Jornada Mogollon, Mimbres, or Casas Grandes regions. Discussions are followed by a question and answer session. The Museum of Archaeology will publish a journal of each conference proceedings.
A $35 pre-registration for all groups except for students is available through October 8. Students with a valid ID can register for $28. Scholarships are also available for members of Native American Communities and those traveling from deeper inside Mexico.
The first Biennial Jornada Mogollon Archaeology Conference was held in 1977. It has been held every two years thereafter. The Museum of Archaeology has hosted the conference since 2003 and will once again host it in 2021.
For more information about the conference, including registration and scholarship information, call the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at (915) 212-0421 or visit museum’s website or Facebook page.
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is opening two new exhibitions starting Saturday, April 27 that focus on the Jornada Mogollon Culture.
“Both exhibits feature the Jornada Mogollon culture which lived in the El Paso and surrounding regions from about AD 01 – 1450. Our area has been a cultural crossroads for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, much like it is today,” said El Paso Museum of Archaeology Director Jeff Romney.
“We offer a glimpse of our prehistoric past through photographs and objects from the Museum’s and El Paso Archaeological Society’s permanent collections.”
In the Language of Stone: Rock Art of the Jornada Mogollon
The Southern part of New Mexico, West Texas and North-Central Mexico is known by archaeologists as the Jornada Mogollon. This area is rich in prehistoric rock art left behind by the ancient inhabitants of the region.
This exhibition will showcase petroglyphs and pictographs from iconic sites such as Hueco Tanks, Three Rivers and Otero Mesa, as well as lesser known treasure troves from both sides of the international border through the camera lenses of rock art experts, students and amateur enthusiasts alike.
Ancient Borderland: The Jornada Mogollon
The people known by archaeologists as the Jornada Mogollon inhabited the Borderlands since Archaic times. Although there are few remains of this culture that are generally accessible to the general public, these people lived in several pueblos throughout the Hueco Basin, the area where the City of El Paso and Fort Bliss currently stand.
This mini exhibition will complement the In the Language of Stone: Rock Art of the Jornada Mogollon exhibit by presenting general information about these enigmatic people as well as showcasing a number of artifacts attributed to them.
The exhibitions are on display through September 14 and are free and open to the public. For more information, call the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at (915) 212-0421, or visit the museum’s website or Facebook page
Officials with the Museum of Archaeology are inviting the public to enjoy spring in the Franklin Mountains by attending the annual Poppies Fest at the museum grounds in Northeast El Paso.
“Poppies Fest provides the community with opportunities to learn about conservation and our environment while taking advantage of the natural beauty of El Paso’s Franklin Mountains,” said El Paso Museum of Archaeology Director Jeff Romney.
The 13th annual Poppy-centric celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 23
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities including live music, art vendors, educational exhibits and food vendors. The museum will host live archery demonstrations and inside, visitors can see 14,000 years of prehistory in El Paso, the greater Southwest, and northern Mexico. In addition, the National Border Patrol Museum will be open for visitors to learn about the history of the United States Border Patrol.
The Downtown Art and Farmers Market will move to the museum grounds for the festival; the Anthony Street location will be closed so market vendors can participate in Poppies Fest. Visitors will be able to see local artists and craftsmen.
Food trucks will be on hand to provide a variety of beverages and food.
Free Parking for Poppies Fest will be at El Paso Community College Transmountain Campus Lot B, and shuttle buses will be running from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Parking will not be allowed at the Museum of Archaeology or the Border Patrol Museum.
The annual Poppies Fest is presented as a partnership between the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, the Downtown Art and Farmers Market, and the National Border Patrol Museum.
For more information on the Poppy Fest, call the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at (915) 212-0421 or visit the museum’s website.
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology invites the public to view two new exhibitions that focus on the cosmos, constellations and mythology and the enigma of the Salado people.
Astronomy and the Mesoamerican Cosmos is a look at the cosmos, constellations and mythology from a Mesoamerican perspective. Like the ancient peoples of the Old World, the inhabitants of the New World placed a high importance on the movement of the heavens throughout the year.
In time, these groups developed astronomical systems that are distinct from those that modern Western Society find familiar.
The multi-media exhibit features the work and research of Fernando Arturo Rodriguez, artist and student of Mesoamerican Cosmology. Rodriguez is a Limited-Residency Undergraduate student of interdisciplinary studies at Prescott College in Arizona.
His work on Mesoamerican astronomy has been presented at universities and institutions across the U.S. and Mexico. He lives with his wife and son in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The exhibit will remain on display through April 20.
With the Salado Enigma: The Melding of Southwest Cultures, visitors will explore the appearance of the Salado and their beautiful Redware Polychromes in the Southwest. This has been the subject of much research and debate since the earliest days of archaeological investigation in the region.
The multi-media exhibit explores the Salado people, their possible origins, lifeways, and disappearance from the Salt and Gila River Basins in the Western New Mexico and Eastern Arizona Highlands. In addition, the exhibit features beautiful examples of Salado Polychromes and other artifacts from the museum’s own collection as well as objects on loan from Cochise College in Arizona.
The exhibit will remain on display through June 1.
Both exhibitions are free and open to the public. For more information, call the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at (915) 755-4332, or visit their website or Facebook page.
For the Holiday Season, the City of El Paso is inviting everyone to spend part of the winter break visiting the Downtown Art and Farmers Market or one of the City’s three museums; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of History or the El Paso Museum of Archaeology.
Visitors to the El Paso Museum of Archaeology can try their hands at archery or atl-atl during Saturday morning demonstrations. Please contact the Museum for a complete schedule of archery activities. The trails around the museum are also open for family friendly hikes.
Explore the El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) at your own pace with family-friendly guides. Try a new hands-on art activity each day. Learn about painting, printmaking, and collage inspired by art on view. Enjoy working together and make art to share with family and friends.
Each of the workshops are designed for visitors 4 years and older and features an art making activity tied to the Museum’s current exhibitions. Museum admission and workshops are free to the public.
Discover the collection and experience an augmented reality experience with the new family guide.
Paint and Collage: December 26 – 28, 12-3 pm. Learn about painting and collage inspired by art on view. Enjoy working as a family and make art that you can take home. 12-1 pm exclusive time for EPMA Members and their families.
Printmaking: January 2 – 4, 12-3 pm. Explore printmaking! Stop by each day and discover simple and fun printmaking techniques inspired by art on view. Enjoy working as a family and make art you can take home. 12-1 pm exclusive time for EPMA Members and their families.
Snap a photo in Santa’s sleigh and drop off last minute letters to the North Pole at the El Paso Museum of History. Visitors can learn about the history of the Pass of the North or discover how the banking system in the United States works in the Museum galleries
The museums will be open regular hours through the winter holidays. In observance of the City’s Christmas and New Year’s holidays, all three museums will be closed on Tuesday, December 25, and Tuesday, January 1.
The Downtown Art and Farmers Market will be open one last weekend this year. Stop by the market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. December 22 to pick up those last minute gifts. There will also be free crafts and live entertainment.
The market will be closed December 29 and January 5. It will reopen for the New Year on Saturday January 12.
The Museum of Archaeology invites the public to a Native American Story telling event from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 24.
“We are always excited to welcome Alex for our Native American Storytelling event,” said Museum of Archaeology Director Jeff Romney.
“These stories teach our visitors about some of the cultural history of the Native Americans who once lived in the southwest.”
The family-oriented event will be outdoors around a campfire, so please dress warmly and bring a folding chair or camp stool. Hot chocolate will be served.
Alex Mares will share Coyote Stories, which are traditionally told in winter by Navajo (Diné), Pueblo and Apache tribes. He is a trained Native American storyteller and interpreter whose cultural background includes Diné, Pueblo, Jictoec and Spanish.
Starting September 9, the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department will close the El Paso Museum of Archaeology for renovations.
“This project will improve our restrooms and parking lot to ensure ADA compliance,” said Museums and Cultural Affairs Department Director Tracey Jerome. “We will also install additional emergency exits in the galleries and the collection storage space will be expanded. These upgrades to the facility will support our mission of serving all sectors of the public with enhanced visitor amenities.”
The museum will undergo capital improvements that include expanding the hallway, remodeling of staff breakroom, parking lot improvements and other enhancements.
While renovations are underway, visitors may still park in front of the museum to use the walking and hiking trails.
Improvements are being funded with Quality of Life bonds approved by voters in 2012. The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is expected to re-open in mid-November.
For more information, visit call the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department at (915) 212-0110 or visit the archaeology museum website or Facebook page
About two years ago, Belinda Mollard, a senior archaeologist at Fort Bliss, was escorting officials from the Army’s Installation Management Command to an archaeological site on post when two Soldiers approached and demanded to know what they were doing.
Their actions delighted her.
“It showed that all our education efforts were paying off,” Mollard said.
Mollard, whose official title is Cultural Resources Manager, Senior Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison for the Fort Bliss Garrison Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division, is one of a team of five archaeologists who manage the roughly 20,600 archaeological sites on the 1.12 million acres of Fort Bliss.
The sites span from the Paleoindian period, or about 10,000 BC, through the Cold War years of 1947 through 1991, but most of them concern the Jornada Mogollon, who were in the area from about 200-1450 AD.
Members of the archaeology team try to visit the sites as much as possible to monitor them, but Soldiers can also help in a variety of ways – including by politely approaching people they see in areas around the sites.
Another way is to leave sites undisturbed, Mollard said.
“Rock art is very fragile, so the oils from our hands, and especially lotions, sunscreens, perfumes, things like that, that will actually destroy the rock art faster than natural processes,” Mollard said. “So we ask people not to touch rock art for sure, but even at the sites, we ask you not to touch anything or pick anything up.”
If Soldiers think they might have found a new site or human remains, they should leave everything undisturbed and contact installation officials, Mollard said.
“As a people, we’ve been here a long time,” Mollard said. “We do have human remains that pop up every now and then, so we just ask, ‘Please just let us know.’”
The installation has two environmental liaisons for the training ranges: Shane Offutt and David Black, Mollard said. Offutt is a trained archaeologist with a military background, and Black is a biologist, but both are knowledgeable about potential issues.
“Chances are we know there’s a site there and we just ask them to just shift half a click to the east or a click to the west if there’s a big concentration,” Mollard said.
It’s important to let officials know if someone has found remains, Mollard said.
“If you see something you think is bone, you need to tell us,” Mollard said. “You need to let us know right away. I always tell them it’s not their job to investigate, it’s mine.”
It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night it is, Mollard said.
“A lot of times we’ll get a call, and I don’t mind, I’ll come out at midnight on a Friday or three o’clock in the morning on a Saturday, to make sure it’s coyote,” Mollard said. “That’s fine with me. I’d rather do that than have somebody decide to go and investigate and find out it is human.”
Two caves on Fort Bliss illustrate the importance of properly preserving archaeological resources, Mollard said. They are in close proximity, and one features well preserved, iconic rock art from the Jornada Mogollon period, and the other features mostly obscene graffiti from the 1970s.
“When you look at the archaeological history of this site and look at all the stuff that went on here, and then this is what happened because it wasn’t protected, it’s kind of a shame,” Mollard said of the site with the graffiti during a monitoring visit July 19. “We do the best we can now, but there’s nothing we can really do to reverse this.”
Mollard said the archaeology office works with seven federally recognized tribes – the Mescalero Apache, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, the Pueblo of Isleta, the Fort Sill Apache, the Kiowa, the Comanche Nation and the White Mountain Apache – to preserve sites and allow tribal members access when possible.
Tribal members realize that eventually the rock art, for example, will be gone due to natural erosion, but it is still important to protect the sites, Mollard said.
“It’s a delicate balance of how we protect the site,” Mollard said. “We don’t want to stop the natural course of the site, but we do want to stop people from coming up and spray painting.”
Although Fort Bliss archaeological sites are off limits to the public, people can learn more about archaeology in the Fort Bliss area at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at 4301 Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive.
Also, at the Hueco Tanks State Historic Site (6900 Hueco Tanks Road) people can take self-guided or staff-guided tours of pictographs and petroglyphs, and at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in Silver City, New Mexico, people can visit preserved cliff dwellings of the Mogollon people, cousins of the Jornada Mogollon.
Author: Wendy Brown – Fort Bliss Garrison Public Affairs
The Museums and Cultural Affairs Department is hosting summer camps at three of its museums; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of History and El Paso Museum of Archaeology.
“We want to encourage our young people to access and use our museums, and our summer camps are fun ways they can explore archaeology, history or art,” said Director of the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department Tracey Jerome. “By providing opportunities like this, we can create a life-long love of our museums and help the youth in our community develop and explore their interests.”
Officials added, “each camp offers age appropriate curriculum that is both fun and educational. The camps are a great opportunity to let young El Pasoans discover what the museums have to offer.”
Activities include learning about the tools and science used by archaeologists, exploring El Paso’s history, and creating masterpieces using different artistic mediums.
The El Paso Museum of Art summer classes start June 26. The El Paso Museum of Archaeology will host two sessions the week of June 19 and July 24. The El Paso Museum of History will host camps starting the week of July 10 through the week of August 7.
Summer camp prices vary by location and activity, and members at the respective museums will receive discounted tuition.
Participants in camps and classes at the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art are also eligible to sign up for Sun Metro’s Kids on the Go program that provides free bus rides to area youth participating in cultural, educational or recreational activities during the summer.
More information on the Summer Camps is available on the events page of the El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department website.
With three new exhibits spanning the entire Southwest, from Hopi lands to the Mission Valley, the El Paso Museum of Archaeology invites the public to to view the new artifacts.
Artifacts from Local Excavation
The mini exhibition explains the history of El Paso’s missions. It includes artifacts that were recovered from local archaeological explorations from the mid-1980s when UTEP excavated at the old Socorro Mission site.
The artifacts have been loaned to the museum from the personal collection of Joe Ledesma, who owns the land where the original Socorro Mission was located. The museum is hosting an open house for the exhibition at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 14.
The artifacts will be on display for the next two years.
Casas Grandes Resurgence: The Early Potters of Mata Ortiz
The exhibition is comprised of portraits of many of the early potters and participants of trade in the antiquities market and is taken from the work of Fabiola Silva, archaeologist, and Sterling Trantham, documentary photographer. The exhibit features pieces from the museum’s own collection of early Mata Ortiz pottery and groundbreaking work of Diego Valles, a member of the next generation of Mata Ortiz potters.
The exhibit is on display through June 23.
Children of the Hisatsinom: The Artistic Tradition of the Hopi
The exhibition takes a look at the ancient times of the Hopi people, or Hopituh Shi-nu-mu (the peaceful people) who lived in the Southwest maintaining their sacred covenant with Maasaw, the keeper of the earth. The Hopi lived as peaceful farmers who were respectful of the land and its resources.
The Hopi communicated elements of their culture and traditions through many of the art forms showcased in this exhibition. Objects on view are from the museum’s permanent collection and on loan from private collections.
The City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department invites everyone to spend the holiday season visiting one of the City’s three museums; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum Archaeology.
All three museums will be open regular hours through the winter holidays with free family-friendly exhibitions. In observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, all three museums will be closed on Monday, December 25, and Monday, January 1.
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology offers archery or atl-atl demonstrations on Saturday mornings. The trails around the museum are open for family-friendly hikes.
The El Paso Museum of History is hosting two free preservation workshops as part of the new exhibition, What We Brought. This exhibition explores what people brought with them when they relocated to El Paso. Visitors can learn how to preserve their family heirlooms during the special workshops. Visitors are encouraged to bring an item to preserve. The workshops are at 2 p.m. December 27 and at 5 p.m. December 28.
The El Paso Museum of Art has several free, ongoing exhibitions as well as drop-in activities during open studio hours from noon to 2 p.m. December 26 through 29. Each of the workshops are designed for visitors 4 years and older and features an art making activity tied to the museum’s current exhibitions.
Build It Family Workshop, Tuesday, December 26, build homes and buildings with LEGO bricks inspired by the exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior.
Print It Family Workshop, Wednesday, December 27, discover the exhibition Gardens of Earthly and Unearthly Delights and create a watercolor monoprint using leaves and flower petals.
Make It Family Workshop, Thursday, December 28, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work was inspired by nature. See the exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior and create your own stained glass window cling.
Paint It Family Workshop, Friday, December 20, make a watercolor masterpiece inspired by works from the exhibition, Tom Lea Watercolors and Washes
“We are excited to host members of the Tigua community from Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo as part of our Native American Heritage month celebrations. This is a great opportunity for our visitors to learn about the different cultures that make up El Paso,” said El Paso Museum of Archaeology Director Jeff Romney.
The Tigua of Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo are descendants of refugees from the Río Abajo or lower Rio Grande pueblos who were forced to march south to El Paso with the Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
The settlement established for them was named Ysleta Del Sur, or Ysleta of the South, to distinguish it from their former home in Isleta, New Mexico, near what is now Albuquerque.
Native American Heritage has been recognized by the United States in various ways since 1976 when President Gerald Ford proclaimed a week in October as Native American Awareness Week.
The event is free and open to the public. Event activities include archery, atl-atl demonstrations, Tigua dances, Tigua bread sampling, films, craft demonstrations and vendor booths.
November was proclaimed Native American Heritage Month in 1990.
For more information on this event, contact the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at (915) 755-4332.
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology invites the public to celebrate International Archaeology Day at the museum from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 21.
“Texas Archaeology Month and International Archaeology Day provide us with a great opportunity to introduce people to this science with activities that will let them get their hands dirty,” said Director of the El Paso Museum of Archaeology Jeff Romney.
Visitors can enjoy archery, mock excavations and other hands-on activities.
There will also be a live pottery firing demonstration and films in the museum auditorium. International Archaeology Day also falls within Texas Archaeology Awareness Month.