Announcement to be made at LL Museum of Heritage and Arts

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The Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts will have a special guest Saturday, Aug. 2, anthropologist David A. Phillips Jr., the curator of archaeology at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and a research associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

At 1 p.m. Phillips will make an announcement about a recent discovery and give a presentation about the prehistoric Pueblo Indian village, known as Pottery Mound.

Submitted photo: A potsherd of pottery Mound polychrome, produced at the site of the same name.

The archaeological site is located on the Rio Puerco, just west of Los Lunas, and was occupied between 1350 A.D. and 1500 A.D.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, archaeologist Frank Hibben found underground ceremonial rooms called kivas with hundreds of murals, Phillips said.

“At most sites, you don’t find any murals, or if you’re lucky, you find one or two,” he said. “Pottery Mound is in a fairly unimpressive location, yet it seems to have been an important ceremonial center for ancient Pueblo people.”

The site is also known for its unusual variety of pottery, and Phillips will bring a few samples and some pictures of the site for the presentation.

“I have a minor announcement about a recent discovery we’ve made by doing research at Pottery Mound, but I won’t say what until the talk,” said Phillips.

“The presentation includes the archaeological studies done there and what archaeologists think they know about the village,” said Rico Gonzales, museum technician.

“I’m really excited to have Dr. Phillips at the museum. He has been involved in Southwest archaeology for 44 years,” Gonzales said. “He’s awesome to talk to — he’s so knowledgeable about different periods in the Americas. His area of interest will help people know what we have here.”

Most of Phillips’ fieldwork has been done in Arizona and New Mexico, but he has also worked elsewhere in the United States and in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Born and raised in Latin America, it was visits to ancient ruins and the national anthropology museum in Mexico City that inspired him to study archeology.

“I was fascinated by the pyramids and the objects ancient people made,” Phillips said. “I thought that only rich people could afford to do archaeology, so I didn’t think of it as a career.

“Then in college, I found out that I could make a living as an archaeologist, and I haven’t looked back since.”

He will also bring copies of the book, “New Perspectives on Pottery Mound Pueblo,” which is edited by Polly Schaafsma, in which he is a contributor.

The Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts is located at 251 Main St. SE in Los Lunas, and the phone number is 352-7714.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.