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Pre-Hispanic Copper Artifacts Recovered from the Gila National Forest-Mimbres Area of Southwestern New Mexico presentation by archaeologist Christopher D. Adams
Twelve years of on-going research by Gila National Forest archaeologist Christopher D. Adams has resulted in identification of 97 pre-Hispanic, Mimbres culture copper artifacts: 73 native copper nuggets, 3 fetishes, 3 clapper bells, 15 other copper bells, 2 pendants, and 1 hammered/worked copper artifact. Adams has surveyed approximately 30 Mimbres sites on the Gila National Forest and, in addition, 6 native copper nuggets have been re-identified in Mimbres collections of New Mexico museums. Of unique importance is a Mimbres Classic Black-on-white Style III bowl excavated from the Bradsby Site (LA78337) on the Gila National Forest that exhibits what appear to be stylized images of copper bells. Dr. Steven Shackley’s x-ray fluorescence analyses on 70 of the Mimbres copper artifacts initially suggest the copper came from the same production event and/or same smelter for the copper bells. The closest source for the Mimbres copper would have been in the area of the Santa Rita Copper Mine. Unfortunately, any surface copper areas that would have been mined there by the Mimbres people have since been disturbed by 20th-century mining so there are no traces of Mimbres mining there today. Sourcing of the Mimbres copper is still underway.

Aug 19, 2021 07:00 PM in Arizona

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