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mimbres pottery---part 3

updated fri 31 may 96


Rick Janssen on mon 27 may 96

The following information was a sidebar to the article:

The Mimbres people

The people and the land: The Mimbres lived in a high desert valley in
the mountains of what is now southwestern New Mexico, from about 200
to 1130/1150 A.D. and then left, possibly because of dought or
overpopulation. There is no archeological evidence of warfare or
natural disaster. Their communities rarely numbered more than 200 or
300 people. Their habitations evolved from sunken pit houses (200 to
500 A.D.) into multi-room, stone-walled residences built at ground
level around small plazas (1000 to 1150 A.D.).

The name: Mimbres comes from the Spanish word for willows and refers
to the trees lining the valley's shallow stream. Because the Mimbres
left no written records, we do not know what they called themselves.

The pottery: The Mimbres produced their Distinctive black-and-white
pottery from roughly 750 to 1150 A.D. in three, increasingly complex
styles. The "classic" Mimbres style of 1000 to 1150 A.D. features
geometric designs or lively figures isolated on a white field framed
by a rim of dark lines. When the Mimbres left their valley, their art
form ended. Other people returned to the area before the year 1200,
but their pottery is indistinguishable from that found elsewhere in
the Southwest.

The University of Minnesota's excavation: Between 1929 and 1931
University of Minnesota archeologists and students excavated a
Mimbres village now called Galaz Ruin; it was named after the
Hispanic ranchers on whose land the site was located. The Galaz site
has since been destroyed by looters searching for more pots. The
Minnesota and Harvard collections are especially valued because they
are both from single sites, offering a more complete record of
customs and culture.

"To Touch the Past: Painted Pottery of the Mimbres People"
through June 16, 1996, at the Weisman Art Museum, 333 East River
Road, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Telephone: (612) 625-9494.