Thursday, May 26, 2011


A young archaeology student that I know and work with was doing a research project on reworked prehistoric pottery sherds.
Reworked means the sherds - broken vessel pieces - were reshaped, usually by grinding the edges, for an additional use.

Sherds, particularly decorated sherds, were reshaped to be pot lids, gaming pieces, jewelry, spindle whorls and for other uses.

Recycling by prehistoric people is not uncommon in the archaeological record at least here in the southwest.

The student thought some larger pieces had been used as holders or stands for ollas (pronounced oy ya) – large water jars. He explained the shape and size to me.

Wow! I thought I knew where some such sherds existed on a site out side of town.

He wanted to see and photograph them.

I called a few Site Stewards who monitored the site regularly. We made a date to visit the site and take the student with us.

The sherds, as the others and I remembered, were extruding from a small rivulet next to the dirt road.

We walked right to the area in question.

They were gone!

We could see the shovel marks, brand new shovel marks at that. The pothunters had just been there.

Those sherds had been there the month before, in fact, 1000 years before and some slob, “blankety-blank” of a pothunter had decided to dig them out and take them.

For what use?

Sell on eBay?

I doubt that as U.S. Federal agents now monitor eBay. Pot hunting and sale of the artifacts is a felony you know.

Will they be recycled in their home as MONOPOLY gaming pieces? Or used as an ornamental display – proof of their felonious minds and activities?

I have no idea what use they would be to a pothunter but I do know the felons took away some of our past and robbed us of past cultural knowledge.

This is not my idea of recycling!

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