SOCIETY FOR AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY MEETINGS IN AUSTIN, TX.
Monday, 05 May 2014 12:38
We are finally home from the SAA meetings in Austin with our brains alive with new and fascinating information. The sessions on Mississippian mound builder iconography were fabulous. We’ll write more about this in our upcoming May Newsletter, but one of the most intriguing new discoveries is that Cahokian artwork, for example that found on gorgets (pendants), has an internal grammar (a system of standardized symbols) that Cahokians used to tell stories. Most interestingly, they told the stories in pieces, so that you only get the full story if you put the pieces of the puzzle together. For example, you must “stack” gorgets to see how the story progresses from beginning to end.
Our panel entitled, “Heresy in the Tower: Writing Fiction about Archaeology,” which was graciously sponsored by Dr. Linda Scott Cummings of Paleo Research Institute, and moderated by former Utah State Archaeologist, Kevin Jones (author of the wonderful novel, THE SHRINKING JUNGLE), was both fun and enlightening. We always learn so much from others. Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the panel, especially new SAA President, Diane Gonzales, and Dr. Laura Scheiber. Everyone’s observations made for some fantastic conversations.