By Angela Le Quieu, Staff Reporter | Photos by Angela Le Quieu
The Anthropology Club and their faculty advisor, Anthropology instructor Dr. Sue Ruth, hosted workshops focusing on ancient technologies used by prehistoric Homo sapiens at the Westside campus on Thursday, March 27.
Students gathered at one of the amphitheaters outside of Westside where Ruth demonstrated how to make fire with a technique known as bow and drill.
“It gives a chance for people to play with this technology that we have had for thousands of years, and most of the time they find out that it’s a little bit harder than they expected, although we made a lot of fire today,” Ruth said.
The first student that was able to produce fire was Jaxon Sorby, Psychology major, but he used flint and steel to ignite the tender.
Sorby has had experience making fire from when he worked as a docent for El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum and joined the museum after attending a fire starting class that was held, he said.
The flint and steel kit that he used to start the fire was his own and he practices making fire often in his own backyard, and has even used the fire to cook things like eggs in cast iron cookware Sorby said.
“It was really fun, I was glad I could make this one, last year I wasn’t able to,” Sorby said.
After the initial fire was made students were given marshmallows to roast which were part of the snacks that the Anthropology Club provided for students who attended the event.
Chandra Germain, Anthropology major and Vice President of the Anthropology Club helped supply the snacks, she said.
Germain said that these events give students the opportunity to see the sort of hands-on work that students who pursue anthropology do in order to better understand what they are studying.
“We did it last year and I really enjoyed it. A group of us actually managed to make fire, but that was like the only time. It’s actually exciting to see a lot more people are making fire,” Germain said.
Introducing applied anthropology, such as replicating how hunter-gatherers built fire, is the reason that the Anthropology Club organizes events like this one, said Jamie Fowler-Diaz, Anthropology major and Club Treasurer.
An event like this gets people involved in what anthropology is as well as being something that is fun, Fowler-Diaz said.
“I think they are awesome, so this is a really cool way to get a lot of people involved— people are having fun, they are chatting, they are talking, they are enjoying themselves, and we have food,” Fowler- Diaz said.
Fire making was not the only event planned by the Anthropology Club this spring, and on Monday, March 24 the club had an atlatl throwing event, that are devices which use a stick to propel a dart with greater force than if it had just been thrown by hand, which is a technique that has been around for tens of thousands of years, Ruth said.
The club will also have an event on April 9 that will show students how to make pinch pots, Ruth said.
Pinch pots are another way to demonstrate how experiential archeology and applied anthropology work, Ruth said.
“So basically we are going to be playing with clay and look at a very simple way to make a pot. It’s essentially the kindergarten ashtray, but again people find out is not quite as easy as they remembered it back in kindergarten,” Ruth said.
These events on the Westside are not the only things that the Anthropology club does; they also go on field trips to places like the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, and the Petroglyph National Monument, Ruth said.
In the fall, the club will also host a meet and greet for club members, anthropology majors, and faculty to showcase the program and to discuss what they will do in the future; this upcoming fall term will be the third year that they will have this event, Ruth said.
“We have just a great group of people and we’re really active,” Ruth said.
More information about the Anthropology Club and their events can be found on their Facebook page CNM Anthropology, which is a closed group, but the club does accept requests to join.