Multivocality in Archaeology: The Case Study from the Mimbres-Mogollon Region

This presentation highlights the progress of the Mimbres Pottery Workshop, which is functioning as part of the Info-Forum Museum Project (Documenting and Sharing Information on Ethnological Materials: Working with Native American Tribes; Dr. Atsunori Ito as the Principal Investigator). The Mimbres Pottery Workshop is a collaborative research project between descendant communities and researchers (cultural anthropologists and archaeologists), which focuses on the interpretation and analysis of Mimbres pottery designs recovered from southern New Mexico from A.D. 1000 to 1150. The group targeted approximately 30 pieces of Classic Mimbres pottery vessels curated at two institutions—New Mexico State University Museum and Geronimo Springs Museum. Attention focuses on the Hopi Tribe among many other descendant communities in the American Southwest. In addition to the review of Mimbres pottery designs and motifs with five Hopi reviewers, these individuals and the researchers visited the Mimbres region in order for the artists to feel, inspire, and reconnect to the landscape and environment where their ancestor communities once lived. Throughout this presentation, the presenters will delve into four major points: 1) the theoretical perspective (multivocality) and methodology of the workshop; 2) the interpretation of Mimbres pottery designs by these Hopi reviewers; 3) personal reflections on how archaeological interpretations can benefit from the Info-Forum Museum Project and the collaborative work with the Descendant Community; and 4) another collaborative effort focusing on how the results of this workshop was exhibited through both humanistic (Descendant group’s voices) and scientific (archaeologists’ voices) approaches to anthropologists, archaeologists, museum personnel, and the general public.