My journey as intern for the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center began the week of August the 15th. The morning started off with an introduction and a basic overview of the Luther Bean Museum.
The highlight of the week was a visit by Patrick Ortiz, a graduate student at the University of Colorado who will be receiving his M.A. in Archaeology. I had the privilege of learning from Patrick valuable information on the pottery the museum has acquired throughout the years. The information ranged from what Indian tribe made the pottery based on its style and decoration, the use of the word “olla” (Spanish for “pots”), and what time period the pottery could have been made.
A few things that I learned about the decoration of the pottery:
“The Line Break” a.k.a. “The Spirit Break” are found on many pots. There are framing lines and path lines are interrupted by a small gap called the spirit break, ceremonial break, or simply the line break. This feature has occurred on Pueblo pottery for nearly a thousand years. It is a major element in prehistoric Hopi pottery.
Some key elements in the decorations of the pottery represent other elements of nature such as turkey feathers=clouds, lighting bolts=rain, and swirls=clouds. The heart line is a painted arrow leading from the mouth into the chest of an animal motif. The heart line is said to represent life itself. It is inspired by the spiritual connection between a deer and the hunter.
I end my week excited about my journey as an intern! A memory that came to mind for me was when I was young and I often wondered about the people who worked behind the scenes in a museum and the jobs they performed, now I get to experience this life for myself.