TECHNOLOGY TIME TRAVEL or TECHNOLOGY TIME WARP?
A Blend of Prehistoric, Historic and Ancient Technology
BY: Michele Peters, AZSciTech Writer
For those of us in the 21st century, technology has fairly specific meanings, ideas and objects we relate to easily. But what about technology in the past? Here’s your chance! Put away the cell phone, tablet, iPod and laptop and experience technology… prehistoric style.
On Saturday, March 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, the Pueblo Grande Museum celebrates its 16th Annual Ancient Technology Day: Prehistoric & Historic and welcomes visitors to travel back in time and experience ancient technologies. And yes, they did have technologies then, just not the kind we are accustomed to!
So, let’s travel back in time. How are you at tossing an atlatl (spear)? How about weaving your own cloth? Try your hand at some of the many free craft activities and games where you can practice your newly acquired ancient and historic technology skills.
If you are bit reluctant to toss that atlatl immediately upon arrival, you can first watch the many artists demonstrate how the Hohokam people used various technologies such as flint knapping (making of arrowheads), pottery making, basket weaving, loom spinning, shell etching and shell jewelry, weaving, cotton spinning or how about making adobe brick. And there’s more! Experts in historic technologies will demonstrate skills from the Pioneer Days of Arizona.
Now that you’ve had a chance to try some of the crafts and activities, you’ll want to put all of this in full context. Tour the archeological site, prehistoric platform mound, the Park of Four Waters, watch archaeology preservation demonstrations, and artifact show–and-tell will also be available along with a variety of cultural, historic, and technology performances that are not to be missed throughout the day.
Laura Andrew, Visitor Services Supervisor for the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation was
recently interviewed and asked about this very popular annual event. She commented that for visitors to the event, and many come year after year, it “…brings prehistoric and historic technology these people used in daily lives into our lives. Technologies you don’t see on a daily basis …talk to technologists, scientists, archeologists, preservationists – you get a very personal connection and it brings history alive. You can also see things differently; watch how an artist actually spins thread on a spinning wheel. So many tools used are so different from what we consider tools today.”
Andrews also commented about the unusual juxtaposition of the museum that focuses on prehistoric and historic but is near an airport and in the middle of downtown Phoenix. “… actually, this is the ancient heart of Phoenix. You get a true feel for the prehistoric and historic relationship of the people … to the water, see the canals, see the petro-glyphs (images created by removing part of a rock’s surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading; a form of “rock-art” that is found world-wide but most often attributed to prehistoric peoples) and realize where we came from.”
Part of AZSciTech for five years, the Annual Ancient Technology Day is a natural fit and partner based on the underpinning of and dependence upon science. Andrew explained, “…elements of archeology lean on hard science for conclusions; archeology, paleontology, social sciences, all depend on science in the background to answer questions.” In order for us to learn about and learn from the technology of the past, we rely on the technology and science of today.
And the one technology that translates and transcends time travel is the roasted agave that you can sample, cooked in the traditional way, slow-cooked in an underground, earthen oven. Plan to spend as much time as possible at the 16th Annual Ancient Technology Day: Prehistoric & Historic at the Pueblo Grande Museum. Admission to this event and the museum is free as are the many arts and crafts activities.