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A sherd of Mimbres pottery found at an archaeological site in the York-Duncan Valley.

A University of Texas San Antonio anthropologist is inviting the community to join her on Zoom Oct. 7 to hear her talk about prehistoric settlement patterns in Southeast Arizona’s Gila River Valley.

Mary Whisenhunt became familiar with the York-Duncan Valley while a student at UT San Antonio and participating in summer field trips to the area. She received her doctorate in August 2020, after writing a 650-page dissertation on what she discovered in the valley.

Whisenhunt helped research Round Mountain and went on to discover or rediscover another 82 prehistoric sites from the Three-Way area to the border of New Mexico with the help of local residents.

Twenty-five of the 83 discoveries were the direct result of local residents sharing information, she said in an interview in May. Some had come across pottery sherds in the past or evidence of prehistoric architecture, like lined up cobblestones.

To this day, people can still find bare circles on the ground with gravel surrounding them, evidence of pithouses, she said.

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“One of the things that is most interesting is the fact that a lot of the data that we found we would never have found without the help of the residents of Duncan,” Whisenhunt said. “This, in so many ways, was a collaborative project with the community and this is something that doesn’t happen very often.”

In fact, many of the sites were found on private property and yet the residents allowed Whisenhunt, professors and fellow students access to them, she said.

The Oct. 7 event will begin at 5 p.m. To register in advance for this meeting, go to https://bit.ly/3tRZeIS

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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