Wednesday, August 29, 2007

DNA from Quids, Submerged Paleolithic New World Deposits, Utah History & Kathleen Gilmore

Southwestern Archaeology Making the News - A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- Ancient DNA Recovered from Basketmaker Quid's: In the September Journal of Field Archaeology, LeBlanc and several co-authors report that they have recovered DNA from 2000-year-old quids, as well as from aprons worn by Native Americans. The quids and aprons belonged to a vanished tribe that archaeologists call the Western Basketmakers. Between about 500 B.C.E. and 500 C.E., they lived in caves and rock shelters in what is now southern Utah and northern Arizona. Dry conditions are ideal for preserving DNA, and researchers have previously extracted ancient DNA from skeletons and feces of both humans and animals.

- Submerged Canadian Site May Provide Evidence on the Peopling of the New World: In a Canadian archeological project that could revolutionize understanding of when and how humans first reached the New World, federal researchers in B.C. have begun probing an underwater site off the Queen Charlotte Islands for traces of a possible prehistoric camp on the shores of an ancient lake long since submerged by the Pacific Ocean. - Times Colonist

- Utah History Conference Begins Next Week: Many Voices, Utah State History's 55th annual conference, will look at history from multiple perspectives. Acclaimed author James Loewen will give the keynote address. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Textbook Got Wrong, will speak on "Hidden in Plain View: How History Keeps Us Racist." The next day, he will give workshops on improving the teaching of history. That evening, the Rev. France Davis will speak on the African-American Religious Experience, and the ever-energetic Calvary Baptist Choir will provide gospel music. The conference also will include tours; workshops on historic preservation for local governments; and an entire day of free, engaging presentations on history, with such diverse topics as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Wallace Stegner, the archaeology of the Walker War, the history of soccer in Utah, and a preview of the Utah State Capitol.

- 105th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Birch Overland Mail Celebrated This Weekend in San Diego: On June 12, 1857, a mail contract was awarded to James E. Birch to carry mail over a route linking San Antonio, Texas with San Diego, California. Like most stage operations in rugged terrain, the Birch operation used mules to draw lightweight stage coaches with canvass tops called Celerity Stages or mudwagons. Birch’s Overland Mail, officially called the San Diego-San Antonio Mail Company, began its first trip from San Antonio, Texas on July 9, 1857, just 27 days after the mail contract was awarded. The route went from San Antonio through El Paso, Tucson, Yuma and ended in San Diego. From Tucson, the route followed the Rio Santa Cruz north to the Rio Gila then along the Gila to Yuma. This route followed Cooke's Wagon Road built by the Mormon Battalion in 1846. This was also called the Southern Emigrant Trail during the California Gold Rush of 1849. The little known Birch Overland Mail was the nation's first transcontinental mail line. It was replaced over a portion of its route by the Butterfield Overland Mail in 1858, which was in turn taken over by Wells Fargo in 1960.

- Kathleen Gilmore, One of the Most Unique Archaeologists in Texas: Archaeologist Kathleen Gilmore has unlocked some of the most elusive mysteries of Texas history. She spent decades hunting down the location of the French explorer La Salle's lost fort before discovering it near the Gulf Coast. She also excavated a number of Spanish colonial forts in Texas, including Mission Rosario, near Goliad. At age 92, the Preston Hollow resident will visit Spain in December to study a recently discovered cache of documents sent from early Texas missions. - Dallas Morning News

- Nevada Department of Transportation Rewarded for Proper Treatment of Cultural Resources: The Nevada Department of Transportation has received two awards for its handling of the discovery of one of northern Nevada's largest prehistoric villages. The discovery was made near the right-of-way for Phase 2A of the Carson bypass four years ago. NDOT officials hired the Louis Berger Group to handle the archaeological excavation. The three-year project unearthed thousands of Native American artifacts and located 48 dwelling sites. - Nevada Appeal

- Employment Opportunity, Curator of Archaeology, College of Eastern Utah Museum:
The College of Eastern Utah (CEU) Prehistoric Museum is seeking a Curator of Archeology. The Museum is located in Price, Utah and houses a prehistoric archaeological collection of over 700,000 artifacts. Eastern Utah is in the heart of rich archaeological resources including Archaic, Fremont and Ute rock art. The Museum is strategically located two hours from Range Creek. - Ms Word Document

Thanks to Terry Colvin, Brian Kenny and Dr Jackson Underwood for contributing to this issue of Southwestern Archaeology Today.