Monday, December 17, 2007

Michael Collins Purchases and Donates the Gault Site, More on the I-10 Bypass, Another Ancient Asteroid Impact Discovered

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

- University of Texas Professor Purchases the Gault Site for Preservation: A University of Texas professor who for five years has sought to procure an archaeological dig site north of Austin for his colleagues has finally closed the deal: by cashing out his personal savings. Michael Collins, associate researcher at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at UT's J.J. Pickle Research Campus, bought the 33-acre Gault site in southwestern Bell County and donated it to the Archaeological Conservancy. - The Statesman

- Opportunity for Public Comment on I-10 Bypass Opens Tomorrow Morning at the Pima County Board of Supervisors Meeting: The Pima County Board of Supervisors will be discussing the ecological considerations relative to the proposed construction of an Interstate 10 bypass route around Tucson. Please attend if you can and show that the public supports this strong resolution in opposition to the bypass concept. The Pima County Board meeting will be held at 9am, Tuesday December 18, BOS Hearing Room, 130 W. Congress, 1st Floor. While this meeting will also start at 9 AM, you will need to show up by 8:30 AM if you wish to sign up to speak (3 min limit). If you haven't yet submitted your comments on the Bypass Feasibility Study, please do so ASAP, at the very latest by December 20th.

- (Related Story) International Herald Tribune Declares San Pedro Valley an Imperiled Landscape: The sign on the dusty road running past Andy Smallhouse's cattle ranch reads "No Pavement 50 Miles," and he would rather it stay that way, especially since the alternative could be a freeway. The biggest road in the area now is Interstate 10, about 40 miles away. But state planners are drawing lines on a map, and some of them would route a proposed I-10 bypass right through his southern Arizona spread. "We don't see any way possible for an interstate to come through the middle of us and not interrupt what we're doing," said Smallhouse, whose great-great-grandfather established the ranch in 1884. "We might possibly profit from it, but we're not really interested in that aspect."

- Researchers Discover Another Instance of Meteorite Damage to Ancient North American Megafauna: An ancient meteor impact in North America sent up waves of rock fragments that peppered prehistoric mammals with "space shrapnel" about 34,000 years ago, scientists say. Many of the animals, particularly in the region near present-day Alaska, didn't survive. That's the story being pieced together by a research team led by Richard Firestone of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. - National Geographic

- Planned Pima County Wastewater Plant is Relocated to Avoid Hohokam Site, Saving County 2 Million Dollars: Rather than excavate the archaeological site, the county covered it up again.
"Over the last decade or so, there has been a change in archaeology ethics," Anyon said. "So much development has taken place along the Santa Cruz River, and there has been so much archaeology lost … that when we find something we can conserve, we prefer to conserve it." County officials don't know yet if the site will be disturbed when they build the new plant. They will try to design around it, but they may not be able to.
But if the site is excavated at a later date, the archaeological techniques might be better and more might be gleaned from it, Anyon said. "In a way, it's banking the archaeology for the future," he said.

- Call for Participants, Arizona Archaeology Expo: This is a call for 2008 Arizona Archaeology Expo participants!! Participant forms for the Arizona Archaeology Expo to be held at the Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson on March 1-2, 2008 are due! We still have room, so take advantage of this great opportunity to meet your public outreach goals and responsibilities! Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks, Ann Howard.