Friday, January 25, 2008

Special Topic: Museum & Looting News

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

- Federal Law Enforcement Raids Southern California Museums, Authorities Suspect Extensive Organized Crime Network Supporting Looting: Coordinated raids on four Southern California museums early Thursday suggest that the involvement of art institutions in the purchase of looted objects is far more extensive than recent high-profile scandals have indicated. Even as the country's most prominent museums were embarrassed by revelations of stolen artifacts in their collections, several local museums continued to pursue objects they had reason to believe were taken illegally from Thailand, Myanmar, China and Native American sites within the United States, according to search warrants served Thursday.,0,101198.story

- Raids Further Threaten the Credibility of American Musuems: It's another public relations debacle for the nation's museum industry, already tarred by reports that top institutions knowingly dealt in looted Italian artifacts. Federal agents raided several Southern California museums on Thursday, mostly in search of artifacts allegedly taken from Thailand's Ban Chiang archeological site, one of the most important prehistoric settlements ever discovered in Southeast Asia. Authorities believe they were smuggled into the U.S. and donated at inflated prices so collectors could claim fraudulent tax deduction.

- Timely Class on Legal Issues in Museum Administration to be Offered in Scottsdale: American Law Institute/American Bar Association presents a course of study at Scottsdale in April titled "Legal Issues in Museum Administration." A full program description and online registration are available on the web, at

- Time Magazine Fails to Respond to Archaeologist's Concerns that the Magazine Apparently Supports Antiquities Trade: Despite numerous letters from the professional archaeological community, not a single comment or letter to the editor has been published by the magazine.

Thanks to Garry Cantley and Irene Brace for Contributions to Today's Newsletter

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oil Drilling and Ancient Sites in the Galisteo Basin, Looting In National Parks

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

- Drilling in New Mexico's Galisteo Basin may Impact Ancient Sites: The basin, with its rugged mesas and open vistas, is one of the most pristine natural landscapes in our state. The basin also holds large ancestral Pueblo villages, extensive rock art, Spanish Colonial period settlements and missions, and historic trails. The archaeological remains of more than seven centuries of human endeavor in the Galisteo Basin lie largely undisturbed as a legacy for future generations. - (Robert Powers, in the Santa Fe New Mexican)

- Summary of Galisteo Controversy at Santa Fe New Mexican:

- Looting Impacts on National Parks: Looting of fossils and archaeological artifacts from national parks — such as Native American pottery and Civil War relics — is increasing as demand for such items rises on the Internet and the world market, U.S. National Park Service officials say.

- New Superintendent at Bandelier: Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos has gotten a new superintendent. Brad Traver, a 26-year veteran of the National Park Service, took over the job this week. He succeeds Darlene Koontz, who became the superintendent at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California last year.

- Civic Tourism; New Publication and Conference Announcement: The March 2006 civic tourism conference in Prescott, Arizona, was attended by people from 35 states, Canada, and Mexico, and was called a "landmark" meeting by more than a few people. Watch Gov. Napolitano's welcome to the conference at the civic tourism website, and read participant evaluations here. Now a new book has been published and another conference will be held this October. "Civic Tourism: The Poetry & Politics of Place" was just published and is available through the civic tourism website. We are selling the book exclusively through Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, and we encourage you to support local businesses and purchase your copy online through Changing Hands, named Publisher’s Weekly “Bookstore of the Year” in 2007. A book signing will be held at Changing Hands, Feb. 13 at 7 PM.

- Field School Announcement, University of Utah at Range Creek: Anthropology students can spend the summer digging at Range Creek Canyon, a ranch in east central Utah about 60 miles from the nearest town, surrounded by juniper trees and sagebrush with nearby rugged cliff walls bearing Fremont Indian rock art. Applications are now being accepted for U students to do field work in June and July for the Archaeology Field School at the location. - Daily Utah Chronicle

- Publication Announcement: Prehistoric Southwest Pottery Types and Wares by Norman “Ted” Oppelt. In 2007, Ted Oppelt published the latest version of his reference text on Southwestern pottery. The current edition includes color photos of 220 types and 25 wares (both whole vessels and sherds), a welcome addition to this comprehensive manual. The book also includes bibliographic references for major sources of information. The 150-page spiral bound volume can be ordered directly from Mr. Oppelt (contact

Monday, January 21, 2008

Repatriation Controversy in Santa Fe, DNA and Peopling on the New World

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

- Controversial Decision on the Repatriation and Reburial of Non-NAGPRA Collections in Santa Fe: Four years ago, excavations to prepare for tearing down Sweeney Convention Center and building the new civic center in its place turned up remains of a prehistoric village. City officials began negotiations with Tesuque Pueblo, which said the ruins were associated with its ancestors. This led to an agreement to excavate the items, study them and then rebury them on the site. City and pueblo officials have declined to discuss the disposition of human remains, but they are believed to have been reburied there. On Wednesday, the museum regents were asked to approve a "deaccession" of non-burial items recovered from the floors of four kivas on the site: ceramics, stone and bone tools, shell ornaments and pollen samples. - Santa Fe New Mexican

- Study Examines DNA Evidence on the Timing of the First Migrations to the New World: Research by anthropologists at the University of Illinois indicates that early humans may have migrated from Asia to the Americas more slowly than originally believed. New DNA evidence suggests that they settled in the area between Siberia and Alaska for 15,000 years, and then spread into the Americas.

- Eastern Arizona Courier Publishing Fascinating Apache Oral History: Many winter days I would sit with my grandmother, Ada, and her sister, Irene, in our small, yellow brick home in Bylas Navajo Point to hear stories passed down by their father, John Rope, the English name given to him by the U.S. agency at old San Carlos. John Rope was born in the early 1850s around the upper Black River and lived with his family near present-day Cedar Creek on the White Mountain Apache reservation. Tlol-dil-xil came from Tuagaidn clan (White Water people). Many of his descendants still reside in the community of Bylas, while many relatives from his clanship reside on the White Mountain Apache reservation. - Eastern Arizona Courier

- Construction Worker Fined for Theft of Artifacts at Mesa Verde Museum: The National Park Service says a construction worker is banned from entering all national parks for three years, after pleading guilty to stealing archaeological relics from Mesa Verde National Park.

- Lecture on Puebloan Social History Tonight in Tucson: At 7:30 PM at the University of Arizona Duval Auditorium, Amerind Foundation Director, John Ware will present Pueblo Social History: Upstreaming into the Past. Lecture presented as part of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society's monthly meeting.

- Speaking Volumes: A series of discussions in honor of the Arizona State Museum Library’s 50th Anniversary. On January 31, 2008, Join us for coffee and conversation 3:30-5:30 p.m. Guest speakers include Michael Brescia, ASM assistant curator of ethnohistorical research and R. Brooks Jeffrey, associate dean, preservation studies, UA College of Architecture. Free and open to the public. Your generous donations will help the library meet its mission.

- Employment Opportunity, Passport in Time Volunteer Services Coordinator (Albquerque): Passport in Time (PIT) is a volunteer program of the USDA Forest Service. The goal of PIT is to preserve the nation’s past with the help of the public. PIT volunteers work with professional archaeologists and historians on national forests throughout the country. The Volunteer Services Coordinator is responsible for maintaining the day-to-day aspects of the PIT program. The Volunteer Services Coordinator duties include assisting with the development and maintenance of a new PIT Website, distributing the electronic newsletter, maintaining the newsletter email list, and program database, as well as, processing applications, notifying applicants of their
application status, and coordinating with PIT project leaders.

Thanks to Jim Heidke for Contributions to today's Newsletter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Water & Climatic Change in the Southwest, Questioning Archaeological "Top Ten" Lists

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

- Water and Past, Present, and Future Climatic Change in the Desert Southwest: All over the Southwest, a wholesale change in the landscape is under way. Piñons and scrubbier, more drought-resistant junipers have long been partners in the low woodlands that clothe much of the region. But the piñons are dying off. From 2002 to 2004, 2.5 million acres turned to rust in the Four Corners region alone. The immediate cause of death was often bark beetles, which are also devastating other conifers. The Forest Service estimates that in 2003, beetles infested 14 million acres of piñon, ponderosa, lodgepole pine, and Douglas fir in the American West.

- Questioning Archaeological Top Ten Lists: 2007 appears to have been a banner year for archaeology. Both the National Geographic Society and Archaeology magazine compiled lists of the 10 most significant archaeological discoveries of the year. Remarkably, no two discoveries overlapped on the two lists. Does this really mean there were so many discoveries of such significance last year that two independent compilations wouldn’t share even one? - The Columbus Dispatch

- Publication Announcement: Ancestral Zuni Glaze-Decorated Pottery -Viewing Pueblo IV Regional Organization through Ceramic Production and Exchange, by Deborah L Huntley. The Pueblo IV period (AD 1275–1600) witnessed dramatic changes in regional settlement patterns and social configurations across the ancestral Pueblo Southwest. Early in this interval, Pueblo potters began making distinctive polychrome vessels, often decorated with technologically innovative glaze paints. Archaeologists have linked these ceramic innovations with the introduction of new ideologies and religious practices to the area. This research explores interaction networks among residents of settlement clusters in the Zuni region of westcentral New Mexico during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD. Using multiple analytical techniques, this research provides a case study for documenting multiple scales of interaction in prehistory. Ceramicists will find a wealth of technological and contextual data on glaze-decorated pottery, and archaeologists interested in power and leadership in ancestral Pueblo societies will be intrigued by the implication that strategies like the manipulation of interpueblo alliances or control over long-distance resources may have been used to concentrate social power. Now available from University of Arizona Press.

- Southwest Archaeology Today at the Southwest Symposium: In an effort to improve the quality of the Southwestern Archaeology Today newsletter, the Center for Desert Archaeology is very interested in any comments or feedback from Southwest Symposium attendees. If you are attending the symposium, and have suggestions or concerns about this newsletter service, please take a moment to drop by the Center's table and let us know your thoughts. Comments may also be posted here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

NAGPRA at Berkeley, Nominations for National Preservation Honor AwardsOpen, SW Symposium Starts Thursday

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

- Repatriation of Human Remains Still a Problem at Berkeley Museum: The remains of about 12,000 Native Americans lie in drawers and cabinets in the gym's basement. Most of them were dug up by university archaeologists and have been stored under the pool since at least the early 1960s. Now the bones are at the center of a dispute between Native Americans, who want to rebury their ancestors, and university officials, who have been slow to hand over the remains. Some tribal leaders contend that the university is violating a federal law that governs the repatriation of artifacts and remains. - Los Angeles Times (Site may require registration)

- National Trust for Historic Preservation Accepting Nominations for 2008 National Preservation Honor Awards: he National Trust for Historic Preservation is now accepting nominations for the 2008 National Preservation Honor Awards. The coveted annual awards recognize singular success in preserving, rehabilitating, restoring or interpreting America's architectural and cultural heritage. Winners will be announced at the 2008 National Preservation Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which will run from October 21-25.

- Arizona State University Asks Scottsdale to Delay Historic Designation on Kerr Cultural Center: Scottsdale's Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday reluctantly gave in to Arizona State University's request to postpone designating the Kerr Cultural Center as an historic property. On her death in 1977, composer and arts patron Louise Lincoln Kerr bequeathed her home and performance hall at 6110 N. Scottsdale Road to the university so famed concerts and programs could continue there. ASU had asked that the proposal be withdrawn but came up with a compromise at the 11th hour. If the city withheld an historic zoning overlay, the university would draw up an easement, a legal document that preservation experts said would give the buildings greater protection.

- Reminder: Southwest Symmposium Starts Jan 17. The 2008 symposium will begin with a session that honors our 20th anniversary. In this opening session, the topics from the first Southwest Symposium (foraging, mobility and migration, social power and interaction, the protohistoric, and the history of Southwest archaeology) will be revisited by leading scholars in the field. They will look back over the last two decades of our accomplishments and forward toward new directions. The relationships among people and between people and their landscapes, both social and physical, dominate Southwest archaeological research. Archaeologists of varied theoretical perspectives share an interest in understanding human movement, landscape change, and the connections among groups at local and pan-Southwestern scales. These topics are the focus of the three additional sessions of this year's Southwest Symposium.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hands on History at SHA Meeting, Arizona's Architectural Wonders, Peoria's Old Main

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

- "Hands on History" Celebrated at the SHA Meetings in Albuquerque: Join in on an afternoon of fun, interesting, and educational activities during Hands on History! Learn about historical and underwater archaeology with experts from throughout the United States. Participate in the archaeology lab, try on dive gear, see how corn husk dolls were made, sort artifacts, record rock art, and visit the Van of Enchantment, New Mexico’s museum on wheels. Learn how you can become involved in the archaeology and history of New Mexico! Hands on History. Sponsored by the Society for Historical and Underwater Archaeology. Saturday, January 12, 2008. 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m. in the Grand Pavilion Rooms at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque. 330 Tijeras NW Albuquerque, NM 87102. The event is free and open to the public! For more information, contact: Carol Ellick, SRI Foundation, (505) 892-5587.

- White House Pueblo and San Xavier del Bac Join List of Arizona's Architectural Wonders: The winners straddled the architectural spectrum, including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, the 1,200-year-old White House Anasazi pueblo in Canyon de Chelly, Kierland Commons, an upscale commercial and residential project in Scottsdale, and the Spanish colonial San Xavier del Bac Mission near Tucson.

- Peoria School District Advised to Find Ways to Save Historic "Old Main:" The Peoria Unified school board should keep trying to find practical uses for the 1922-vintage Old Main building at Peoria High School, an official of the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office told the board Tuesday . "The idea is to keep it in productive use," said the official, James Garrison. Outside funds may be available to preserve the building, he said.

- Historic Structure in Southern Arizona in Jeopardy: A local landmark - part of a Southern Arizona community - is in danger. Preservationists have wanted to save the old post office in Vail for a while. But some recent events have put the historic building in jeopardy. "That whole corner is gone. It just flipped up and folded on itself," says J.J. Lamb with the Vail Preservation Society.

- Hubble Trading Post Thieves Plead Guilty: A 45-year-old man wanted for stealing more than $200,000 worth of Navajo rugs and other Native American artifacts, and arrested July 14, 2007, near Jumbo Reservoir, pled guilty to the charges in federal court last week. - Sterling Journal Advocate

- Tour Opportunity: Archaeology and Peoples of Sonora, Mexico. On this fascinating Crow Canyon travel adventure, explore the remarkable natural landscape of Sonora-its parched desert, jagged mountains, broad basins, and stunning coastlines-and study the diversity and complexity of culture and ecology in the region. Visit a spectacular and newly researched ancient trincheras site and examine fascinating rock art panels on private land. Delve into the living culture of Sonora peoples-Mayo, Seri, and Yaqui-and learn about their arts and crafts as you enjoy home visits and local cooking. Observe long-standing traditions as you attend ceremonies during Semana Santa-the holy week preceding Easter-one of the defining celebrations for Mexican culture! Feast and celebrate as the culture of this magical region comes to life!

- Cultural Resource Certification Class Available Online: This Cultural Resource Management (CRM) and the Laws on-line course explores the historic context of federal historic preservation/CRM legislation and regulations (especially, the umbrella laws under The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Archaeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Executive Orders), the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Native American concerns and traditional cultural properties, cultural resources and the world wide web, and State CRM laws and regulations. The overall goal is to train students in the laws pertaining to Cultural Resources so that they may have a better foundation to build their Cul tural Resource Protection Program in their communities.

Time Magazine reminds you that trading in Antquities is "Hot!"

Friday, January 4, 2008

NPS Chaco Research Online & Arizona Archaeology Expo Planning

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

- Summary of the Chaco Intentional Site Reburial Program Available On-Line: Through the Vanishing Treasures Initiative of the NPS, sixteen major excavated structures in the park have been partially reburied over the past 12 years. Some 6,000 sq m of masonry has been reburied, representing about one-eighth of all exposed masonry. The replacement of eroded mortar and stone is now more manageable and the required treatments less invasive. The intentional site reburial plan proposes in the next 5 years to partially rebury an additional 8 to10 excavated structures resulting in about one quarter of the total exposed fabric in the Park being reburied.

- Summary of the Chaco Digital Initiative Project Also Available On-Line: The Chaco Digital Initiative (CDI) is a collaborative effort between the NPS, the University of Virginia, and a number of museums, universities, archives, and laboratories to integrate much of the widely dispersed archeological data collected from Chaco Canyon in the late 1890s and the first half of the 20th century. Its goal is to ensure that these early archeological research records are preserved and accessible to future generations. Currently, these materials are housed at numerous repositories around the country, making it difficult to answer even fundamental research questions. The Chaco Digital Initiative is making the research and human history of this national treasure more easily available through a comprehensive digital research archive, parts of which can be accessed through a public website.

- Lecture at Eastern Arizona College will Discuss the Term "Anasazi:" Eastern Arizona College’s Discover Anthropology lecture series will open this spring semester on Jan. 5, 6:30 p.m., with a slide lecture entitled “Who Were the Anasazi?” The free lecture, given by Dr. Harry Swanson, will take place in the Jupiter Room of the Gov Aker Observatory located on the College’s Discovery Park Campus. In this program Swanson will explain who the Anasazi were by discussing the origin of the name, its meaning and why modern Pueblo peoples generally prefer the term “Ancestral Pueblo Peoples.” - Eastern Arizona Courier

- Californian Costal Archaeology is the Topic of the Next Meeting of the Pacific Coast Archaeology Society: The Society's January 10th meeting will feature Jamie Cleland and Andrew York speaking on “Settlement and Ceremony at Landing Hill: A Place Remembered.” Meeting information: Thursday, September 13, 2007, 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA. Meeting is free and open to the public. For information:

- Planning for Arizona Archaeology Expo: Third Archaeology Expo Planning Meeting, 2008 Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month, Monday January 7, 2008 at 10:30 a.m.
Room 309, North Building Arizona State Museum, U of A, Tucson. Please come and share your ideas as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) continues planning for the 2008 Arizona Archaeology Expo that will be held on March 1-2, 2008 at the Arizona State Museum, the University of Arizona in Tucson. We will be exchanging ideas with the various partners; discussing programming, publicity, lay out and organization, sponsors, funding, off-site activities, etc. The SHPO values our partnerships with you – we hope to see you at this meeting, and at future planning efforts, for the 2008 AAHAM public programming. For More Information, Please Contact: Ann Howard, Public Archaeology Programs Manager State Historic Preservation Office
602/542-7138, or Rich Lange, Arizona State Museum

- Arizona Archaeology Expo Posters Now Available: The posters for the 2008 celebration of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month (AAHAM) are here! Please feel free to stop by and pick some up (at the Arizona SHPO/State Parks office); we appreciate your efforts in helping to get them posted for the public to see. If you are unable to pick your posters up and you are not on our mailing list, please let me know and we will send you some. Thanks again for your support for Arizona's heritage education endeavors! Sincerely, Ann Howard. Public Archaeology Programs Manager and Archaeological Compliance Specialist, State Historic Preservation Office

- Hotel Rooms for Expo Avialable at Discounted Rate: If you are going to be participating in this year's Arizona Archaeology Expo at the Arizona State Museum, U or A, Tucson, on March 1-2, 2008, you can stay in a block of rooms that the InnSuites (475 N. Granada) has reserved for us. They are giving all Expo participants the state government rate of $119.00 (plus 12.1% tax and $1.00 sur charge) per night. They are holding a block of 20 rooms for Friday night, February 29th and 30 rooms for Saturday night, March 1st – they will only hold this block of rooms until January 29th, so I recommend that you make your reservations soon. This is also the peak tourist season in Tucson. Contact Info: Call Reservations, at 800-842-4242 and ask for a room in the “Arizona Archaeology Expo” block. They are holding these rooms for the nights of 2/29 and 3/1 only, so if you would like to come on an earlier date or stay for an extra day, you will need to make that clear when you make the reservations. We have been told that they will honor the state government rate for those extra days, too, subject to room availability! (Since this will be their peak tourist season, please note that they are requiring 48 hours [not 24 hours] for cancellations of reservations prior to arrival date without penalty; if you cancel in less than 48 hours of your reserved arrival date, you will be charged for one night.) ease let me know if you have any questions – 602-542-7138 or e-mail ( Thanks, and looking forward to seeing you at the Expo!