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.

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