Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Digging Taos, Texas Beyond History, Jim Ayers Honored

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

- Digging Taos with the SMU Archaeological Field School: For hundreds of years the beauty and mystery of Taos, New Mexico, have lured thousands of settlers and visitors, from the ancestors of the Taos and Picuris Indians and Spanish settlers to skiing enthusiasts and artists. Now students participating in SMU's Archaeology Field School have answered the call of Taos in their own way. In summer 2007 they began work on the first phase of a research project that will bring together University faculty and students, Taos community leaders, private landowners, and local, state and federal government agencies. The multifaceted undertaking will involve surveying on foot and through satellite and Google Earth images, as well as archival research and excavation.

- Excellent New Website Examines the Prehistoric and Early Historic Peoples of the Trans Pecos Mountains and Basins: These new online exhibits trace the archeological and ethnohistorical record of the native peoples of the region over 13,300 years and share some of the scholarly information and cultural treasures with the wider world. It is a permanent addition to TBH and one that creates a framework suitable for adding new content as it becomes available. Key Elements include major exhibits on Prehistory, Historic Native Peoples, Artistic Expression, Nature's Harvest, Patterns of the Past, Kids Activities, and Teaching Resources, as well as separate multisection site exhibits on: Hueco Tanks, Madera Quemada, Junta de los Rios, Cueva Pilote and El Paso Missions and Settlements.

- Oil Exploration threatens Nine Mile Canyon Rock Art: A plan to drill 800 wells in eastern Utah is moving forward — and threatening a canyon that's often called "The World's Longest Art Gallery." In 2004, we wrote about the BLM's efforts to stifle an agency archaeologist who raised the alarm about the damage that energy development could inflict on the stunning rock art of Nine Mile Canyon and the West Tavaputs Plateau (see our story here).

- James Ayers Wins SHA Honors: Jim Ayres has studied millions of archaeological artifacts during his 43-year scientific career. His work helped show that notorious Colorado cannibal Alfred Packer was a murderer. Ayres served as director of the Tucson Urban Renewal archaeological excavation project from 1967-1971. The Society for Historical Archaeology in Rockville, Md. awarded Ayres its J. C. Harrington medal for lifetime achievement at the group's 41st annual conference Jan. 11 in Albuquerque, N.M.

- Museum of Northern Arizona sets Summer Festival Schedule: At the base of the San Francisco Peaks―an integral part of the Colorado Plateau's spiritual landscape―the Museum of Northern Arizona's four festivals highlight the region's cultures and encourage communication and the exchange of ideas between visitors, educators, and artists. Art, music, performances, and Heritage Insights presentations, together, create cultural understanding and a forum for dialogue. The following festivals will be included in the 2008 Heritage Program.

- New Mexico State University Seeks Input on Historic Preservation Plan: Building a future by preserving the past is the target of a public meeting to discuss plans to preserve New Mexico State University's architectural heritage. NMSU's Facilities Planning and Construction Department is inviting Las Cruces and surrounding-area residents, the media and the campus community to provide input on the preservation plans, which will be presented from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 12, at William B. Conroy Honors Center on the historic Horseshoe at the main campus of NMSU.

- Land Disposition and Looting: You see this red color? This is federal land," Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Linda Farnsworth said as she swung her pencil over the Four Corners area — a plateau where Colorado, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico meet. "And the white color is private land." It could have appeared inconsequential, had these limits not marked an invisible front line in a clash between culture and vandalism, public good and private greed, law abidance and crime. "Yes, the same thing done on public and private land could mean the difference between ending up in jail and walking out scot-free with plenty of money in your pockets," Ms. Farnsworth added with a sad smile.

- New Play Dramatizes founding of Tucson: Tucson-Roscommon Sister Cities is proud to announce it is sponsoring a cultural exchange in the form of a theatrical production written and produced in Ireland about the founding of Tucson.
http://www.cdarc.org/sat/oconor.doc - MS Word Document

- Correction - Dallas Preservation Link:
Http://www.cdarc.org/page/haxr - SMU Daily Campus.

- Employment Opportunity: The Office of Contract Archeology seeks to fill Archeologist (crew chief) and Archeologist Crew Member positions for data recovery projects beginning this spring. Excavations along US 491 north of Gallup, NM, will include nine sites dating from the Early Archaic to Pueblo II periods and will last four months. Other excavation projects are set along the Rio Grande Valley and near Roswell. Work also will be available at the OCA laboratory. The positions will be posted on the University of New Mexico’s official job listings website https://ejobs.unm.edu/jobHome.cfm

Thanks to Brian Kenny for Contributions to today's newsletter.