Friday, March 21, 2008

San Pedro Valley Spared, Rick Renzi's Legal Issues Impacts Petified Forest Land Exchange

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

- San Pedro Valley Spared Development of Interstate Bypass: Arizona transportation officials will continue planning for a possible Interstate 10 bypass around Tucson and Phoenix but have dropped proposed routes through the environmentally sensitive San Pedro River valley. The state Transportation Board unanimously approved a motion dropping the two potential San Pedro River valley routes east of Tucson during a meeting here today.

- Arizona Representative Rick Renzi's Legal Problems Threaten Petrified Forest Land Exchange: When federal grand jurors handed up a 35-count indictment of Rick Renzi last month, they accused the Arizona congressman of cheating to win an election and abusing his powers for profit. But those details only describe the charges, not the environmental and economic fallout from the scandal. Renzi's political upheaval stymied a pair of huge federal land exchanges: One deal would have added 15,000 acres of dinosaur bones and archaeological ruins to Petrified Forest National Park, an expansion already approved by Congress.

- McDowell Sonoran Conservancy to Donate 1.6 Million Dollar Land Parcel for Scottsdale Preserve: The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy has accepted the donation of a conservation easement by a long-time MSC donor and supporter of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and will transfer the donation to Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross at a ceremony in March. This donation, valued at $1.6 million, demonstrates both the willingness of the community to support MSC and the attractiveness land donations offer landowners because of their potential tax benefits.

- Lecture on Apache Sunrise Dance Tradition to be Offered at Besh-Be-Gowah Archaeological Park (Globe, Az). Saturday, March 29. For the past decade Prof. Carol Markstrom of West Virginia University has been conducting field research on the Sunrise Dance as well as coming-of-age rites of Navajos and Ojibwas; the results of which serve as the basis of her new book "Empowerment of North American Indian Girls." Saturday, March 29, she will give a 3 p.m. lecture about her research at the Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park in Globe as part of the Archaeology Awareness Month celebration. The author will be available to sign copies of her book following the lecture.

- National Trust for Historic Preservation Offering Intensive Course in Preservation Leadership: Preservation Leadership Training (PLT) is an intensive one-week experience tailored to respond to the needs of state and local preservation organizations and agencies. It emphasizes providing a participatory experience in leadership and organizational development techniques and the most up-to-date and effective information and training in current preservation practices, issues and action strategies. The next Preservation Leadership Training will be held June 21-28, 2008, in Portland, Maine. Applications are due March 31, 2008.

- Saving the Landscapes of the Ancient Maya, a New Feature on the Archaeology Channel: Interpreting archaeological sites requires an understanding of landscape and environment. And sometimes in saving one we also save the other, as exemplified by Saving the Cradle of Maya Civilization: Mirador Basin, Guatemala, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

- Archaeologist Brian Fagan Discusses his book, "The Great Warming" on the Daily Show: (Video Link)

- Paid Internship Opportunity: The Department of Archaeology and Landscapes at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest is offering two funded research positions for May 25 through July 25. These internships are intended for early-phase graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have previous field training and are looking for more experience conducting fieldwork and supervising field school students in a research-oriented setting.

Thanks To Gerald Kelso for Contributions to Today's Newsletter.

Note: Due to the Society for American Archaeology meetings next week, the Southwestern Archaeology Today newsletter service will be on hiatus March 23-30.

Monday, March 17, 2008

ASU Asked to Revise Conservation Easement, Public Archaeology at Queen Creek

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

- Arizona State University's Plan to Preserve the Kerr Center Rejected by Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission: The commission said this week that Arizona State University would have to do a better job on a conservation easement for the Kerr Cultural Center. After listening to artists and residents blast the reputation of ASU for historical conservation, the commissioners delayed a vote for the easement Thursday and sent it back to the negotiating table.

- San Tan Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society Shares the Archaeology of the Queen Creek Region with an Interested Public. The Queen Creek and San Tan area was once a fertile delta that brought prehistoric farmers, known as the Hohokam, to the area and kept settlers coming. Hundreds of years later came a stage stop on a route from Florence to Mesa. Now, a group of local archaeologists is forming a local chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society to educate residents about the area's history. The group's first meeting is this month with speaker Bruce Phillips, a geomorphologist, or a specialist in soil and prehistoric canals. "We want to get people to realize what's underneath their feet," he said.

- Sonoran Artist Sentenced For Filming Native Cerimonies At Yosemite: A Sonora artist who got in trouble for filming American Indian ceremonial dances in Yosemite National Park must complete 198 hours of community service and be on unsupervised probation for one year, a federal judge ruled.

- Lecture on Geoglyphs Tonight at Monthly Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Meeting.(Tucson). John Fountain will present "Geoglyphs, The Orphans of Rock Art, 7:30 pm at the Duval Auditorium In the University Medical Center, 1501 N Campbell Rd. 7:30 pm

- Lecture on Excavations at an Ancient Pithousse Village On the San Pedro, this Thursday at Old Pueblo Archaeology (Tucson): Thursday March 20, 2008. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center's "Third Thursdays" program presents "Excavations at a Prehistoric Gateway Community in the Upper San Pedro Valley." Archaeologists Douglas Craig and Maren Hopkins of Northland Research, Inc., will discuss recent excavations by Northland at a prehistoric pithouse settlement in the San Pedro River valley of southeastern Arizona. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center is located at 5100 W. Ina Road Bldg. 8 (northwestern Tucson metro area). 7:30 to 9 p.m, Free and Open to the Public

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shrinking Lake Mead Reveals St. Thomas Settlement, Architectural Pulp Fiction

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

- A Shrinking Lake Mead Reveals the Remains of a Town with a Lesson for the Southwest: Water gave birth to the town, and then buried it. Now years of drought combined with the thirst of a burgeoning Las Vegas Valley have forced Lake Mead to give up all of St. Thomas’ silted remains. A historian documenting the old Mormon settlement for the National Park Service visited its ruins for the first time Feb. 27 amid a growing belief that St. Thomas may never be covered by water again.

- Local Architect Decries Mass-Market "Pulp-Fiction" Architecture across the Southwest: As an architectural educator, I introduce to my students the notion that our buildings have a cultural responsibility to interpret both our place and our time. Arizona and its buildings are often the subject of my first lecture as we are so fortunate to live in a part of the world that has a particularly rich architectural history, from ancient Hopi villages such as Oraibi, (the oldest continually inhabited community in the United States), to civic buildings such as the Burton Barr Central Library, which drew the world's attention to the emergence of what has been called the Arizona School, a set of buildings that embody a commitment to both time and place. - The Arizona Republic

- Linking Rock Art to Acoustical Analysis of Place, Archaeoacoustics: Steven Waller has an educational art exhibit/installation continuing through March 21, 2008 in Ocean Beach, CA (near San Diego). The theme is "Echoes Inspired Cave Art", and the purpose is to raise awareness of connections between sound and rock art. All proceeds go toward efforts to preserve the natural soundscapes of rock art environments. See more about Rock Art and acoustics" at:

- Preservation Effort for Galisteo Basin: (From Bob Powers) Dear Friend of Archaeological Preservation, The Galisteo Basin Archaeological Coordination Group has recently submitted a Vision and Action Plan, and a Budget to the New Mexico Congressional delegation. The plan and budget, if funded, will finally allow implementation of the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act, passed by Congress in 2004. The prospect of future oil and gas drilling in the Basin makes it ever more important to obtain funding that will allow preservation and protection of some of the most important Puebloan and Spanish Colonial sites in the Southwest. Senators Bingaman and Domenici, and Representative Udall have been supportive of the Act, but because of the many competing demands for federal dollars, they need to hear from us. So, please take a few minutes and send a letter or email voicing your support for funding of the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act. Attached to this message are letters to both Senators and to Congressman Udall that you are welcome to use as is, or change to suit your taste. Senators Bingaman and Domenici, as well as Congressman Udall, also have contact pages on their websites, where you can enter your message and send it electronically.
Thank you for your help and support, Bob Powers, Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Coordination Committee.

Sample support letters:

Links to legislators:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Erosion at Sites Below Glen Canyon Dam Studied, Texas Ranger Remains Controversy

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

- Utah State University and Zuni Cultural Resource Enterprise Receive Grant for Study of Erosion of Sites Below Glen Canyon: Utah State University's luminescence geochronology laboratory is helping archaeologists and geologists study ancient sites threatened by erosion by the Colorado River. Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded $2.3 million to study archaeological sites below Glen Canyon Dam, including at least one that may have been in danger of further erosion during the recent high-flow experiment.,5143,695260362,00.html

- Controversy over the Treatment of Human Remains at Texas Ranger Museum: An archaeological firm that was fired from a job excavating human bones at the city’s Texas Ranger museum expansion site is claiming the city has mismanaged the project. The city this week terminated a $437,000 contract with American Archaeology Group to relocate human remains from the site, a former burial ground. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum director Byron Johnson said the city chose to “part ways” with the firm over differences of opinion about the archaeological process, but he said he can’t say much more because the firm has threatened a lawsuit. - Waco Tribune Herald

- Damage to Tempe Petroglyphs Repaired: Tempe residents may be relieved that Native American petroglyphs threatened by an alleged University of Arizona prank are safe, but many are annoyed that at least $10,000 of their tax dollars were spent keeping them that way. This week the work to save the glyphs is considered virtually complete, allowing the city to arrive at an estimate of the final price tag. Workers have spent more than a year removing spray paint from "A" Mountain after a prank stemming from a football rivalry.

- Archaeological Law Enforcement Class Offered: While this class is aimed primarily at federal and state land management and wildlife law enforcement officers, it would also be useful to county and local officers, particularly those who patrol outside town or execute search and arrest warrants for narcotics and property crimes. Because of
the value of artifacts and fossils on the black market, meth users and burglars often spend considerable time looting these items from private, state and federal lands with the intention of selling or trading them for profit. These items are likely to be found in yards or mixed amongst other stolen property or drug paraphernalia at target houses. In fact, any time an officer is in someone's house, there is a good chance of seeing artifacts or fossils.

Friday, March 7, 2008

More on Linguistic Data and the Peopling of the New World, Camp Naco Charette

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

- Linguistic Approaches to the Study of the Peopling of the New World: A remote population of a few hundred indigenous Siberians who live thousands of miles west of Alaska speak a language that appears to be an ancient relative of more than three dozen Native languages in North America, experts say. A panel of respected linguists who met in Anchorage on Friday are hailing new research that links the Old World language of Ket, still spoken sparingly along the Yenisei River in western Siberia, and the sprawling New World family of Na-Dene languages -- a broad grouping that encompasses the many Athabascan tribes in Alaska, along with the Tlingit and Eyak people, as well as Indian populations in western Canada and the American Southwest, including the Navajo and the Apache.

- A Hands on Effort to Help Preserve Historic Camp Naco: The Naco Planning Charette will be a "roll-up-the-sleeves" participatory design process. Who? –Naco Community and anyone interested in Naco’s Future. Why? – To discuss an update of Naco Brownfields project, the creation of a park next to the school with walking/running/biking trail, and the preservation and future of Camp Naco Where? – Naco Elementary School, Naco, AZ. When? – Saturday, March 29th, 2008, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served. For further information or to join efforts to preserve Camp Naco, contact: CNAPC, c/o Professor J.C. Mutchler, University of Arizona South, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635 email Or contact Rebecca Orozco, Director – Center for Lifelong Learning, Cochise College, Sierra Vista, AZ 85607, 520-515-5382 or in Douglas, 520-427-4772, email:

- Urban Sprawl and Lost Arroyos: Residents on the Southwest Side of Tucson have probably noticed a large amount of construction along the Santa Cruz River between Drexel and Irvington roads. As part of a rezoning agreement between the city of Tucson and the developer of the Tucson Spectrum Shopping Center, this reach of the Santa Cruz River is being channelized and stabilized with bank protection. Although this construction will help with flood control and include a river park, I can't help but feel somewhat sad that we have lost another piece of Tucson history.

- Archaeologist James Adovasio Provides a Counterpoint to Hollywood's 10000 BC: Giant mammoths graze the Earth. Saber-toothed tigers are on the prowl. It's 10,000 B.C., and one piece of technology stands between early humans and early demise. Is it bows and arrows? Wrong. Is it the spear? Nope. Try the almighty basket -- a handy device that allowed early humans to store the plant materials that made up about 70 percent of their diets.Surprised? James Adovasio, director of the anthropology and archaeology department at Mercyhurst College, isn't. He says modern media depictions of fur-clad musclemen knocking around big cats and tackling screaming lizards have pumped our heads full of prehistoric hype for years. - Go Erie.Com

- Hopi Cultural Preservation Office Archaeology Month Events: Thursday, March 20, 2008, 7-8 PM, Multimedia Lecture & Discussion: “Hopi Ancestors—Development & Other Impacts on Archaeological Resources and The Role of Descendant People’s Heritage”

- Employment Opportunity: EPG is looking for a Principal Investigator for our Phoenix Office. The ideal candidate would be an experienced individual with a PhD in Anthropology or history (preferred), although a Masters Degree is acceptable. The primary duty for the principal investigator would be reviewing archaeological documents for technical accuracy and completeness. Experience reviewing reports and coordinating with agency personnel is required. Candidates must have already been permitted in Arizona and could easily be permitted in Arizona given their credentials. The candidate must also have experience marketing and managing budgets. This position is salaried with benefits. Salary is dependent on experience and education. Please send resumes and references to

- Employment Opportunity, Aztec Ruins NM: Aztec Ruins NM has an announcement for Archeology Technicians on USAJobs. It will be open for another two weeks. The position is seasonal and will be filled at the GS-05 level. Please pass the message to those who might be
interested. - USA Jobs

Thanks to Brian Kenny and Gerald Kelso for contributions to today's Newsletter!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tucson Presidio Park, Native Tube, Dendroglyphs

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

- Living History at Tucson's Presidio Park: The Transamerica Building looms to the south, sometimes blocking the sun. Across the street is a parking garage. Trains can be heard rumbling in the distance. And plunked in the middle of all this modern urbanity sits Tucson's distant past: the re-created Presidio San Agustín del Tucson.

- Visitor's Dilemma, Chaco or Mesa Verde? Do you like your ruins difficult to reach, over dirt washboard roads, with the only food around what you bring yourself and the only place to sleep a campground? Are you thrilled to see rattlesnakes slither by? Do you like the feeling of peering down into a grand kiva, imagining its long-ago religious ceremonies, with no other tourists in sight? Chaco's your choice. Prefer to take a twilight tour of ancient cliff dwellings led by a guide dressed up as an early archaeologist, then eat a gourmet dinner at your hotel restaurant? Would you enjoy scooting along a high mesa on a tram, chatting first with Bostonians and next with Louisianans, hopping off this time to see pit dwellings, next time to see a dramatic overlook? Mesa Verde's your ticket. (Literally; you have to buy tickets to see the main sights.) - The Seattle Times

- Using Internet Video to Preserve Tribal Tradition - Native Tube: The Rubios turned to the Web and built their own online TV network, Native American Tube ( - and it has changed their life and the lives of others. They have literally plugged in, and are proving to be a powerful tonic for tens of thousands of culture-hungry Native Americans. As Mya explains it, "Our community is built on love and respect for our culture. Each day our community grows larger. We created Native American Tube to bring our people together. We hope to bring non-Natives here so that they can learn what our culture is all about."

- Basque Dendroglyphs in Southern Colorado: Known as arborglyphs or dendroglyphs, the impressions divulge the raw isolation of men far from the warmth of family and home. A vast majority of the carvings are simply names and dates or utilitarian notes sharing the location of a spring or warning of some danger. But there are yearnings for distant loves. Etchings of horses, mosquitoes, snakes, crosses. Boastful descriptions of forays into a nearby bordello.

- Archaeology of the Anza - Borrego Desert will be Featured at the Next Meeting of the Pacific Coast Archaeology Society: Pacific Coast Archaeological Society's March 13th meeting will feature Dr. Joan Schneider speaking on “What's Doin' Down South and Over the Mountains: Recent Archaeology in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Surrounding Region.” Meeting information: Thursday, March 13, 2008, 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:

- Underwater Archaeology is the Next Topic on the Archaeology Channel: Undersea exploration of shipwreck sites is rapidly growing in frequency, popularity and sophistication with improvements in technology and methodology. The potential value of this kind of research is illustrated by Anthropology Field Notes 6: Shipwrecks - with Odyssey Marine Exploration, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel