Friday, April 4, 2008

Pre-Clovis Coprolites, Honey Bee Village Park Dedicated, Historic Cemeteries in Waco

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

- DNA from Human Coprolites Dated to 14000 Years B.P. New evidence shows humans lived in North America more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than had previously been known. Discovered in a cave in Oregon, fossil feces yielded DNA indicating these early residents were related to people living in Siberia and East Asia, according to a report in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.

- Cultural Park within Honey Bee Village Dedicated: The overall project has “gone very well,” said Solomon, who began formation of a working group and discussion with stakeholders in January 2005. A number of interested parties “worked together from the beginning to form the comprehensive preservation and development plan that you’re seeing in effect today. We had great cooperation” from governments at all levels. “It’s really a great example of everybody getting together, working and actually accomplishing something in a reasonably short time period.” Solomon lives in Oro Valley. He knew the archaeological site existed before purchasing the ground. “I wanted to preserve what we could of the site, and incorporate it into the development, and have them complement each other,” he said. With considerable assistance, and with frequent changes, Solomon has designed the project around the preserve.

- Tree Rings to be Discussed at U of Arizona Science Café: (On Monday, April 7) Tree rings can tell us a lot, and the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research has used them to research topics including archaeology, ecology, geology and climate change. The UA Flandrau Science Center science cafe will look at tree ring research Monday. Paul R. Sheppard, associate professor in the UA tree ring lab, will offer a short talk titled "Tree Rings: How do I love the Southwest? Let us count the ways!"

- Historic Cemeteries and Development in Waco: It’s time to rededicate Waco’s most historical burial grounds as a cemetery. The Waco City Council should not expand Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum facilities into the old cemetery area now that it has become abundantly clear that the land most people thought was cleared of graves still contains many hundreds of bodies. City Manager Larry Groth has already recommended that no more development be done on the Fort Fisher land next to the Ranger museum. - Waco Tribune Herald

- Expansion of Petrified Forest National Park Stalled: Government plans to more than double the size of Petrified Forest National Park appear to be in jeopardy because Congress has failed to come up with the cash to buy surrounding properties it approved for expansion in 2004. Without government funding, an irreplaceable treasure of dinosaur bones and Indian ruins may be lost as ranchers sell off their spreads for subdivision and development, according to David Gillette, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Museum of Northern Arizona. - USA Today

- Archaeological Field School Announcement: Northern Arizona University announces an archaeological field school in House Rock Valley, the Paria Plateau, and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona from June 2 to July 11, 2008. For more information and to download the application, check out the web site or email the Director Michael O'Hara at

- Grant Opportunity, Preserve America & Save America's Treasures: Fiscal Year 2008 grant applications for the Save America's Treasures grant program and the Preserve America grant program are now available. Save America's Treasures matching grants are awarded for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites. Eligible applicants include Federal (including NPS), state, local, and tribal government entities, and nonprofit organizations. Applications are due May 20, 2008. Application guidelines are available on our website, at:

- Archaeological Preservation at an Early Virginia Church: Colonial Virginians and the Church of England established Elk Run Church in the 1740s. After the Revolutionary War, it became part of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. In the following decades the church was abandoned and disappeared, but remained in the memory of local families. The church’s first rector, James Keith, was the grandfather of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. This video documents the archaeological investigation of the church, beginning with the first survey in 1999, and its development as a historical park. Historical archaeology has a special knack for connecting to present-day communities. Popular support for, and participation in, an archaeological excavation is an important part of Finding Our Foundation: The Preservation of the Elk Run Anglican Church Site, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

Thanks to Gerald Kelso for contributions to today's newsletter.