Monday, April 21, 2008

Threats to Nine Mile Canyon, More Utah Looting, Lectures

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

- Salt Lake Tribune Pleads for Preservation of Nine Mile Canyon Rock Art: The history of the sudden abandonment of dwellings and the vanishing of populations was shared by the Anasazi and the so-called Fremont Indians of the Nine Mile Canyon area in the 1300s. Ecologists and archaeologists from several universities joined forces in 2003 to study that area in a project called Legacies on the Landscape. Nine Mile Canyon, northeast of Price, with its vast wealth of dwellings and more than 10,000 glyphic writings, deserves a gargantuan research effort to discern who these Fremont Indians really were - before the written evidence is destroyed by Bill Barrett Corp. as it drills for oil and gas and sends thousands of trucks kicking up harmful dust along the canyon road.

- Looting Steals from All: Last Monday, I went out into the red rock country west of Gunlock to research and write about day hiking in the area. I visited an old cave I knew about and have pretty much kept the location to myself. Inside the cave are a number of ancient pictographs drawn in what looks like red ochre. It would not surprise me if they predate the Anasazi. Thus my dismay when I realized that someone has been digging around in the back. It does not have a professional look to it. Instead, it appears that there is an artifact looter on the loose. Thankfully, no one has defaced the cave drawings. I haven't a clue how old they are, but they could easily have been there for a couple of thousand years. Still, the amateur excavation is very disturbing to me. Aside from illegal, it violates a sacred trust, the sanctity of the pristine. - The St. George Spectrum

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Clovis, Climate, and Comets in the San Pedro Valley,
13,000 Years Ago. Archaeologist Jesse Ballenger will speak this Thursday, April 17th at 7:30 p.m. The lecture will be held at the Old Pueblo Archaeology auditorium, 5100 W. Ina Road Bldg. 8, in NW Tucson metro area.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson) At the Still Point of the Turning World: Chaco and Its Outliers. Archaeologist Ruth Van Dyke will speak tonight,7:30 pm April 21, at the monthly meeting of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, in the Duval Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N Campbell.

- Opposition Builds to Desert Rock Power Plant: It was tempting to think it was the most people ever gathered on this barren stretch of gray desert near Burnham, N.M. But maybe not - after all, we weren't far from the ancient trade and cultural center of Chaco Canyon, where thousands of people routinely gathered a thousand years ago. To Elouise Brown, founder of the local group protesting the planned construction of a 1,500-megawatt coal-fired power plant near this site, it is not barren gray desert. It is the land that has sustained her family for generations, and it's full of hidden springs and sacred sites.

- New Research at Tonto National Monument: But few casual visitors realize that after dozing in the scientific shade for a century, the monument researchers now find themselves perched with a view of vital questions about human cultures stretching back 10,000 years. After spending most of its long history curating artifacts and keeping visitors from destroying the ruins, the park now has two archeologists on staff and deep questions to explore. But few casual visitors realize that after dozing in the scientific shade for a century, the monument researchers now find themselves perched with a view of vital questions about human cultures stretching back 10,000 years. After spending most of its long history curating artifacts and keeping visitors from destroying the ruins, the park now has two archeologists on staff and deep questions to explore.

- Field School Positions Still Open for Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Field School: There are still a few spaces available in the Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Field School, a new and innovative course that uses cutting edge scientific tools in a collaborative research project with Tongva/Gabrielino tribal members, the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. Beginning June 22, 2008 and ending July 25, 2008, the field school provides students with practical working knowledge of survey, excavation, lab and cataloging methods while immersing them in the 9,000 years of prehistoric martime history of the Tongva/Gabrielino nation. Students will also learn about how to apply cultural resource
laws to public sector archaeological work. Situated just off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina Island was historically an important trading supply outpost for Southern California and beyond. The field school is part of the on-going Pimu Catalina Island Archaeological Project (PCIAP), which is working to assess and protect archaeological sites on Catalina. Although the website states that registration deadlines have passed, contact Wendy Teeter at or at (310) 825- 1864 if you would like to participate. Please see the website for more information:

- Colorado Rock Art Association Symposium to be Held May 1-4 in La Junta CO: The CRAA Symposium 2008 will convene in La Junta, CO in the Kiva at the Koshare Indian Museum May 2-4, 2008. The museum, to which symposium participants will have
free access, houses “a world-class collection of Native American art and artifacts,” focusing on “Plains and Pueblo tribes who inhabited the Great Plains and Southwestern United States.” The weekend will be filled with a diversity of activities. On Thursday May 1st the Pueblo Archaeological and Historical Society will host Dr. Larry Loendorfs’ lecture titled “Pigments of the Imagination: Rock Paintings in Canyon de Chelly, AZ” at the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library. Friday May 2nd join us for a performance by the Koshare Indian Dancers and dessert in the Kiva. The CRAA Education Committee will sponsor “The Key to Preserving and Protecting Rock Art is the Education of Today’s Youth,” at the La Junta Intermediate School on Friday afternoon. Contact Eileen Gose to volunteer (719) 676-3249 or via email:

- A Pilot's View of Intaglios and Geoglyphs: A few years after Charles Lindbergh flew his Spirit of St. Louis from New York to France, another pilot flying along the Colorado River first noticed giant drawings on the desert floor north of Blythe, California. One of the earth figures measured 176 feet in length. Since then, more than two-hundred images have been discovered along the river from Nevada to the Gulf of California. All told, six-hundred-plus geoglyphs have been recorded in the Southwest and nearby areas of Mexico.

- Dibé Nitsaa Sheep & Wool Days Weaving Workshop Schedule Now Available: May 16, 2008 Teec Nos Pos Chapter House, AZ. For more information please contact Roy Kady at or call (928) 656-3498. Also visit us online at

- CT Scanner used to Study Juvenile Wooly Mammoth: The frozen body of a baby woolly mammoth discovered last year in Arctic Russia has provided the first detailed internal look at a prehistoric mammal, scientists report. The remarkably preserved mammoth calf is named Lyuba after the wife of the hunter who found the 37,000-year-old carcass in the remote Yamalo-Nenetsk region in May 2007. - National Geographic

- Public Archaeology at Elden Pueblo: Elden Pueblo, located on the eastern slope of Mount Elden in Flagstaff is one of very few sites in Arizona where the general public can work alongside professional archaeologists to actually excavate and analyze artifacts of an ancient pueblo civilization. The Elden Pueblo Archaeological Project is a cooperative effort between the Coconino National Forest, Northern Arizona University, Arizona Natural History Association and Arizona Archaeological Society, bringing to life story and culture of the Sinagua People who lived in the Flagstaff area between 700–1300. - The Anthem Daily Sprawl
Note - Article presents inaccurate contact information for this project, see - National Forest Service

- Chino Valley Residents Working Towards a New Musuem: Kay Jones always knew she enjoyed studying and reading about American history, but, for years, full-time jobs in the aviation industry kept her from fully pursuing an ingrained passion. Today the 71-year-old Southern California native, retired since 2000, is thoroughly enjoying her role as president of the most recent version of the Chino Valley Historical Society, which became incorporated in 2004. Although the society presently has no bricks-and-mortar museum for its archives, it's working feverishly toward the goal behind the efforts of Jones, a Chino Valley resident. - Chino Valley Review

- Interview on Pre-Clovis Oregon Finds on the Archaeology Channel: Whether Clovis Culture at 13,000 cal. B.P. represents the first human migrants to the Americas has been hotly debated for decades, but a new discovery from Oregon appears to document the human presence firmly a full millennium before Clovis. The archaeologist who recovered the new evidence tells the story directly from the find-site at Paisley Caves in Finding Pre-Clovis Humans in the Oregon High Desert: An Interview with Dennis Jenkins, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

- Employment Opportunity: Thee Utah State Historic Preservation Office has reopened our Vernal SHPO posting until April 22, 2008.This is a really fantastic opportunity. The position will essentially be an on the ground SHPO in the Vernal BLM field office, an office with a huge and interesting array of archaeological and historical sites and a diverse set of projects. The position includes money beyond the salary to assist with housing in Vernal. The person would not necessarily have to reside in Vernal, but instead could simply commute 3-4 days a week. There would be huge flexibility in how the person could approach the job. We anticipate that basic case review might involve no more than 1-2 days per week (depending on the week of course) with substantial time to work proactively on better ways to find, evaluate, manage, and preserve sites in the Vernal area. Working along with the BLM, the person could have a tremendous positive impact on the management, preservation, and public interpretation of the fantastic archaeological record in the Vernal area. We have now extended the opening to qualified persons with a BA in Anthropology/ Archaeology or a related field.

- Pecos Conference Website Now Online:

Thanks to Brian Kenny and Suzanne Jamison for contributions to today's newsletter.