Friday, May 30, 2008

Oil Drilling and Ancient Sites in Nine Mile Canyon, Rio Nuevo Museums Delayed Again

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

- More on the Oil Drilling in Nine Mile Canyon: Along Utah's Nine Mile Canyon lies what some call the longest art gallery in the world - thousands of prehistoric rock carvings and paintings of bighorn sheep and other wildlife, hunters wielding spears, and warriors engaged in hand-to-hand combat. But now, a dramatic increase in natural gas drilling is proposed on the plateau above the canyon, and preservationists fear trucks will kick up dust that will cover over the images.

- Director of Art Institute of Chicago Argues that Partage is more Important than Patrimony: In an already controversial new book out later this month, "Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage," author James Cuno argues for a return to the idea of "partage." The term refers to the system that persisted for many years in which foreign-led experts — typically Europeans and Americans — worked with locals to excavate antiquities in countries like Iraq and Egypt. Some of the material went to local museums, but much of the rest ended up in the museums in the experts' home countries.|

- Public Meeting on Traditional Cultural Property Designation for Mt. Taylor to be Held June 14th. A public meeting to reconsider the emergency nomination of Mount Taylor as a Traditional Cultural Property will take place June 14 at in the Cibola County Convention Room. The state's Cultural Properties Review Committee is holding a regularly scheduled meeting, set to start at 10:30 a.m. The discussion and vote on the mountain's emergency listing is item number nine on the agenda. The Mount Taylor portion is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.. That item includes a summary of comments of the Feb. 22 special meeting, witness presentations and public comments.

- Tucson Origins Heritage Park Delayed Again: The projects that were set for groundbreaking were the mission and an underground parking garage. Hein postponed the start of work, he said, because the layout of the site is not resolved and only the University Science Center and the Arizona State Museum, which will be in one building, are in the design process. "There is no halt to the project. But you do not build a parking garage without knowing how you're going to pay for it. Yes, we will have TIF (tax increment financing) money for sure, but there will also be license agreements with museums for a certain number of spaces. We're looking at retail, a restaurant," Hein said. "You don't want an empty garage with no revenues to pay for it, and you don't want a convento with nothing else there."

- Reminder, Discussion of Coronado and Colonial History Offered In Tucson: The Center for Desert Archaeology is pleased to invite you to a special evening with historian Richard Flint and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz. Richard and Tony will discuss and sign their new books on European exploration of North America at the Tucson Botanical Gardens on Saturday, May 31st, 2008.

- Documentary will Highlight Kanab Earthfest: From early pottery making by the Anasazi to the grandeur of condors, documentary films, and learning about southern Utah's cultural heritage and resource management, there was something for everyone at Amazing Earthfest in Kanab. For the second year in a row, Kanab, Kane County Travel Council and area businesses joined forces to sponsor the free event highlighting the splendor, history and resources of Colorado Plateau public lands, with their many state and national parks.

- First Ancient New World City is the Topic of a New Video on the Archaeology Channel: Recent research shows that the earliest phase of Andean Civilization took place simultaneously with earliest stages of civilization on the Old World. This remarkable phenomenon and its manifestation at the ancient city of Caral in Peru are described in Caral Supe: The Oldest Civilization in the Americas, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel

Tour Opportunity: Pima Community College and Old Pueblo Archaeology Center are sponsoring the "Mimbres Ruins, Rock Art, and Museums of Southern New Mexico" (ST585) study tour: Friday June 20 through Tuesday June 24, 2008. Registered Professional Archaeologist Allen Dart leads this comprehensive tour to southwestern New Mexico's Silver City area to visit Classic Mimbres pueblo ruins, Early Mogollon village archaeological sites, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, spectacular petroglyph sites, and a museum with one of the world's finest collections of Mimbres Puebloan pottery.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones Nonsense Overwhelms Newsfeeds

Editor's note: No Southwestern Archaeology News today, as the news feeds are carrying nothing but Indiana Jones drivel.

Two related stories did pop up that are worth sharing as they reflect the ethics embodied in the Hollywood portrays archaeology:

- Priceless Artifacts Stolen from University of British Columbia Museum: Mystery surrounds the details of a brazen weekend heist at UBC's Museum of Anthropology. And so far it's got all the makings of a lively tale of crime, intrigue and stolen cultural treasure. It began overnight Friday when high-end gold artifacts created by famed Haida artist Bill Reid were spirited away from the University of B.C. museum, long believed to be impenetrable to thieves. - Vancouver Province

- Director of Art Institute of Chicago Argues for "Partage" over Repatriation: In an already controversial new book out later this month, "Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle for Our Ancient Heritage," author James Cuno argues for a return to the idea of "partage." The term refers to the system that persisted for many years in which foreign-led experts -- typically Europeans and Americans -- worked with locals to excavate antiquities in countries like Iraq and Egypt. Some of the material went to local museums, but much of the rest ended up in the museums in the experts' home countries. But the system has been supplanted by conventions and national laws designed to keep antiquities in their home countries. Cuno, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, argues the changes have been harmful.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

NSF's Answer to Indiana Jones, Tony Horwitz to Speak in Tucson

- From Reel to Real - National Science Foundation Responds to Indian Jones with a Detailed Website: As audiences around the world eagerly await the opening of the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones film saga on May 22, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched a special report on its Web site that illustrates where the real world of archaeology diverges from the "reel" world, as well as where they infrequently intersect.. NSF-supported archeologists do discover "lost cities." They try to figure out what happened to "vanished civilizations" and whether what caused their collapse may have relevance to contemporary problems. They seek rare and precious artifacts that tell important stories about the past, even if those artifacts are minute snails and the scrapings of ancient teeth and not golden idols. They "deal with Native peoples," though with respect, as partners in the process of learning about the past, rather than with weapons. And certainly, as is jokingly noted in the latest Indian Jones adventure, teaching is an important part of what they do.

- (Related Story) Center for Desert Archaeology's Research Highlighted by National Science Foundation: While the problems Jones faces may not be inconsequential, the structure of good storytelling tends to point the hero toward the light at the end of the tunnel. And even if the tunnel is filled with Nazis and other villains who need to be overcome, the goal, usually a single relic or artifact, almost always is in sight, which is a big help to the audience that has to follow the tale. For real-life archaeologist Jeffery Clark, one of his biggest professional challenges was approached from the opposite direction. To Clark, an NSF-funded researcher at the Center for Desert Archaeology in Tucson, Ariz., the "what" was obvious: sometime between 1300 and 1450—long before Europeans and accompanying diseases arrived—at least 50,000 people "disappeared" from the desert Southwest of the United States.

- A Dissuasion of Coronado and Colonial History Offered In Tucson: The Center for Desert Archaeology is pleased to invite you to a special evening with historian Richard Flint and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz. Richard and Tony will discuss and sign their new books on European exploration of North America at the Tucson Botanical Gardens on Saturday, May 31st, 2008.

- Historic Preservationists Honored In Nevada: Supporters of the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas and the old St. Charles Hotel in Carson City were among those honored for their contributions to the state's historic preservation efforts. State officials presented awards to groups and individuals at weekend ceremonies in Overton and Virginia City. "We are all grateful for what they have done to maintain our quality of life through preservation of Nevada's heritage," said Ron James, the state's historic preservation officer. - Las Vegas Sun

- Slate of Indiana Jones Related Stories Continues:

-- He's no Harrison Ford, but 'Utah Jones' holds his own in archaeology:

-- Archaeology professors and students get inspiration and a few chuckles from the "Indiana Jones" movies:

-- Can you dig it? - Professor: Glamor of screen role overstated:

-- Just because she is an archeologist does not mean she carries a whip and fights Nazis like Indiana Jones:

-- Modern day Indiana Joneses dig in:

-- Indiana Jones and the Real-Life Archaeologist:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Route 66 Preservation. Interactive History of Las Vegas, Forest Service Preservation

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

- New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici Introduces Legislation for Additional Preservation of Route 66: Judging that a federal program to preserve parts of historic Route 66 is helping breathe new life into rural America, Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., has introduced legislation to ensure its continuation for another decade. Domenici has introduced the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Reauthorization Act of 2008 that would renew until 2019 a National Park Service program. That program is now being used by communities and organizations to restore and preserve unique cultural resources along the 2,200-mile Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif.

- The History of Las Vegas - An Interactive Multi-Media Presentation: The Las Vegas Sun has unveiled a rich multimedia chronicle of the city’s history, from its humble birth as a railroad stop to its present-day status as the entertainment capital of the world. The project, “History of Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada,” began as an idea to show a historical interactive timeline of the Strip casinos. “We started this project with a relatively small game plan and a quick timetable in mind,” said Andy Samuelson, the Sun’s new media special projects editor. “But the more research we did, the more we realized that in order to do a history project on Las Vegas the right way, you’ve got to include a lot of material.” - Interactive Program - Project background, by the Las Vegas Sun

- National Trust for Historic Preservation Expresses Concern over US Forest Service Stewardship of Historic Sites: National forests have at least 325,000 historic sites hiding among their trees, and most of them are at risk because of a lack of money at the Forest Service, according to a national preservation group. “Thousands of significant landscapes, structures and sites — places that record important chapters in America’s story — are in danger of being lost forever,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The group released its 52-page national report Thursday in Denver. - Cortez Journal

- Mesa Verde Threatened by Air Polution: A national conservation group lists Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park as one of 10 national parks most threatened by existing and proposed coal fired power plants. The National Parks Conservation Commission says coal-fired plants in New Mexico and Arizona are the largest sources of pollutants — such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides — in Mesa Verde. It says the pollutants harm the park's ancient Pueblo structures. The commission says a new coal plant is under development about 45 miles from the park and three others are proposed within 190 miles of the park. - Denver Post.

- An Archaeological Education 'Headache' at Cal State Long Beach: As of the beginning of next semester, the anthropology department will no longer be accepting master's students interested in specializing in archaeology - not for a lack of interest, but because of what the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) calls "off course" instructing from professors. According to CLA Associate Dean Mark Wiley, no classes have been cut from the archaeology and the only changes that have taken place have been a temporary halt to admitting students interested in archaeology on a master's level. There are talks about archaeology moving to the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics or partnering with other departments. - Daily 49'er

- Documentary Presentation on WWII Interment Camps this Saturday (Chandler, Az): On May 24 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m, an award-winning documentary, "Lessons in Loyalty: One American's Internment Camp Experience," will be shown and discussed at the McCullough-Price House. This is a free presentation open to the public. "Lessons In Loyalty" focuses on an often-overlooked chapter in the history of World War II – the Roosevelt administration's decision to allow more than 100,000 Japanese Americans to be placed into Federal custody on ten internment camps across the western United States. The presentation combines in-depth interviews with archival pictures and footage to explore the internment camps and the personal story of one of the individuals – Mas Inoshita – who was placed in one of the camps located 15 miles south of Chandler. 300 S. Chandler Village Drive, on the southwest side of the Chandler Fashion Center. For more information on the McCullough-Price House, call (480) 782-2876.

Thanks to Brian Kenny for contributions to Today's Newsletter.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Balancing Preservation and Development, Endangered Sites In Arizona

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

- The Economist Points to Land Developers Finding a Successful Balance Between Development and Archaeological Preservation: Under Utah law developers are under no obligation to preserve, or even reveal the existence of, archaeological remains. Work is supposed to stop if human remains are discovered, but only for a few days. Even this modest law may be widely flouted. Kevin Jones, the state archaeologist, says many developers believe the discovery of bones will lead to the state or an Indian tribe seizing private land. Fearing that, some will probably order the bulldozers quietly to bury what they unearth. Yet this is beginning to change. Milo McCowan, who owns the 280-acre plot near Kanab, plans to preserve virtually all the archaeological remains he finds. Houses will skirt the richest sites, where digs will continue for decades. Aside from the inherent interest of the remains, this is a handy way of making the development different from thousands of similar ones in the West. In a fast-growing area where many buyers lack roots, a bit of local history may help sales.

- Arizona Preservation Foundation seeking Arizona's Most Endangered Places: The Arizona Preservation Foundation is accepting nominations for its 2008 list of Arizona's Most Endangered Historic Places. Compiled by preservation professionals and historians, the list identifies critically endangered properties of major historical or archaeological significance to the state. Properties selected for the Most Endangered Historic Places list will receive the Foundations assistance in developing support to remove the threat. The list will be announced at the 6th Annual Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, June 12-14, 2008 in Rio Rico, AZ. - Yahoo News

- Travelogue - Canyon De Chelly: “People visit Canyon de Chelly for the scenery, history and the chance to learn about Navajo culture,” said Rosanda Bahe, motel supervisor for Thunderbird Lodge, the only lodging facility inside Canyon de Chelly National Monument. “The mood here is tranquil, and it doesn’t seem to take our guests long to adapt to the slower pace of the canyon.”

- Employment Opportunity: Southwest Archaeological Consultants is hiring archaeologists for various field projects beginning immediately. Work is in and around Santa Fe and outside Grants, New Mexico. Most projects are excavation, with some survey identified for the rest of the year. For the immediate projects outside Grants, NM, housing is provided in the field as the area is remote; the daily food allowance is$30.00/day. Wages are based on experience, with a sliding scale of $10.50 to 13.00 for archaeologist positions. Please forward a resume, complete with references, to Southwest Archaeological Consultants, P.O. Box 5586, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87502. Your resume and references also can be sent by electronic mail to

- Employment Opportunity: The Quemado Ranger District of the Gila National Forest is filling a term archaeologist position. The position would last at least 13 months and be located in Quemado, New Mexico. The vacancy announcement is ADS08-R3-GIL-1065D (P-CL) for an Archeologist, GS-0193-11 position. The scheduled open date is 05/14/2008 and the close date is 06/11/2008. Upon the open date the announcement will be accessible at or, in addition to Applications must be submitted electronically through Avue Digital Services (see link above) by June 11th. You can attach your resume/CV in Avue - please do not email it. If you have any questions about this position please contact Kyra Walton at or 575-773-4678. Government housing is available- please contact Kyra for further details.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

National Geographic Recognizes Chaco Canyon, Pueblo Glaze, and Pueblo Gardens

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

- National Geographic Declares Chaco Canyon one of 50 "Tours of a Lifetime:" National Geographic Traveler magazine has selected a high-end Chaco Canyon camping tour as one of the publication's annual "50 Tours of a Lifetime." The tour, Southwest Safari Camps at Chaco Canyon, is one of three adventure trips within the United States, and 50 within the world, included in the publication's May/June issue. The magazine calls its selections, which include tours in North Korea and Antarctica, the "most transformative, sustainable, and authentic experiences" in global guided tours. Norie Quintos, a senior editor at Traveler, said the staff chose the Chaco Canyon tour on the recommendations of travel experts as well as those who had been on the trip.

- Crow Canyon to Honor Ancient Agriculture of the Four Corners with Traditional Puebloan Gardens: On May 27 and 28, Pueblo men at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center will plant corn, beans and squash in the style of their ancestors, who lived in what is now southwestern Colorado until the late 13th century. Some of the many thousands of dwellings, villages, fields and other sites the ancients left behind when they moved on to points south include those in Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, Mesa Verde National Park and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

- Puebloan Glazeware Subject of May Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Meeting: The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society will present a lecture featuring Deborah Huntley, preservation archaeologist at the Center for Desert Archaeology. She will discuss "A Gaze at Glaze: What Glaze-decorated Pottery Reveals about Pueblo IV Social Dynamics." The free lecture will be 7:30 to 9 p.m. May 19, at University Medical Center, 1501 N Campbell Ave., in the DuVal Auditorium. For more information, call (520) 577-6079.

- Research at the Oldest Site in the Phoenix Basin Subject of This Month's Third Thursday Lecture at Old Pueblo Archaeology: Thursday May 15, 2008, "The Challenges of Investigating and Interpreting the Oldest Known Site in the Phoenix Basin" with archaeologist A. E. "Gene" Rogge, Ph.D., at Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, 5100 W. Ina Road Bldg. 8 (northwestern Tucson metro area). 7:30 to 9 p.m. Lecture is free to the public and no reservations are needed. 520-798-1201 or

- Thoughts on Living within the Landscapes of a Shared Past: Speakers to discuss “Growing Up in Montezuma Creek” at the Anasazi heritage center Bruce Hucko and Donna Deyle, creators of the current exhibit “A Gesture of Kinship” at the Anasazi Heritage Center, will share their experiences and perspectives in the museum theater at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. Museum admission will be free throughout the day. A reception and a celebration of Montezuma Creek, the community featured in this exhibit, will begin at 1:00 p.m.

- Hyperspectral Imagery the Archaeology of Ancient Mexico: Satellite imagery obtained from NASA will help archeologist Bill Middleton peer into the ancient Mexican past. In a novel archeological application, multi- and hyperspectral data will help build the most accurate and most detailed landscape map that exists of the southern state of Oaxaca, where the Zapotec people formed the first state-level and urban society in Mexico.

- Teenage Looters Use Human Remains for Drug Paraphernalia: hree Kingwood teens have been arrested and accused of digging up a secluded grave and removing a skull in Humble, a city north of Houston. Teens from Kingwood, told Houston police that around March 15 they and a 16-year old juvenile dug up a grave, removed the skull from the coffin and converted it into a "bong," a device used to smoke marijuana, according to court documents.

- Chinese Cultural Heritage Subject of the Latest Video on the Archaeology Channel: The remarkable cultural heritage of China, one of the world’s great and most ancient civilizations, is manifest in numerous magnificent buildings and architectural complexes, many of which are threatened by modern development or are in decay. The modern response to these threats provides some reason for hope, as shown in Saving Asia’s Treasures: Foguang Temple, Shanxi, China, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

- Everybody Loves a Good Adventure Flick, but You Know the Crystal Skulls are a Hoax, Right? Along with superstars like Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, and Shia LaBeouf, the newest Indiana Jones movie promises to showcase one of the most enigmatic classes of artifacts known to archaeologists, crystal skulls that first surfaced in the 19th century and that specialists attributed to various "ancient Mesoamerican" cultures. In this article, Smithsonian anthropologist Jane MacLaren Walsh shares her own adventures analyzing the artifacts that inspired Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (in theaters May 22), and details her efforts tracking down a mysterious "obtainer of rare antiquities" who may have held the key to the origin of these exotic objects.

- Employment Opportunity, GIS Specialist: Alpine Archaeological Consultants, Inc. (Alpine) is a small business that engages solely in contracted cultural resource studies throughout the Rocky Mountain West, Great Basin, and Southwestern states. Alpine has an immediate opening for a GIS Specialist/Director. This individual will serve as a supervisor in our records division out of our Montrose, Colorado office. The successful candidate is highly motivated individual with experience in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) and with GIS/GPS equipment and programs. Please send your vitae or resume outlining education, previous experience, and all relevant qualifications, as well as a minimum of three references and a letter of interest by e-mail to Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled.

- Employment Opportunity: Project Director, Phoenix or Prescott, Arizona. In this midlevel salaried position that offers advancement opportunities in a growing ACRA-member firm, you will develop and run archaeological projects in Arizona and other Western states. You'll receive health and leave-time benefits, as well as cash bonuses for productivity, performance, and academic publication. You must be fit, resourceful, dedicated, organized, advance-degreed, and an outstanding writer. You must also be able to communicate deftly with clients, agencies, tribes, subordinates, and colleagues. You must be a Registered Professional Archaeologist, or qualified to become one upon hire. Salary range is $36,000 to $45,000/year, depending on marketability of successful candidate’s skillset. Contact Tom Motsinger,

Friday, May 9, 2008

New Mexico BLM Sabotages Preservation Law, Pottery Project at Arizona State Museum

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

- New Mexico BLM Turns Preservation Law Inside Out; Gives Oil and Gas Developers Options to Fund Excavations on Known Sites Rather than Archaeological Survey to Assess Potential Impacts: Under the new agreement, oil and gas developers who participate in the voluntary program will not have to pay for a survey but they will be required to pay a special fee that will go toward excavation and other research. The BLM expects to raise about $1 million a year. Much of the area has been surveyed over the years. In fact, nearly 12,000 surveys have been done and officials are confident that more than 70 percent of the cultural sites in the area have been recorded. Fosberg said the agency has been very good at documenting these sites and avoiding them during oil and gas development. However, not much is known about the sites themselves, making it difficult for the agency to manage them accordingly.

- Related Post:

- The Pottery Project Debuts this Saturday at the Arizona State Museum: On May 10, 2008 Arizona State Museum is opening its newest exhibition, The Pottery Project. At some 20,000 whole vessels, ASM’s collection of Southwest Indian pottery is the world’s largest and most comprehensively documented. Museum patrons will be able to explore a prototype of the Virtual Vault, a digital artifact browser under development by the Center for Desert Archaeology. Arizona State Museum’s public celebration for The Pottery Project is Saturday, May 10, 2008 from 1–4 p.m. In addition to guided tours through the exhibit and conservation laboratory, there will be hands-on pottery-making activities and demonstrations by Native potters. Free and open to the public. Free garage parking at Euclid/Second and Tyndall/Fourth.

- Debate on North American Pleistocene Comet Impact Continues: Stuart Fiedel from the Louis Berger Group, a private archaeological firm in Richmond, Virginia, argued that the theory fails to address some major questions—like how comet blasts could have wiped out woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats in North America, while leaving humans unscathed. "If this [impact] was powerful enough to fricassee mammoths and mastodons and short-faced bears and other big fauna that were on the landscape, you would think that it would have decimated the human population as well—not only by direct thermal shock but by wiping out much of their food source," said Fiedel, who presented his criticisms of the theory to a packed crowd.

- Dating on Organic Remains Confirms Pre-Clovis Occupations in North and South America: Remains of meals that included seaweed are helping confirm the date of a settlement in southern Chile that may offer the earliest evidence of humans in the Americas. Researchers date the seaweed found at Monte Verde to more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than the well-studied Clovis culture.

- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Starts Public Planning Process: The National Park Service is undertaking a planning effort for the future of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The monument does not currently have a general management plan and a planning team has been formed to develop one with the input of other agencies, organizations, and the public. The planning effort is in the start-up or “scoping” phase of the project. The goal of this phase is to initiate public outreach as well as gather information on the resources and the socioeconomic environment of the monument. A public meeting will be held at the Silco Theater, 311 Bullard Street in Silver City, New Mexico, on Monday, June 2, at 7:00 pm. National Park Service representatives will explain the planning process and record the comments and ideas presented by participants.

- Peabody Coal, Black Mesa and Vanishing Navaho Heritage: Big Mountain, an area near Black Mesa, Ariz., used to be a place of peace and tradition, but now the land is being destroyed by the Peabody Coal Company, said Allen Cooper, a former member of the Big Mountain Support Committee. Cooper said the Navajo land has no electricity or water, and the people there provide for themselves. The land also happens to be extremely rich in strippable coal. Bahe Katenay, spokeswoman for the tribe, said people of Big Mountain have lost part of their simple traditions and culture. The way of life on the mountain has changed because the effect of having a coal-mining operation near the land has left a large portion industrialized. New Mexico Daily Lobo

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Long Distance Turquoise Trade, More on Sunflower Domestication

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

- Neutron Activation Reveals Mayan Turquoise Sources in New Mexico: Many visitors to the American South West come back with turquoise jewellery: the Native American people of Arizona and New Mexico exploited local sources, and modern craftsmen have developed a prosperous industry. Thirty years ago the archaeological scientists Garman Harbottle and Edward Sayre used neutron activation analysis to show that turquoise mosaics from Mexico, found as far away as the great Maya city of Chichén Itzá in Yucatan and dating back to around AD900, used raw material originating in the Cerrillos mines between Albuquerque and Santa Fe in New Mexico, an overland distance of some 3,200 km (2,000 miles).

- Correction/Update on May 1 Story about Sunflower Domestication. SAT readers have pointed to a reference that indicates this study may be based upon an incorrect species identification…." I have concluded that my initial verification of a specimen recovered from the San Andrés archaeological site in Mexico as domesticated sunflower was incorrect. The specimen in question is most likely the seed of a bottle gourd. As yet there is no compelling evidence that the sunflower was grown as a food crop in Mexico prior to European contact. In addition, the complete absence of any early historical record for the sunflower in Mexico argues against its presence in pre-Columbian times." Heiser, Charles B. ( 2008), The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) in Mexico: further evidence for a North American domestication. Genet Resour Crop Evol 55:9-13. Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

- Passing of Bruce Andersen: Passing of Bruce Anderson - Bruce A. Anderson, former Southwest Region archaeologist, passed away on April 8, 2008, in Crawford, Colorado. He was 68 years old. Bruce received both B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from the University of Colorado/Boulder. He began doctoral work at Washington State University before accepting a position as archaeologist with the NPS in 1972. Though he worked and resided in Santa Fe during most of his career, Bruce traveled far and wide, working on archaeological projects and detail assignments from Hawaii to Washington, D.C., and from El Salvador to Colorado. His major career accomplishment was a seven-season field survey project at Wupatki NM. In 1991, he transferred to Wupatki NM and spent the remaining four years of his career as the park resources management specialist. Bruce retired in 1995 after 23 years of service. Bruce is survived by his life partner Jan S. Ryan. Bruce met Jan in 1983 at Wupatki NM, where she was a Ranger, and they married in 1985. Their careers took them to separate areas, but when Jan retired in 1999, they moved to Crawford, Colorado. - From Brian Kenny

- The National Park Service (NPS) and affiliated organizations are sponsoring a " Comprehensive Resource Stewardship " conference scheduled for May 20-23, 2008 at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, Arizona. We have identified a need to recruit competent volunteers to attend the conference to provide assistance monitoring rooms and concurrent sessions and to help with minor logistical issues that help make a conference run smoothly. Volunteers who provide support for two concurrent sessions or for a day's service, get to attend the conference for free. Individuals in the southern Arizona area who wish to volunteer to assist at the conference should contact me directly (or leave a message) at 602 794 3819, or via email at
- Columbia Tree Ring Study Finds Strong Environmental Impacts on Ancient Puebloans: By looking across the region, Ed Cook and colleagues at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Columbia University have pulled together a huge tree ring dataset. They've been able to use these results to map where and when drought took place. Interestingly, it was drier than today for most of the time the Anasazi flourished. But Cook's team has also shown that for several decades at a time the region became even more arid, experiencing what are sometimes described as mega-droughts, with particularly harsh periods around AD 1150 and 1250. It's clear that the Anasazi were capable of dealing with a certain degree of aridity, but it looks as though they had problems when the conditions went beyond what they were used to. - Daily Telegraph

- John Hohstadt Trail Hikes near Bullhead City: On May 7th 14th 21st and 28th the Jedediad Smith Round Table will conducted interpretive hikes on the John Hohstadt Trail on the Bullhead City (AZ) Campus of Mohave Community College. Early area history and desert ecology will be discussed. The public is invited to participate at no charge. The graveled trail is .75 miles long over moderate terrain. Hikers should bring water and sun screen, and meet at the on-campus trail head at 8 AM for the one hour presentation. For additional information contact David McDaniel at (928) 758-7643 or

- Looter Killed By His Find: Like many boys in the South, Sam White got hooked on the Civil War early, digging up rusting bullets and military buttons in the battle-scarred earth of his hometown. As an adult, he crisscrossed the Virginia countryside in search of wartime relics — weapons, battle flags, even artillery shells buried in the red clay. He sometimes put on diving gear to feel for treasures hidden in the black muck of river bottoms. But in February, White's hobby cost him his life: A cannonball he was restoring exploded, killing him in his driveway.

Thanks TO Brian Kenny, Allen Dart, Dan Austin, David McDaniel for contributions to today's newsletter.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More News on Honey Bee Village. National Preservation Month, Sun Dagger as Art

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

- Excavations Complete, the Analysis of Honey Bee Village Continues: Even though the Hohokam site known as Honey Bee Village in Oro Valley already has provided rich data, archaeologists say more surprises may be in store. "There is so much we still do not know about the Hohokam," said Henry Wallace, a senior research archaeologist at Desert Archaeology Inc. whose work on the site goes back to the mid-1980s. "Most of the really interesting stuff will come out of the analysis," Wallace said.

- (Related Story) Developer of Honey Bee Village Site Preserves a Part of the Past for the Future: The remnants of an ancient civilization will be showcased as an archaeological jewel in a modern development of luxury condos, houses, shops and restaurants in Oro Valley. The developer of Vistoso Town Center, a planned 87-acre community in Rancho Vistoso, wants to make the most of the site where a Hohokam village once thrived. "I'm very interested in archaeology and the past of the Southwest, so I was very excited to acquire a piece of land that had such a significant archaeological value," local developer Steve Solomon said.

- Artist Recreates Cachoan Sun Dagger: “Chaco Rising” is not only a work of art, it is something more: a timepiece, possibly a flash of light, and a symbol to Rio Rancho’s future - “The City of Vision.” It depicts the ancient Sun Dagger Solar Calendar at Chaco Canyon. Between 900 and 1150 A.D., Chaco Canyon located in northwestern New Mexico, was a center of culture for ancient Pueblo people. Dudding’s piece recreates the phenomena of the Sun Dagger petroglyph, which during the Summer Solstice, created a band of light that bisected the center of a rock spiral. Recently, the phenomena has been not occurring at Chaco.

- May is National Preservation Month: This May, citizens in Nevada will join thousands of individuals around the country as part of a nationwide celebration of 2008 National Preservation Month. "This Place Matters" is the theme of the month-long celebration, which is sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since the National Trust created Preservation Week in 1971 to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America, it has grown into an annual celebration observed by small towns and big cities, with events ranging from architectural and historic tours and award ceremonies, to fundraising events, educational programs and heritage travel opportunities. - Nevada Journal

- Utah Prehistory Week begins Saturday, May 3: Sometime around 10,000 B.C. the last great Ice Age came to an end. As the ice retreated, it left behind fertile lands and abundant plant life, which attracted both animals and humans. From that time to this, an unfolding story of life has played out across our valley, our state, our region.A lot can happen in 12,000 years, says assistant state archaeologist Ron Rood.,5143,695274600,00.html

- Ancient Sunflower Domestication Poses Intriguing Questions: “First of all, sunflower is one of the world's major oil seed crops and understanding its ancestry is important for modern crop-breeding purposes," Lentz says. "For a long time, we thought that sunflower was domesticated only in eastern North America, in the middle Mississippi valley — Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois. This is what traditional textbooks say. Now it appears that sunflower was domesticated independently in Mexico."

- Mississippian Archaeology in Illinois to be the Topic of the Next Pacific Coast Archaeological Society's May 8th Meeting: This lecture will feature Dr. Colleen Delaney-Rivera speaking on "Peripheries, Frontiers, and Chiefs: The Mississippian Occupation of the Lower Illinois River Valley." Meeting information: Thursday, May 8th, 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:

- Archaeology Channel Film Festival This Month: The fifth annual installment of The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival will take place May 20-24, 2008. This event, which includes a keynote address by the former Director of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, Dr. Donny George, is highlighted in TAC Festival 2008 Preview, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.