Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Excavation Blogs, New Early Dates for Maize in Mexico, Post Fieldwork Catch-Up

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

- University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Opportunities at Homol'ovi Creating a Live Journal Blog: The Homol’ovi Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program or HUROP is an archaeological research project at the Homol’ovi Ruins State Park in northeastern Arizona. College students from all over the country participate in excavations at an archaeological site and then share what they are learning with the public. This blog is an example of this process.

- UCLA Presents Excavation Blogs from Fourteen Field Research Programs: UCLA’s archaeology institute and its study abroad office have teamed up to send students to field digs around the world. They’ll excavate mummies in Chile’s Atacama Desert, comb the jungle near the remains of an Indian village in Panama, and map ancient graves in Albania. Best of all, these intrepid Bruins, some of their field advisers and students joining the digs from other colleges will send back dispatches about their adventures throughout the month of July. The Summer Digs blog will feature their travel notes here, thanks to the collaboration among the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA’s International Education Office, UCLA Magazine and UCLA Today.

- Recent Findings On the Domestication of Maize may Push Domestication back to 8000 BCE: The ancestors of maize originally grew wild in Mexico and were radically different from the plant that is now one of the most important crops in the world. While the evidence is clear that maize was first domesticated in Mexico, the time and location of the earliest domestication and dispersal events are still in dispute. Now, in addition to more traditional macrobotanical and archeological remains, scientists are using new genetic and microbotanical techniques to distinguish domesticated maize from its wild relatives as well as to identify ancient sites of maize agriculture. These new analyses suggest that maize may have been domesticated in Mexico as early as 10,000 years ago.

- Utah State University Plans to Open Cultural Resource Management Firm and Offer Masters Program in Archaeology and CRM: Utah State University is taking steps to launch a master’s degree concentration in archeology and cultural resource management — a growing field, particularly in Utah. On Friday, the USU Board of Trustees unanimously supported the program, which would be housed in the Department of Sociology, Social Work & Anthropology. The State Board of Regents must still vote on the degree.

- Unearthing an Ancient City: The white-colored outlines of rectangular shapes could very well be the markings of a construction site, albeit one that was undertaken more than 700 years ago. “You see the artifacts on the surface, that lets us know we have a site,” said Debbie Swartz, an archaeologist with Desert Archaeology. Those outlines mark the walls of a Hohokam pit house, part of an ancient city that was uncovered by archaeologists in mid-April at the site of a major road and park project in Marana.
http://www.cdarc.org/page/5d45 - Northwest Explorer

- Utah Reexamines Cultural Heritage Tourism: Cultural heritage tourism has become one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism market. More and more tourists are seeking out places where history, local culture and home-grown flavor come together to make them unique. "Studies by the Travel Industry of America show that it is the No. 1 reason people travel — especially people in the 35-54 age group," says Wilson Martin, Utah State historic preservation officer and a member of the state's Cultural Heritage Council.

- New Issue of Crow Canyon E-Newsletter: This e-mail is to inform you that the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s e-Newsletter is out. Our feature story, “Investigation of Belt-Loop Road Begins,” explains that Crow Canyon researchers will be investigating an ancient road—part of the largest known road network in southwestern Colorado—as part of Phase II of the six-year Goodman Point Archaeological Project. Also in this issue: The “Pueblo Farming Project Update” detailing the planting of four gardens as part of our Pueblo Farming Project, a collaborative project designed to help Crow Canyon researchers understand ancestral Pueblo Indian agricultural practices.

- Grant Opportunity in Historic Preservation: The James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation will award a research grant up to $25,000 to midcareer professionals who have an advanced or professional degree and at least 10 years experience in historic preservation or related fields, including architecture, landscape architecture, architectural conservation, urban design, environmental planning, archaeology, architectural history, and the decorative arts. Additional smaller grants, up to $10,000, are made at the discretion of the Trustees. The grants are intended to support projects of innovative original research or creative design that advance the practice of historic preservation in the U.S. The application deadline is September 19, 2008. Contact: Erin Tobin, Executive Director, at info@fitchfoundation.org

- California Series in Public Anthropology Offers Contest Funding Publication for two Books: The University of California Press, in association with the Center for a Public Anthropology, is sponsoring two international competitions focused on encouraging anthropologically inclined authors to address major public problems and broad audiences. Both competitions will award book contracts at early stages in the research/writing process. The hope is that anauthor, knowing that he or she has a book contract in hand prior to conducting research or writing a manuscript, will move beyond academic styles and write about a major public concern in a manner that non-academics find valuable.

- Clarification of the Law and Archaeological Impacts of Collecting Projectile Points: Arecent reader submission to The Spectrum's editorial department raised several questions regarding the legality and practice of the collection of prehistoric artifacts - specifically, gathering arrowheads from the ground surface. We hope to offer readers some clarity regarding this issue. Federal law prohibits removing arrowheads or any other cultural resources from public land under penalty of law for theft. Even though the 1979 Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) exempted arrowheads from the penalties section, there are many other laws that prohibit collection of any cultural artifacts.
http://www.cdarc.org/page/cu3i - The Spectrum

- Reminder: There is still time to register for the Pecos Conference.

- Travelogue, Leaving Sedona for Authentic Ancient Places: It seemed that Sedona, Ariz., had received too much advance publicity when we visited earlier this year. The hype - "a mesmerizing experience," "breathtaking monoliths," "spectacular scenery," "the most beautiful setting in America," "a once in a lifetime experience" - made it sound like an instant Venture Bound story, but it was hard to get a handle on what to say about it. We found our story south of Sedona at Montezuma Well and Montezuma Castle. Leaving Interstate 17, we followed another car five miles over a winding dusty road, always managing to stay far enough behind so we could see the road, but not far enough to keep our rental car from becoming coated with a thick layer of dust.

- (Mesoamerica) Mayan Settlement in Puuc Region may be Much Older than Previously Believed: he classic Maya were part of a Central American civilization best known for stepped pyramids, beautiful carvings and murals and the widespread abandonment of cities around 900 A.D. in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador, leaving the Maya only the northern lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula. The conventional wisdom of this upheaval is that many Maya moved north at the time of this collapse, also colonizing the hilly "Puuc" region of the Yucatan for a short while, until those new cities collapsed as well. But that story of the Maya is wrong, suggests archaeologist George Bey of Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., who is co-leading an investigation of the abandoned city of Kiuic with Mexican archaeologist Tomas Gallareta of Mexico's National Institute of Archaeology and History. "Our work indicates that instead the Puuc region was occupied for almost 2,000 years before the collapse in the south," says Bey, by e-mail.
http://www.cdarc.org/page/97ft - USA Today

- (Mesoamerica) Engineer Examines Ancient Musical Instruments: Scientists were fascinated by the ghostly find: a human skeleton buried in an Aztec temple with a clay, skull-shaped whistle in each bony hand. But no one blew into the noisemakers for nearly 15 years. When someone finally did, the shrill, windy screech made the spine tingle. If death had a sound, this was it. Roberto Velazquez believes the Aztecs played this mournful wail from the so-called Whistles of Death before they were sacrificed to the gods.
http://www.cdarc.org/page/jwxv - AP, via Wired

- Employment Opportunity (Tucson): The Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (http://www.ltrr.arizona.edu ) at The University of Arizona, Tucson, seeks applicants for a Curator of Collections. Possible areas of specialization include dendrochronology, anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, natural science curation, or related fields. We seek a scholar with a strong record of research or creative scholarship and experience in scientific collections management. Applicant review begins 01 August 2008, for an expected start date of 01 January 2009, and continues until position is filled. Candidates will need to fill an on-line application, attach a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, publication(s), and names and contact information for three referees at http://www.uacareertrack.com/. For further information, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Dean at jdean|@|ltrr.arizona.edu. The University of Arizona is an EEO/AA - M/W/V/D.

- Employment Opportunity (Washington DC Metro Area): The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Seeks an Archaeologist or Historic Preservation Specialist. This position serves as a Liaison to the Army from the ACHP. The United States Department of the Army (Army) carries out a wide array of land management activities that affect historic properties in a wide variety of ways. The Army Liaison serves on the ACHP staff as a point of contact for handling program review activities under the Army Program Manager.

Thanks to Brian Kenny and Gerald Kelso for Contributions to Today's Newsletter