Monday, September 29, 2008

Guide to State Antiquity Law Now Online, NAGPRA Review, Archaeology Cafe 2.0

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

- National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers Publish On-Line Comprehensive Index of State and Tribal Laws Regarding Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management: In response to increasing concerns over the looting of cultural resources, including sites containing human remains and funerary objects, many states and tribes have enacted legislation and codes to protect burial sites. These laws and codes often require special treatment of burial sites and objects and many have penalties for failure to comply. This project is a compilation of existing state and tribal cultural resource laws and codes and we encourage you review, comment, and suggest additional information and web links.

- Native Leaders Support NAGPRA Review: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs leaders support a federal investigation aimed at strengthening the implementation of a top cultural preservation law involving tribes. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., plans to soon call for a report and study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office to explore federal government compliance and enforcement of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is set to join Dorgan in his call for a GAO study, according to her staff. She serves as the committee’s vice chairwoman.

- Archaeology Cafe (Tucson): Ancient Astronomy of Northern Arizona. At the Center’s second Archaeology CafĂ©, learn more about archaeoastronomer Ken Zoll's meticulous study of rock art and what it may reveal about ancient calendars and astronomical observation in the Southwest. Enjoy delicious tapas and cool beverages on the patio of Tucson’s own Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue. We meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m.; presentations begin at 6:15 p.m. This happy-hour style forum opens with a short, casual presentation, followed by questions and discussion. Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 6:00 pm on the patio at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ. Free and open to the community.

- BLM Releases New Management Plan For Public Lands in Southeastern Utah: The Bureau of Land Management is touting its plan for managing 1.8 million acres of public lands in southeastern Utah as a means to protect important environmental values and sensitive resources "while allowing for an appropriate level of development.",5143,700256859,00.html

- Kiva, the Journal of Southwestern Archaeology and History, Seeks Outstanding Works in Cultural Resource Management: In an effort to make the “gray” literature of the CRM world a little more black and white, Kiva, is instituting a new program to list outstanding CRM reports among their Book Reviews. This list will be published quarterly. In addition, the Book Reviews Editor will solicit the best and the brightest of these reports to be reviewed by experts in the field. If your company is interested in having publications listed, please contact Anna Neuzil, Kiva Book Reviews Editor at You will need to provide a bibliographic reference and short summary (no more than 100 words) for each report listed, as well as information on where each report can be obtained. This opportunity is available only to companies who practice archaeology or conduct research in the Greater Southwest. Determination of which reports are listed and reviewed is at the discretion of the Book Reviews Editor.

- AZSITE Open Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday October 22. The AZSITE Advisory Committee Open Meeting will be held on Wednesday October 22, 2008, beginning at 10am, at the State Historic Preservation Office, 1300 West Washington, Phoenix, Arizona. Room to be announced, so check the website for full details. The current "Unofficial" tentative agenda is now posted on-line.

- Casa Grande National Monument Seeks Public Comment on Visitor Center Replacement: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument hosts 90,000 visitors annually. Between 1910 and 1941, nine buildings were constructed within the known site boundaries of Compound A to house visitor services, staff and administrative functions. The Visitor Center was constructed in 1931 as an adobe block structure with detached bathroom facilities and an ornamental garden. In 2009-2011, the park will conduct analysis to determine the best use of existing space within the Visitor Center.

- New Mexico's Fort Bayard Faces an Uncertain Fate: Fort Bayard sprang to life in August of 1866 because early settlers, miners and folks trying to get across New Mexico to California were having problems with Apache Indians. The fort was build near what are today Santa Clara and Bayard. Today the 142 year-old fort faces an uncertain future. "About four years ago the department of health decided they didn't want to be a landlord anymore," sighed Bell. Heat from the hospital plant steam plant was cut off to the century old homes. "This had become a haven for all employees of Fort Bayard," she said. "The rent was cheap, their water and heat was provided. The minute you take people out of houses ... what happens? What happens when you turn off the water and heat?" The once elegant homes are rotting. The laughter of children has been replaced by the sound of gnawing rats. "Decay, deterioration ... if something breaks, it doesn't get fixed," Bell said. - Las Cruces Sun News

- Research and Archaeology of Historic Downtown San Diego: For the past five summers, San Diego State anthropology students have been rewriting San Diego County's history. Their main accomplishment has been correcting the story of local legend Nate Harrison, San Diego's first African-American resident. Students have been heading up to Mount Palomar to excavate the site where Harrison used to live, uncovering Harrison's puzzled life. - San Diego Aztec

- Is Economic Downturn Driving Increased Incidents of Archaeological Looting? Walking along a creosote-dotted bench a few hundred yards above the Rio Grande, archaeologist Mark Hungerford suddenly stops and points to something lying among the rocks in the shadow of a creosote bush. "There's a potsherd," he said, picking up the black-and-white, triangular relic, once part of a pot created by the Mimbres people who lived here more than 1,000 years ago. Moments later, Hungerford finds two more shards, including the alabaster lip of another pot. A few feet away, dozens of filled-in holes provide stark evidence of what is missing: The site has been picked over by looters. "They did some real damage," Hungerford said. "It's all ruined."

- Petroglyph Theft Near Colorado City: The federal Bureau of Land Management says an ancient petroglyph has been chiseled from the face of a sandstone cliff in northern Arizona. BLM officials announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to the culprit's arrest and conviction on Wednesday.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Tuesday, October 7, 2008, "Welcome to the Anthropocene", an illustrated talk by William Debuys, award-winning author and conservationist from the college of Santa Fe, 7 p.m. At CESL auditorium 103. Enjoy a post-lecture reception at Arizona State Museum. Anthropocene refers to the most recent period in the Earth’s history, beginning in the late 18th century, when human activity first began to have an impact on global climate and ecosystems. The landscapes of the Southwest, for example, while seemingly timeless and unaffected, have experienced enormous change over the past century. These human-induced changes are becoming harder to predict, harder to live with, and for many, harder to accept. Left unchecked, a warming and increasingly variable climate promises to usher in a period of unprecedented impact.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Wednesday, October 1, 2008. "Getting into the Battle: Hughes and Munds, Arizona Suffragettes." Presented by Historian Reba Wells Grandrud, Ph.D. Two determined and talented women found common ground in the Women's Christian Temperance Union as they fought to bring about voting rights for women in pre-statehood Arizona. Lecture presented as part of the Arizona Historical Society Wednesday Evening Lecture Series, "Women at Work: Pioneers of the Modern Age." Arizona History Museum Auditorium. 949 E. 2nd St. Tucson, Arizona 85719. Lectures begin at 7:00 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $8.00; $6.00 for AHS members. - Arizona Historical Society (PDF)

- Peopling of the Americas - Update on 14,000 Year Old Human Coprolite Evidence: University of Oregon archaeologist Dennis Jenkins and his students started digging where no one had dug before. What the team discovered in an alcove used as a latrine and trash dump has elevated the caves to the site of the oldest radiocarbon dated human remains in North America.

Thanks to Gerald Kelso, Brian Kenny, and Adrianne Rankin for contributions to today's newsletter.