Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Phosphenes and Rock Art , Vanishing Treasures, BLM Threatening Archaeology of Utah.

Southwestern Archaeology Making the News, a Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

Editor's note: Some days we really have to struggle to find enough archaeology news to carry a newsletter. Today is not one of those days.

- A Linguist's Approach to the Study of Southwestern Rock Art: Dr. Malotki’s latest focus is on designs called phosphenes, which are as fundamental to art as time is to language. He said the same 15 abstract geometric constants appear globally in art created as early as 300,000 years ago. They are grids, zigzags and patterns of dots. They are the first objects drawn by children; we doodle them when we talk on the phone.

- Vanishing Treasures Program Highlighted by N.Y. Times: Inside the dark, cliffside space last occupied by the people of Frijoles Canyon some 500 years ago is evidence of more recent human activity: graffiti proclaiming ''2008'' and ''I love you'' carved into a wall. ''Oh, man,'' art conservator Larry Humetewa muttered as he bent to inspect the damage in the ''cavate,'' a large, cave-like room. Vandalism is just one of many threats to the fragile archaeological sites that are the heart of national parks and monuments in the arid West. They're hammered by sun and rain, freezes and thaws, wind and the abrasive sand it carries. They're invaded by pests and human visitors who can't resist touching. In short, the ruins are in ruins.

- Salt Lake Tribune Chastises BLM for Potential Damage to the Archaeological Record: The Bureau of Land Management under the Bush administration is trying to make a clean sweep of it before President Bush leaves office, issuing management plans for Utah public lands that favor all-terrain vehicles and energy development over wildlife, water, scenic beauty and archaeological treasures.

- Oil and Gas Drilling Destroying the Rock Art of Nine Mile Canyon: Last summer, Constance Silver spent a week examining the world-renowned rock art in Utah's Nine Mile Canyon, a two-hour drive south of Salt Lake City. Tucked into the rugged Tavaputs Plateau, the place contains upwards of 10,000 images, painted and pecked onto sandstone walls. Many of them are visible from the curving, roughly graded road. But the respected art conservator wasn't there to admire the renderings of hunters, bighorn sheep and geometric patterns. Rather, she came to study dust. More specifically, to take air samples and observe the brownish-gray clouds kicked up by an armada of oil and gas trucks as they rumbled through the canyon. After wrapping up her fieldwork, Silver stopped by the local Bureau of Land Management office in nearby Price, which oversees Nine Mile Canyon, and sought out its lone archaeologist, Blaine Miller. She informed Miller that the dust was having an "alarming effect" on the rock art and "had to be taken care of immediately."

- Archaeological Perspectives on Modern Sustainability: Pueblo La Plata didn’t look like much — a low rise of rubble where dwellings once stood, housing perhaps up to 50 people. Archaeologists figured the first inhabitants arrived about AD 1200. Block the rubble pile from view, however, and the modest mesa top in Agua Fria National Monument, just north of Phoenix looked, well, natural. Until Arizona State University archaeologist Katherine Spielmann pointed to the stones around the base of the handful of agave plants that dotted the mesa top. The plants were scattered among grasses and other low-lying shrubs. She explained that the agaves, which looked “natural” to me, were planted by the inhabitants, who placed the volcanic stones around the plants’ bases to ward off frost damage.
http://www.cdarc.org/page/2a91 - Bright Green Blog @ Christian Science Monitor

- Call for Papers, 2009 Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology: Call for Participation by Archaeologists in CRM, Community, Tribal and Academic Settings. 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology Santa Fe, New Mexico Community Convention Center. March 17-21, 2009 In keeping with the Society’s interdisciplinary roots, the Program Committee invites the participation of a wide variety of professionals, students and community partners, working actively inside and outside of academia to understand, document and create sustainable community systems. Posters, papers and sessions are welcome. Deadlines for submission is October 15th.Registration materials and instructions are on the SfAA website.

- Call for Participation, 2009 Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month: The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) would like to announce their call for participation in the 2009 celebration of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month (AAHAM), March 1-30, 2009. If you have an event that you would like to have publicized in the statewide Listing of Events brochure, please complete the form attached to the link below and return it to SHPO by November 1, 2008. We hope to have even more events and activities to promote this coming year than last year, so please consider helping to support public archaeology education in Arizona by sponsoring an event during AAHAM. We need your help! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ann Howard at ahoward@azstateparks.gov.

- Archaeo-Nevada Society Starts 2008-2009 Lecture Series: This month will start off with Jeanne Howerton who will speak on Tracks in the Desert the Great Race through Nevada. 100 years ago, four nations raced their premiere automobiles around the world, from New York to Paris a portion of the race passed through Nevada where the racers met some of there greatest challenges. Join us for this informative talk. As the oldest archaeology club in Nevada, we are made up of poeple interested in archaeology as well as professional and avocational archaeologists. Our meetings are on the Second Thursday of each month, September through May. Each meeting consists of a no host dinner at 5:00 pm at Denny's on 6300 W Charleston Blvd.Las Vegas,Nv. The regular meeting starts at 7pm across the street on the campus of The College of Southern Nevada in room D-213 of the student services building.

- Lecture in Tucson on Presidio Reconstruction: Sunday, Sept. 14, 3 p.m. The first talk in the Tucson Presidio Trust fall lecture series will present Gayle Hartmann, anthropologist and former president of the Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation, speaking on "Reconstruction of the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson" Location: Presidio San Agustin del Tucson, 133 W. Washington St. (corner of Church and Washington in downtown Tucson). Parking is free on nearby streets.

- Lecture Opportunity Tonight (Glendale): Archaeologist David Doyel presents the "Hohokam Escalante Community" near Florence at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium of the Glendale Public Library, 5959 W. Brown St. The excavations at Escalante have focused on the Classic period (A.D. 1100-1450) ruins there. Doyel will discuss his research interests in settlement patterns, community organization, cultural ecology and ceramics. Free and open to the public. Information: 602-569-1526.

- Museum and Library Exhibits on Southwestern Archaeology Available in Deming New Mexico: Here's the chance for all those future Indiana Jones to get a look and feel for artifacts of New Mexico's history. The Marshall Memorial Library, along with the Deming-Luna-Mimbres Museum, is welcoming Chuck Hannaford — Education Director for the Office of Archaeological Studies at the Museum of New Mexico — for a two-day hands-on exhibit from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the local museum, 301 S. Silver St.

- Arizona State Museum Book Sale This Weekend: Friday and Saturday, Sept 12-13, 2008 Very Nearly Annual Discount Benefit Booksale, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission Save 40-70% on remainders and first-quality NEW books: visual arts, humanities, poetry, ethnology, Southwest studies, world archaeology, anthropology, cooking, lifestyle, architecture, and childrens books. ASM members admitted one hour early on Friday for best selection!

- Native Groups Oppose Trails through Sacred Sites in California: The East Bay Regional Park District and the Livermore Area Recreation and Parks District have considered a trail that would run across the top of Brushy Peak, a landmark and a sacred site to local Native people. Brushy Peak is a 1,702-foot landmark which links the San Francisco Bay Area, the California Delta, and the Central Valley. This area was home to the Ohlones, Miwoks and Northern Valley Yokuts, who traded, socialized and held sacred ceremonies in the area.

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