Friday, October 31, 2008

Magdalena Pilgrimage Discouraged, Bush Administration Steps Up Threat to Nine Mile Canyon

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

- Increased Violence Impacts Centuries-old Pilgrimage: Officials with the Tohono O’odham Nation are recommending that members of the nation not make the annual pilgrimage to the Church of St. Francis in Magdalena, Mexico, due to the threats of violence in the area. For a number of months the region has been experiencing heightened violence between competing drug cartels. - Fox 11 News

- Potential Wilderness Areas Threatened by Proposed Energy Development: And on Election Day, when citizens most likely will be focused elsewhere, the BLM will announce an oil- and gas-lease sale involving large swaths of public land considered worthy of wilderness status - including artifact-rich Nine Mile Canyon, Desolation Canyon and areas around Dinosaur National Monument.

- Interview with UA Anthropology Department Head: In September, Barbara Mills became the first woman to lead the University of Arizona Department of Anthropology, but that wasn't the first time Mills broke gender records.

- Concerns over Allocation of NAGPRA Funds: Each year, the office responsible for administrating the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act offers grant money to tribes to help them work to get back human remains and artifacts, as mandated by the law. Tribes have sometimes complained that there isn’t enough money to do this work, but this year there was actually money left over in the funds allocated by Congress.

- Kumeyaay Repatriation Request Denied: In the latest twist in the tug-of-war between Native Americans and anthropologists, officials at the University of California have decided not to repatriate a pair of well-preserved skeletons that are nearly 10,000 years old.

- Colonial Hohokam Village Unearthed at Cordes Junction: While performing a planning study for a new traffic interchange at Cordes Junction in 1998, the Arizona Department of Transportation came across a sizable scatter of surface artifacts lying adjacent to the current interchange.

- Arizona Historical Society Hires Architect for New Facility: The Arizona Historical Society has selected an architect for its museum at Rio Nuevo. The museum, expected to cost up to $80 million to build and equip, will be designed by the Denver firm of Fentress Architects.

- Museum Expansion Results in Relocation of Graves, New Legislation: The disturbance of graves at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum grounds in Waco will result in an omnibus grave protection bill in the coming state legislative session, the head of a House committee said after a five-hour meeting on the matter Tuesday. - Waco Tribune

- Excavations in Santa Fe Expose Remains of 19th Century Sanitarium: Test pits under way off Palace Avenue will explore the history of Santa Fe's east side, where a national hotel chain hopes to redevelop the site of Santa Fe's first hospital. So far, the excavations, which began Monday, have turned up no surprises—mostly bricks, linoleum and other debris from previous buildings.

- In Defense of Saltcedar: There is nothing neutral about saltcedar. Imported to America's East Coast from Eurasia as a nursery plant in the early 1800s, the hardy shrub's popularity grew beyond ornamental purposes in the early 1900s, when thousands were planted out West to stabilize irrigation canals and control erosion along elevated Southern Pacific rail lines. Satisfaction turned to alarm when the eight imported species of saltcedar, also called tamarisk, escaped cultivation and spread too fast.

- Participation Forms for the 2009 Archaeology Expo Now Online: The 2009 Arizona Archaeology Expo will be held on March 14-15, 2009 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park (PGM) in Phoenix. If you would like to participate in the Expo, please fill out the attached form and return to SHPO by November 28, 2008. The form can also be downloaded at the link below. (Please note that the SHPO has the right to refuse participation. All excavations and research featured at the Expo must meet state and/or Secretary of Interior standards for archaeological investigations.)

- New Documentary on the Antikythera Mechanism: Improved technology increasingly is revealing unimagined facts about the impressive accomplishments of ancient societies. To see a fascinating account of modern imaging techniques uncovering the complexities of an ancient machine, watch The Antikythera Mechanism: Decoding an Ancient Greek Mystery, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

- Employment Opportunity, Pima Community College: Laboratory Specialist-Archaeology. $17.66 Per hour. Support field and laboratory classes offered through the Archaeology Centre by helping to plan, organize and coordinate technical work in the preparation and maintenance of set-ups, handouts, forms, supplies and equipment for archaeology field and indoor laboratory; and to assist students in field and laboratory projects. demonstrate correct field/laboratory methods, practices and techniques; provide assistance and instruction to students on matters related to field/laboratory assignments and projects. Requirements: Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology, Archaeology or related field, or Associate's Degree in Anthropology/Archaeology and two years archaeology field and/or archaeology lab experience; knowledge of operational characteristics of archaeological field/laboratory apparatus, equipment and materials as well as the use of high tech equipment associated with archaeology (e.g. computers, GPS, electronic survey equipment, etc). Complete job description available below.

Thanks to Adrienne Rankin, Brian Kenny, and Dan Garcia for their contributions to today's newsletter.