Thursday, December 11, 2008

Agua Fira National Monument, Nine Mile Canyon Struggle Continues

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

- Auga Fria National Monument a Hidden National Treasure: It is a noticeably barren and often windswept tract of low-lying hills and volcanic grasslands that, at first glance, lack any redeeming value. But don't be fooled by the cover. The Agua Fria National Monument is worth a closer look. President Bill Clinton created the monument in 2000 at the behest of his Secretary of the Interior, former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt. Babbitt was one of a limited group of Arizonans keenly aware of what lay among the basalt hills and remote canyons. From the 13th through the mid-15th century, the intermittent waters of the Agua Fria River, Silver Creek, Larry Creek, Sycamore Creek, Ash Creek, Bishop Creek, Indian Creek and a handful of lesser drainages across the mesa supported a thriving culture.

- The Struggle to Save Nine Mile Canyon Continues: Preservation groups said Monday they want the Bureau of Land Management to pull 16 parcels near Utah's famed Nine Mile Canyon that are proposed for oil-and-gas lease sales. The National Trust for Historic Preservation said additional energy activity in the area will drive up truck traffic and raise the risk that dust will damage thousands of prehistoric paintings and carvings in the canyon. - MyFox Utah

- Lecture Opportunity, Raffle, and Live Auction at This Month's Meeting of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society (Tucson): December 15th, 7:00 pm. "An Instance of Hopi Clowning? The Case of Juan Suni, 1659" sponsored by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and given by Anton Daughters. DuVal Auditorium, UMC, 1501 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson. The annual raffle and live auction, featuring Jeff Reid as auctioneer, will also be held at the December meeting. The raffle raises funds for student grants. Note that the meeting starts one half hour earlier than usual.

- New Home for Arizona State Archives: Asked to show some of the more notable items in the Arizona State Archives, Jennifer Albin held up a rusty hatchet used in 1926 to commit one of the state's most notorious murders. It might seem out of place amid the documents, maps and records dating back to territorial days, but this too tells Arizona's story, she said.

- University of Arizona Press Publishes Several Interesting Archaeology Texts in Time for the Holiday Gift Season: New titles in categories such as anthropology, American Indian studies, border studies and archaeology have been published by The University of Arizona Press, including Kristin T. Ruppel's "Unearthing Indian Land" Eugene S. Hunn's "A Zapotec Natural History. Trees, Herbs, and Flower, Birds, Beasts, and Bugs in the Life of San Juan Gbëë," "Cultural Transmission and Material Culture. Breaking Down Boundaries" edited by Miriam T. Stark, Brenda J. Bowser and Lee Horne, and Stephen W. Silliman' "Collaborating at the Trowel's Edge."

- Does a Remote Mexican Pyramid Signify a Previously Unknown Ancient Culture? Several stone sculptures recently found in central Mexico point to a previously unknown culture that likely built a mysterious pyramid in the region, archaeologists say. Archaeologists first found the objects about 15 years ago in the valley of Tulancingo, a major canyon that drops off into Mexico's Gulf Coast. - National Geographic

- Peru Files Lawsuit Against Yale Over Machu Pichu Artifacts: Peru has filed a lawsuit against Yale University to recover relics taken nearly a century ago from the ancient Incan capital of Machu Picchu, the country's top tourist spot, the American school said on Wednesday. Peru says Yale has more than 40,000 pieces -- a precious mix of mummies, pottery and jewelry -- taken by U.S. explorer and Yale alumnus Hiram Bingham after he rediscovered the ancient city in 1911. Yale said it was disappointed by the suit, which Peru had threatened to file for years, and promised to fight it.