Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hubble Trading Post Celebrates 125 Years

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

- Hubble Trading Post Celebrates 125 Years: For more than a century, trading posts were integral parts of Native American life in the Southwest. These posts were stores, owned mostly by Anglos, where Native Americans exchanged woven rugs, jewelry, baskets, wool and nuts for food and other necessities. Trading posts also served as banks and bustling social hubs. Today, most of them have been replaced by grocery stores and big box chains like Walmart, but a handful of establishments still function as traditional trading posts.

- Southwest Symposium Begins Jan 8th: For more information about the 11th biennial SOUTHWEST SYMPOSIUM, to be held in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, January 8-9, 2010, visit the conference website.

- NPR Examines the Loss of Hopi Language & Culture: For nearly 1,000 years, the Hopi people have lived on the same three mesas, land now considered part of northeastern Arizona. For all that time, they have been speaking the Hopi language, which is slowly dying. There are many hurdles standing in the way of preserving Hopi, including, for Hopi teens, the choice between preserving their culture and adopting a modern lifestyle.

- Ruins of Texas Ranch and Mission Remain in Funding Limbo: Ruins that archeologists call one of the last links to the original ranches and cowboys that shaped Texas have been kept behind a gate, literally buried, for more than two decades - awaiting the funding that would allow people to see them. The 18th-century Rancho de las Cabras complex, with its stone building remains, was a birthplace of the large commercial ranching operations that would help define the state. Preservationists have long hoped it could be fully excavated and opened to the public, but so far, the site has been unable to attract the money it would need from Congress or the National Park Service's stretched budget.,0,7102464.story

- Opportunity for Public Comment on National Park Service Policy on Oil and Gas Regulations Ends January 25th: Aztec Ruin is just one of the National Parks that could be impacted by adverse rulings regarding oil and gas exploration.

- Lecture Opportunity (Phoenix): The Agua Fria Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society is offering a free lecture on Archaeoastronomy of the Verde Valley, on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 7:00 PM at the Glendale Public Library Auditorium, 5959 West Brown (south of Peoria Ave). The speaker will be Ken Zoll, who has done extensive studies in the Verde Valley, including research on the V Bar V Ranch. Archeoastronomy is the study of the uses of astronomy by ancient civilizations
Membership is not required. Refreshments will be served.

- Changing of the Guard at Prescott Historic Preservation Office: From one history buff to another, the details of Prescott's past have been undergoing a major transfer in recent months. Longtime Prescott Historic Preservation Specialist Nancy Burgess will be retiring from her post at the end of December, and for the past six months she has been working closely with her replacement, Cat Moody, to ensure a smooth transition. A major part of that process: The shift of information, much of which Burgess has accumulated through the years as institutional knowledge.

- Old Pueblo Archaeology Hosts Fundraising Raffle: The next of the ever-popular "Old Pueblo - Young People" fundraising raffles (the eleventh since Old Pueblo Archaeology Center began holding these events in 1998) will be held on March 31, 2010, as a finale for Old Pueblo's celebration of the annual Arizona Archaeology and Heritage
Awareness Month.

Thanks to Jeffery Boyer and Carrie Gregory for contributions to today's newsletter.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Arizona Republic Advocates Expansion of Casa Grande National Monument

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

- Arizona Republic Advocates Expansion of Casa Grande National Monument: The National Park Service, which oversees Casa Grande monument, has done extensive studies and public outreach that make a strong case for the proposed expansion. The addition fits the Park Service's dual mission of preservation and interpretation. Enlarging the monument would protect evidence that current and future researchers need to continue answering the many questions about the Hohokam, whose culture faded away after 1450. This is part of our American heritage that must not be lost. - Arizona Republic

- BLM and Utah Stakeholders Reach Compromise on Preservation in Nine Mile Canyon: A wide coalition of interests -- including conservationists, tribal leaders, land regulators and a natural-gas developer -- has reached an agreement that could curtail the fight over damage to rock art in Nine Mile Canyon, state and federal officials announced Tuesday. The document, scheduled for signing Jan. 5, outlines how the U.S. Bureau of Land Management proposes to protect pictographs and petroglyphs created by Puebloan ancestors who lived throughout the Southwest more than 700 years ago.

- Pressure Mounts to Reestablish Wilderness Study Areas: The conservation community is counting on Ken Salazar, the native Coloradan heading the Interior Department, to reverse a ruling by his predecessor. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) used to be able to set aside land in Colorado and elsewhere as "Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs)" to be protected from development until Congress could decide whether to permanently designate all or part of it as federal wilderness. That WSA determination process was halted by Bush administration Interior Secretary Gail Norton, but Salazar could reinstate it.

- Archaeology Cafe in Tucson to Examine Historical Impact and Future Potential of Tucson's Electric Streetcars: The next meeting of Archaeology Cafe will take place on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, at 6:00 pm. Our guest this month will be transit historian Gene Caywood, who will share the history of Tucson's electric streetcars, as well as information about the City of Tucson's Modern Streetcar Project.

- California to Examine Preservation on Route 66: Of the eight states through which Route 66 passed -- the others are Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona -- California is the only one that has not done a cultural survey of the highway. - Los Angeles Times

- Pueblo Grande Museum Honored with AAM Accreditation: Phoenix’s Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park has, for the second time, earned a rare distinction from the American Association of Museums. The Association recently renewed Pueblo Grande Museum’s Accreditation, an honor earned by less than 5 percent of the 17,500 museums in the United States.

- Efforts to Save Comanche Language Begin at Texas Tech: This fall, a Texas Tech University professor of anthropology will begin the difficult task of collecting the remnants of the near-extinct Comanche language, then creating a way it can be taught in a university setting. Jeff Williams, chairman of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, will serve as an external evaluator for Numu Tekwapu, a project to document and revitalize the Comanche language. He will work with tribe members and researchers at Comanche Nation College in Lawton, Okla., to record what’s left of the language and create a method for teaching it to students at the college.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Las Capas Listed in Archaeology Magazine's Top Ten Discoveries for 2009

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

- Archaeology Magazine Names Excavations at Las Capas to List of Top Ten Discoveries in 2009: For years, archaeologists in the American Southwest have wrestled with a frustrating puzzle: How did ancient farmers grow corn in the cactus-studded Sonoran Desert as early as 2000 B.C.? Some form of irrigation was clearly necessary, but until 2009 no one had ever seen evidence for one of these primeval watering systems. Now at the site of Las Capas outside Tucson, archaeologist James Vint of Desert Archaeology Inc. and his colleagues have excavated an enormous network of canals and fields stretching over as many as 100 acres and dating to 1200 B.C. It is the oldest documented irrigation system in North America.

- Arizona State University's First Native American Archaeologist Honored at Commencement Ceremony: In the United States, most of the archaeology is about Native American cultures. Yet nationwide, there are only about 15 Native American doctorate-level archaeologists involved in the interpretation of their archaeological past. Today, William "Rex" Weeks joins their ranks as the first Native American to receive a doctoral degree with a specialization in archaeology from Arizona State University's highly competitive anthropology program. His inspiring success story was shared during the commencement ceremony.

- Southwest Symposium Seeks Venue for 2012 Conference: Responsibilities include retaining a conference facility and hotel, setting the program theme, identifying major paper and poster sessions and their coordinators, creating a program, and organizing a reception for participants. The conference organizers will also edit the conference proceedings volume. The Southwest Symposium currently has a publication arrangement with the University of Colorado to publish contingent on peer review.

- Coso Petroglyphs are a Little Known Californian Treasure: Everywhere you look, for a mile or so down what is known as Little Petroglyph Canyon, there are images pecked or scratched into the rock faces: stylized human figures in a variety of headgear, stick figures with bows and arrows, dogs or coyotes, bear paws with extra digits, all manner of abstract geometric patterns, zigzags and circles and dots, and hundreds upon hundreds of what looked like bighorn sheep, some small, some larger than life size. - New York Times

- Gila Cliff Dwellings Announce Winter and Holiday Hours: The Cliff Dwellings are open year-round. During the winter, visitors may hike to the dwellings between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, and while the gate to the dwellings closes at 4:00 pm, visitors have another hour in which to complete their hike. A guided tour of the Cliff Dwellings is offered daily at 12:00 p.m. The Monument is open year-round, including Christmas Eve (December 24), Christmas Day (December 25) and New Years Day (January 1). The Gila Visitor Center, however, will be closing at 12:30 p.m. on December 24th, and will be closed all day on December 25th and January 1st.

- Holiday Hours Announced for Anasazi Heritage Center: The Bureau of Land Management’s Anasazi Heritage Center will be closing at noon on Thursday, Dec. 24 and will remain closed on Christmas Day. The Center will reopen on Dec. 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Heritage Center will also be closed Jan. 1, 2010, and resume its seven
day a week 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. schedule through February.

- Ancient Ceramic found in Cave in the Manti-LaSal National Forest: A pot discovered under a rock in one of the canyons in the forest in early December may be between 800-1000 years old. "We will be doing a lot of study on this, but it appears to be Anasazi or Fremont in origin," said Charmaine Thompson, the archaeologist for the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

- UCLA Honored for Research at Historic Cemetery: UCLA's Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and a research associate have won the Governor's Historic Preservation Award for high-tech mapping efforts at the Marquez Family Cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon. - LA Times

- Autry Center Plans to Close Southwest Muesem: Last Saturday, 12/12/2009, the docents had their annual holiday gathering at the museum. John Gray made a surprise appearance, and announced to our group that the Southwest Museum site at Mt. Washington would be closing to the general public. The reason he gave was that they needed space for artifact restoration and conservation. He said that after 12/31/2009, the bookstore area will be closed and used to do work on the bead-work portion of the collection. Any public events now taking place at the museum will cease. - Griffithparkwayist@blogspot.

- US Army Continues to Threaten Sacred Native Site: The Comanche Nation and the U.S. Army have been battling over a proposed training/service center for the Fort Sill complex that was to be built on Medicine Bluff, a sacred site of not just the Comanche, but also the Kiowas, the Wichitas and the Apaches. Last year, the Army changed locations after a federal Judge blocked construction and ruled that all four bluffs had to be visible for the spiritual well-being of the Comanche people. The Army can still appeal the ruling, and the Comanche administration believes they will appeal in an attempt to drag out the litigation until the tribe runs out of money.

- North American Megafauna May Have Survived Longer than Currently Believed: Extinct woolly mammoths and ancient American horses may have been grazing the North American steppe for several thousand years longer than previously thought. After plucking ancient DNA from frozen soil in central Alaska, a team of researchers used cutting-edge techniques to uncover "genetic fossils" of both species locked in permafrost samples dated to between 7,600 and 10,500 calendar years.

- Mayans Working to Save Cultural Heritage Featured on the Archaeology Channel: An association of Tz’utujil Maya people from Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, struggle to establish a cultural center and archaeological site museum at the nearby lakeside site of Chuitinamit, once home to the Pre-Hispanic Maya King Tepepul and now badly looted. Including a tour of the museum, this film documents their accomplishments thus far and current endeavors in the face of artifact looting and natural catastrophe in the form of Hurricane Stan, which struck in 2005.

Thanks to Terry Colvin, Michael Mauer and Adrianne Rankin for contributing to today's newsletter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Hypothesis About the Introduction of Maize to the Southwest

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

- New Hypothesis Suggests Maize Was Passed from Group to Group by Ancient Southwestern Hunter-Gatherer Populations: An international group of anthropologists offers a new theory about the diffusion of maize to the Southwestern United States and the impact it had. Published the week of Dec. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study, co-authored by Gayle Fritz, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues, suggests that maize was passed from group to group of Southwestern hunter-gatherers.

- University of Arizona Anthropology Department Reorganizes to Become a School of Anthropology: This fall, the University of Arizona's prestigious anthropology department, already ranked among the top five in the country, became even stronger. Under the UA transformation plan, the department reorganized into a school, adding more depth to its world-renowned archaeology program and increasing ways faculty and students can be engaged in the community.

- Save America's Treasures Announces 9.5 Million Dollars in Grant Awards, Including Several Southwestern Projects

- New Visitation Rules in Place for Moon House: As I hiked down the trail, I was approaching one of the last, best backcountry Anasazi sites in the Southwest, but I was still unprepared for what I found. It's that sense of self-discovery that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in its Monticello, Utah, field office seeks to preserve with new January 2010 rules for visiting Moon House. - Durango Herald

- San Juan Basin Archaeology Society Celebrates 30 Years of Stewardship: After a promise not to be pot hunters, the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society was granted its charter by the Colorado Archaeological Society in 1979. It is now the largest chapter in the state, with more members than Denver and other cities on the Front Range. - Durango Herald

- A First Hand Account of a Passport in Time Project: For five days last May, I worked as a volunteer archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Southern California's Cleveland National Forest. Through the service's Passport in Time (PIT) program, I located and photographed sites where the native peoples of 12,000 years ago, the Diegueños, carved stone tools and weapons, where 7,500 years ago their descendants ground seeds and nuts on rocks and where more-recent descendants produced pottery. - Washington Post

- Tour Opportunity with El Malpais National Conservation Area Just Keeps Improving: "Where else can you find 2 great kivas by a Chacoesque Great House? Where else can you find continuous presence from AD 655 to AD 1158? Where else can you visit what may be a pivotal great house for the region 2 days before winter solstice with only a 5 minute drive from I-40 and a 5 minute walk from pavement? Saturday, December 19th shows as high as 50F and sunny in 1 forecast model. AND we've just got OK to show Steve Lekson's fall lecture at Silver City, NM along with "Chaco" a film with mostly native interviews. Come for the films, come for the discussion over lunch, come for the Casamero walk, or come for all 3. Meet: Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at exit 85 on I-40 at 10:00 AM. Car-pool: 35 paved miles west on I40. Walk: 1 mile round trip. BLM El Malpais NCA: 505.280.2918

- Imperial Valley Archaeologist Jay Von Werlhof Passes: Von Werlhof is revered locally for his nearly 40 years of contributions to anthropology and archaeology. An Imperial Valley College instructor for 19 years before his retirement in 1992, von Werlhof taught anthropology, Indian studies and archaeology while supervising the museum during its early years.

- More of the Life and Contributions of Jay Von Werlhof

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Monday, December 21st Dr. Stephen Nash, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, will present the monthly Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Lecture. His talk is entitled "Fast Approaching Zero: Tree-Ring Dating at Mesa Verde National Park". Duval Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. 7:30 p.m.

Thanks to Carrie Gregory for contributing to today's newsletter.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Randy McGuire Named Distinguished Binghamton Professor

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

- Randy McGuire Named Distinguished Professor at Binghamton University: McGuire, who earned his PhD from the University of Arizona, has had his work published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Catalan. His nomination notes that he “brings innovative thinking about archaeological theory and a creative integration of new theory into the practice of archaeology, making his research impactful, unique and world-renown.” McGuire’s work on Marxian and Marxist approaches in archaeology, his particular interests in history and power, and his ability to excel in both theory and practice lent a key voice in bringing these concerns back into American archaeology.

- Enjoy a Cool Hike and a Learning Experience at a Chacoan Great House Site (Grants):
Winter gives a fine opportunity to experience Casamero, a Chacoan style great house, while feeling the power of nature Chacoans faced without today's conveniences. Which conveniences did they have? How did their conveniences help them build in such a grand style in such a harsh climate? Who located its construction in a fashion that would make a Feng Shui master smile? What pushed its abandonment? Come stroll amid the mysteries of a striking mixed stone construction, search for the great kiva(s), marvel at the enormous owl eyes of the Mesa, & enjoy a discussion over optional lunch in Grants. BLM’s El Malpais National Conservation Area presents the last part of “Walking with the Ancestors” on Saturday, December 19th, 2009. Meet at the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at exit 85 on I-40 at 10:00 AM. Drive 35 paved miles. Walk 1 mile round trip. Too much snow? then instead, films and a discussion are planned. 505.280.2918

- Arizona Dept. of Transportation Launches Historic Roads Website: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), has started a multi-year project to tell the story of Arizona's past as viewed through the state's historic roads. The state's historic roads include all state routes and US highways in Arizona developed between 1912 and 1955, excluding the Interstates. The project is called, "Exploring Arizona's Historic Roads".

- Ancient Mammoths Now on Display near Waco: A site where dozens of prehistoric mammoths died in a landslide and flooding some 68,000 years ago has opened to the public in Waco, Texas. The fossils were discovered in 1978 by two men hunting for snakes. They took one of the bones to a Baylor University museum official who identified it, triggering an archaeological dig. - The Daily Record.Com

- National Park Service Grant to Help Restore Japanese-American Internment Sites: A National Park Service grant program is giving new hope to Coloradans who want to restore the site in southeast Colorado where Japanese-Americans were forcibly detained during World War II.

- New Exhibit on Navajo Weaving Shares Stories of Life and Myths (Boulder): Dreams, Schemes and Stories, a Navajo textiles exhibit on view at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History through Feb. 4, invites visitors to venture into Navajo life on the resettled reservations of the late 19th century through the weavers’ art. Dreams is the second of three installments in Navajo Weaving: Diamonds, Dreams, Landscapes, the museum’s first major showing of Navajo pieces from the Joe Ben Wheat Southwestern Textile Collection. Weaving Memory: Monotypes, by Melanie Yazzie, associate professor of art and art history at CU, is also on display. That showing concludes on May 30. - Boulder Weekly

- Tohono O'odham Now Own Ceramic Technologies Integral in Defense and Aerospace: After Advanced Ceramics Research was acquired in June by defense giant BAE Systems Inc. in a $14.7 million stock deal, Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing was sold to the San Xavier Development Authority, an arm of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and founders Anthony Mulligan and Mark Angier.

Editors Note: Our thoughts, condolences, and sympathy are with the family and students of Binghamton Anthropology Professor Emeritus Richard Antoun.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ancient Agricultural Impacts and Climatic Change Studied at ASU

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

- ASU Archaeologist Michael C Barton Presents Research on the Climatic Impacts of Agricultural Practice: Arizona State University archaeologist C. Michael Barton has gained a reputation for learning about human-environment interaction by applying a long-term perspective, as well as the latest technology, to his research. His Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics project is creating multidimensional computer models of landscape change and agricultural land use practices for a 6,000-year period from the beginning of farming to the rise of urban civilization.

- Northern Arizona and Most of the Southwest in Drought: Rancher Duane Coleman manages a large ranch on land partly owned by the Hopi Tribe southeast of Flagstaff, near Twin Arrows. Of 75 tanks to water cattle on the ranch, all but two are dry, and the ranch received only 2.5 inches of monsoon rain this year, Coleman said. Coleman, vice president of the local Natural Resources Conservation District, is hauling 11,000 gallons of water a day to supply his livestock, he said, and has had to cut the number of cattle on the land by about a third. Normally he only has to haul water in the summer sometimes.

- Hopi Tribe to Open Hotel and Visitor's Center in Moenkopi: Tourists traveling the vast expanse of tribal lands in northern Arizona soon will have a venue to learn about the culture of one of the oldest indigenous tribes in America. A $13 million hotel and conference center billed as the western gateway to the Hopi reservation is set to open late this year, where entertainment, lectures and demonstrations will provide non-Hopis with an insight into the tribe's culture and traditions.

- Reminder - Archaeology Cafe This Tuesday in Tucson: The next Archaeology Café will convene on Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 6:00 pm, at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ. This month, we will be joined by Don Burgess, former General Manager of KUAT TV. Thirty-one Latin-inscribed lead crosses and a caliche plaque collectively known as the Silverbell Artifacts confounded scholars at the time of their appearance over the years between 1924 and 1930. The items appeared to attest to Roman presence in southern Arizona between A.D. 775 and 940. Don will tell the story behind the story, and dispel the myths surrounding this deliberate hoax. The legacy of this incident continues to this day, as Arizona State Museum and Arizona History Museum curators can attest from the yearly inquiries they receive. The Café Program is Free and open to the community—all are welcome.

- Debate on North American Megafauna Extinctions Continue, but Timing of Event is Becoming Better Defined: ears of scientific debate over the extinction of ancient species in North America have yielded many theories. However, new findings from J. Tyler Faith, GW Ph.D. candidate in the hominid paleobiology doctoral program, and Todd Surovell, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming, reveal that a mass extinction occurred in a geological instant.

Travelogue - Southwestern Education Vacation: The American Southwest bursts with potential for exploration, and offers opportunities to learn about Native American groups, particularly the Hopi and Anasazi. Discover what it’s like to drive the Trail of the Ancients scenic byway, plan a day trip to New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park or create an itinerary for the Four Corners, a hotbed of Native American history and culture. - Finding Dulcina

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Archaeology on a Bombing Range

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

- Archaeology on the Goldwater Bombing Range: There are places here where the desert floor is so speckled with artifacts, it is difficult to find a step that will not fracture history. In a place called Lago Seco, pieces of pottery, many more than 800 years old, glisten in the morning sun. Stone tools and arrowheads are covered with only a thin layer of sand. The quiet envelops visitors with its completeness. Then in the howling silence, a massive cloud of dirt and sand rises from the ground. Moments later, a concussive blast rolls out of Manned Range 4. - Arizona Republic

Lake Mead Petroglyph Mapping: The National Park Service, in conjunction with the Nevada Rock Art Foundation out of Reno, Nev., has undertaken a mapping of the petroglyphs at the mouth of Grapevine Canyon in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area north of Laughlin along Christmas Tree Pass. According to Archeological Technologist Erin Eichenberg, the drawings that cover many rock surfaces in the canyon have never been properly surveyed. Volunteers from the NRAF are sketching, mapping locations of petroglyphs using GPS devices and documenting art work found on around 250 different panels containing drawings. Additionally, the volunteers are assisting park personnel with filling out the paperwork necessary to properly document the site.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Southwestern Author Craig Childs to Speak on Water: The behavior of water — in all its flowing, flooding, frozen forms — fascinates author Craig Childs. He has observed the precious, powerful resource in locales from the deserts of Arizona to the highlands of Tibet — and he will discuss some of his fluid findings in a free Dec. 10 lecture at Pima Community College. Childs will deliver the Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial Lecture. It's part of the Southwest Literature Project sponsored by the Pima County Public Library. 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Proscenium Theatre on the West Campus of Pima Community College, 2202 W. Anklam Road.

- Exhibit Opening (Tucson): The Arizona State Museum presents opening celebrations for "Mexico, the Revolution and Beyond: the Casasola Archives, 1900-1940" on Thurs, Dec 3, 2009, 6:30-9:00 p.m. Enjoy a panel discussion (at CESL auditorium) followed by an exhibit viewing, a book signing and a reception (at ASM). Enjoy delicious food from El Charro Café and sweet treats from Le Cave's Bakery. Kindly RSVP to Darlene Lizarraga (520) 626-8381 or This exhibition is organized by the Fototeca Nacional of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (Mexico) and is presented in collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson.

- Travelouge - Montezuma's Castle: Our state is blessed with real connections to ancient cultures that offer clues to our past — and a celebration of the enormous accomplishments of these indigenous peoples. An increased understanding of the gifts of these cultures to our contemporary society will result in a greater appreciation for Arizona’s diverse cultural groups, and for the land that served as their homes. Conservation of the fragile environment of our state, along with preservation of its natural beauty, has brought us Montezuma’s Castle.

Thanks to Brian Kenny for contributing to today's newsletter.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The "Mystery" of the Tucson Artifacts

Southwestern Archaeology Today - A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- The "Mystery" of the Tucson Artifacts: Jones is the museum collections manager at the Arizona Historical Society. We are on the second floor of the building in a room with no pomp or circumstance, unlike other archive rooms on the same floor containing rows and rows of valuable remnants of history that are painstakingly organized and proudly displayed. Jones had laughed a bit when I asked her over the phone to see the artifacts. For years, there was heated debate between the finders of the lead pieces and experts in the archeology field. "What was their origin?" they asked. The theories ranged from claims that they were evidence of the Lost Tribe of Israel's presence in Tucson or that they were the creation of a young Mexican boy to claims even that they must have been planted in the ground by their discoverers.

- Join the Center For Desert Archaeology and Local Scholar Don Burgess for a Livley Discussion of the Tucson Artifacts at the Next Archaeology Cafe (Tucson): The next Archaeology Café will convene on Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 6:00 pm, at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ. This month, we will be joined by Don Burgess, former General Manager of KUAT TV. Thirty-one Latin-inscribed lead crosses and a caliche plaque collectively known as the Silverbell Artifacts confounded scholars at the time of their appearance over the years between 1924 and 1930. The items appeared to attest to Roman presence in southern Arizona between A.D. 775 and 940. Don will tell the story behind the story, and dispel the myths surrounding this deliberate hoax. The legacy of this incident continues to this day, as Arizona State Museum and Arizona History Museum curators can attest from the yearly inquiries they receive. The Café Program is Free and open to the community—all are welcome.

- Congratulations to Archaeologist James Heidke: The membership of the Arizona Archaeological Council selected James Heidke as the 2009 recipient of the Contributions to Arizona Archaeology Award. Jim was nominated for his achievements in ceramic petrography. He has helped to develop methods of ceramic sourcing that have enriched our understanding of prehistoric ceramic production, distribution, and specialization. Jim’s diligent research efforts have contributed to our knowledge of the past as our profession continues to grow and evolve. The Arizona Archaeological Council is pleased to recognize these important contributions to Arizona archaeology.

- A Different Sort of Archaeological Dating at BYU Museum: Most people think of musty corners and old relics when they think of museums, but with an upcoming activity, one BYU museum will be a hot spot of romantic activity. This Friday, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures is hosting a date night in conjunction with International Education Week to liven up the atmosphere. The date night will be full of activities such as viewing Anasazi pottery from Fourmile Ruin in the “New Lives” exhibition, “Cultural Trivia” scavenger hunts and pottery making with prizes.

- After Mastodons and Mammoths, a Transformed Landscape:
When the population of mastodons, mammoth, camel, horse, ground sloths, and giant beavers crashed, emptying a land whose diversity of large animals equaled or surpassed Africa's wildlife-rich Serengeti plains then or now, an entirely novel ecosystem emerged as broadleaved trees once kept in check by huge numbers of big herbivores claimed the landscape. Soon after, the accumulation of woody debris sparked a dramatic increase in the prevalence of wildfire, another key shaper of landscapes. This new picture of the ecological upheaval of the North American landscape just after the retreat of the ice sheets is detailed in a study published November 19 in the journal Science.

- Slide Show of Threatened Places of the Americas: In an effort to preserve cultural sites around the world, the World Monuments Fund releases a list of endangered sites every two years. This year's list includes 93 sites drawn from 47 countries, from well-known attractions to obscure ruins. Here are the spots from the list that sparked our interest, including some that you may want to visit.,0,4072902.photogallery

- New York Times Science Editorial Argues In Favor of "Partage:" Zahi Hawass regards the Rosetta Stone, like so much else, as stolen property languishing in exile. “We own that stone,” he told Al Jazeera, speaking as the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. The British Museum does not agree — at least not yet. But never underestimate Dr. Hawass when it comes to this sort of custody dispute. He has prevailed so often in getting pieces returned to what he calls their “motherland” that museum curators are scrambling to appease him.

- O'odham Basketry: Native Americans in the United States have been weaving baskets for centuries. Archeologists have discovered baskets that are thousands of years old. They were used to hold food and other supplies, and for sacred rituals. But many baskets made today are for decoration. The Tohono O'odham in (the southwest state of) Arizona live on the second largest reservation in the U.S. Rose Martin has inherited a family tradition. "My mother's the one who taught me how to do basketry when I was about 10 years old and gave me that gift to weave," she said.

- Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program Seeks Internship Program Proposals for the Summer of 2010: The CRDIP provides career exploration opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students from diverse communities in historic preservation and cultural resources management. The cost is shared on a 50/50 basis between the CRDIP and the intern sponsor. Please submit intern project proposals on the linked form below by November 30, 2009 to Turkiya Lowe at; - Application Form, MS Word Document. - Program Description

- Lecture Opportunity (Tubac): Marana dig reveals pre-Hohokam agricultural settlement. Archaeologist James Vint will present the findings from the just-completed excavation of one of the earliest irrigation-based villages in the American Southwest yet documented. The Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society will host his talk on December 10, 2009, 7 PM, at the North County Facility at 50 Bridge Road in Tubac. The presentation is free and open to the public.

- The October/November 2009 Alliance of National Heritage Areas Alliance
Update Newsletter:

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gomphothere Remains Found at Northern Mexican Clovis Site

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

- Ancient Gomphotheres Remains Found With Clovis Tools in Northern Mexico: Scientists have found evidence that cavemen (sic) near the U.S.-Mexican border were butchering gomphotheres, elephant-like beasts from the Ice Age that had been believed to be nearly extinct in North America by the time humans appeared there. Researchers from the University of Arizona and Mexico's anthropology institute say they found the bones of two young gomphotheres — along with blades, a scraping tool and stone chips from making spear tips — at an 11,000-year-old site in Mexico's Sonora state.

- Satellite Imagery Used to Document Hohokam Canals in Phoenix Basin: Anthropologists, with the assistance of satellite imagery, have discovered the remains of a series of ancient canals, located just south of the Salt River, near the very heart of downtown Mesa, Arizona. The existence of the canal system, built in the Salt River valley centuries ago by the Hohokam, has long been known, but the extent of this most recent discovery has caught some experts by surprise. -

- Mesa Grande Tours will Begin Soon: ...Decades of groundwork are paying off as the city is rushing to lay a path through the ruins in the final weeks of this year. Some time next year, Mesa Grande will be ready for the first regular tours to the site pioneers discovered in the 1800s.

- Etymology of "Arizona:" The most logical and accurate interpretation traces the name to about 1734-1736 in a community some 50 miles southwest of Nogales on today's Arizona/Mexico border. According to historian Jay Wagoner, a Yaqui Indian named Antonio Siraumea, in October of 1736, discovered chunks of silver (planchas de plata) lying on the ground in a canyon located near the rancheria of "Arissona," a visita of the nearby mission.

- Lecture Opportunity & Book signing (Albuquerque): Stephen Lekson presents "A History of the Ancient Southwest" at Page One Bookstore (SW corner of Montgomery and Juan Tabo), Friday, November 20 at 7 PM. According to Dr. Lekson, much of what we think we know about the Southwest has been compressed into conventions and classifications and orthodoxies. A History of the Ancient Southwest challenges and reconfigures these accepted notions by telling two parallel stories, one about the development, personalities, and institutions of Southwestern archaeology and the other about interpretations of what actually happened in the ancient past.

- Kiva Mural and Ancient Pigment Expert Paul T. Kay Passes: Paul Tarsus Kay, 70, passed peacefully following a lengthy illness while at Denver Health, Oct. 29, 2009. He was a self-made Anthropologist, Scientist, Researcher, Philosopher, Producer/ Promoter, Advocate of the Fine Arts, House Painter extraordinaire, Good Samaritan and Avid conversationalist. - Denver Post

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson) Randy McGuire will present " Cerros de Trinceras & Warfare in Sonora, Mexico" as part of the monthly meeting of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society. Tonight, 7:30 PM at the Duval Auditorium, University Medical Center.

- Travelogue - Mesa Verde: The ancient tribes who wandered into southwestern Colorado more than a thousand years ago were no dummies. They looked at the area's big, rugged mesas and decided to live inside them. They built south-facing homes, shielded from the winter's north wind. In the summer, the flat cliff overhangs kept them cool. - The Statesman

- Travelouge - Walnut Canyon National Moument: A strong wind blows out of Walnut Canyon, but the day is warm, the clouds are scattered and sunlight burns the mesa tops. A group of students has just crowded into the visitor center and makes its way out the back door and down a trail that leads past an ancient Sinagua Indian village, the main feature of the park. - Arizona Republic

- Incan Pottery Replication at Stanford: The Spanish invaders told the Inca that the diseases were payback for idolatry. But the Incan priests of the Taki Unquy opposition had their own take: Their people had taken European names, clothes and religion; they had abandoned the native languages for Spanish. The Inca hadn't kept to the old ways – and the ancestors were displeased. So, to propitiate them, indigenous potters began to make small vessels again, just like their ancestors had 40 years earlier, before the 1530s conquest. Half a millennium later and thousands of miles away, Incan vessels were pulled from an alpaca-dung open-air kiln at Stanford this month – as close to the "real thing" as one could reasonably expect to get.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Former Museum Director Wants New Laws To Stop Pothunting

Southwestern Archaeology Today, A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- Former Museum Director Calls for New Laws to Thwart Southwestern Looting: Across the Southwest, the illegal excavation of artifacts on public and tribal lands has been hobby, occupation, guilty pleasure and even family tradition. At the turn of the 20th century, metropolitan museums around the world competed to establish collections. Some museums paid locals to dig pots, primarily from ancient Indian burials. Southwest Colorado, southeast Utah and New Mexico — home to the Ancestral Puebloan and Mogollon/Mimbres cultures — are epicenters for pothunting in the Southwest. - Grand Junction Sentinel

- New Fee Structure from the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research: On November 1, 2004, the Dendroarchaeology section of the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research implemented its first rate change in more than a decade. This structure allowed principal investigators and project directors to more precisely plan for the costs of dendrochronological analysis. Unfortunately, due to severe university budget cuts and substantially increased health care and university administrative costs, we now find it necessary to revise our rate structure again five years later. We do not take this step lightly, but must increase our rates if we are to survive and remain the only source of archaeological tree-ring dates in the Southwest. - MS Word Document.

- Casa Grande National Monument Boundary Expansion Unanimously Supported by Coolidge City Council: After much waiting and anticipation, the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument has seen a step in the right direction concerning a boundary expansion project to further protect the ancient site in its entirety. The Ruins staff and other archaeological site preservationists have been involved in discussions for several years, but have just acquired one imperative step in the right direction — the support of both local councils. - Coolidge Examiner

- New Blog at the Center for Desert Archaeology - Rural Heritage Preservation: The rural West is changing. Urban sprawl, recreational development, and economic changes are all contributing to the loss of our rural cultural heritage. This blog is dedicated to increasing awareness of the rural historic heritage of Arizona and New Mexico, and to promoting preservation action that can save these special places of our shared past.

- Navajo Archaeologist Makes Case for Ancestral Connections to the Ancient Southwest: If Hollywood ever makes a movie about an odd pair of archaeologists investigating the ruins that haunt the Four Corners area of the Southwest, Taft Blackhorse and John Stein could be the real life inspiration. Imagine Blues Brothers crossed with The X-Files. I spent a whirlwind three days with the two Navajo Nation archaeologists in early August, touring Chaco Canyon and other famous archaeological sites in the Four Corners, such as New Mexico's Salmon Ruins and Aztec. Virtually alone among their peers, Blackhorse and Stein argue that the Navajo are connected to these famous sites, and have a deep history in the Four Corners region that stretches back thousands of years.

- Pecos National Historic Park Renovating Historic Trading Post: Brown and crew will restore the multi-room adobe and pine building to its look from the 1940s and ’50s, when E.E. “Buddy” Fogelson and his actress wife, Greer Garson, used the trading post as headquarters for their Forked Lightning Ranch. The historic character of the building and any usable original materials will be preserved, but it will be upgraded to house administrative offices and a place to greet visitors. “A lot of people see the trading post first, before the visitors center,” said Christine Beekman, chief of interpretation at the park. - Santa Fe New Mexican

- Zuni Anthropology Student Using 3D Modeling Technologies in Researching the Ancient Southwest: Daniel Pedro knew when he was a sophomore at Santa Fe Indian School that he wanted to be an anthropologist. He also knew that as a Zuni, he would not be able to touch human remains – a common task for physical anthropologists. “It was kind of a barrier,” said Pedro, a 20-year-old freshman at the University of New Mexico-Gallup. “I had to find a way to work around it.”

- Travelogue - Wupatki National Monument: In the long run maybe it’s good fortune that the Wupatki National Monument northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona resides in relative obscurity, never given a second thought by the millions who race north on 89 to crowd shoulder-to-shoulder and stare into the Grand Canyon. Their loss is our gain because infrequent visitors means peace and quiet out on the wide open desert expanses and allows you to stroll unhurried through the splendidly preserved 800 year-old ruins that once marked a cultural hub, a melting pot of ancient Sinagua and Kayenta Anasazi, and to a lesser extent Cohonina and Hohokam peoples.

- Nominations Open for "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places: America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 200 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures since 1988. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country. At times, that attention has garnered public support to quickly rescue a treasured landmark; while in other instances, it has been the impetus of a long battle to save an important piece of our history.

- Economic Downturn & Border Conflicts Causing Severe Hardships in Mata Ortiz: (From an SAT subscriber who wishes to stay anonymous) Mata Ortiz is going through some tough times. A family member of Juan Quezada's was murdered recently. People have been abducted. It's terrible. Of course, people are staying away from there in droves, so the artists are not selling much in the village. Ana asked if she could come up here and sell and I'm trying to help her. On Nov 21st from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM there will be a demonstration and sale in Tucson at Details, Art and Design Gallery at 3001 E. Skyline Drive. Funds from this event will directly benefit the potters of Mata Ortiz.

Thanks to Adrianne Rankin for contributing to today's newsletter.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Archaeoastronomy and Kivas

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

- Ohio Art Professor Studies Achaeoastronomy Links to Ancient Kivas in Southeastern Utah: Jim Krehbiel was up past midnight making a piece of art by layering maps and field notes onto photos he had taken of an ancient ritual site high on a cliff ledge in the desert Southwest. He looked at the image of the kiva and remembered how the ruins were nearly inaccessible. Krehbiel had to lower himself on a rope to reach them. Why, he wondered that night in the fall of 2007, would anyone build something so important in such a remote spot among the canyons and mesas? - Ohio Dispatch

- Retiring Mesa Verde Superintendent Highlights the Past and Future of the National Park: The local impacts of the new Mesa Verde visitors center topped the Mesa Verde National Park superintendent's final speech. The retiring Larry Wiese told the Cortez Chamber of Commerce he had come full circle since he delivered his first presentation as Mesa Verde's superintendent 16 years ago. "It really does feel right to come full circle. The timing is right to hand things off," he said, adding the visitor center is a go as soon as the president signs this year's national budget bill. Wiese said besides housing 3 million objects that have not had room to be displayed, the center will provide information designed to point tourists to Cortez, Dolores, Mancos and Montezuma County archeological attractions. - Durango Herald

- Apache Nations Requests Review of National Park Service Practice in Regards to NAGPRA: A group of Apache historic preservation officers is alleging that the National Park Service is improperly implementing the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act. In a letter sent to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in September, the Western NAGPRA working group said the NPS is allowing improper cataloguing of sacred and holy tribal items. The working group is composed of NAGPRA representatives from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Tonto Apache Tribe, and the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

- Social Inequality Found to Have Ancient Origins: he so-called “silver spoon” effect -- in which wealth is passed down from one generation to another -- is well established in some of the world’s most ancient economies, according to an international study coordinated by a UC Davis anthropologist. The study, to be reported in the Oct. 30 issue of Science, expands economists’ conventional focus on material riches, and looks at various kinds of wealth, such as hunting success, food-sharing partners and kinship networks. The team found that some kinds of wealth, like material possessions, are much more easily passed on than social networks or foraging abilities. Societies where material wealth is most valued are therefore the most unequal, said Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, the UC Davis anthropology professor who coordinated the study with economist Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute.

Thanks to Terry Colvin and Adrianne Rankin for contributing to today's newsletter.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Theory on Possible Clovis-Era Comet Impact Discounted

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

- Archaeologists Discount Possibility of Clovis-Era Comet Impact: A comet impact didn't set off a 1,300-year cold snap that wiped out most life in North America about 12,900 years ago, scientists say. Though no one disputes the occurrence of the frigid period, known as the Younger Dryas, more and more researchers have been unable to confirm a 2007 finding that says a collision triggered the change. Nicholas Pinter, a geologist at Southern Illinois University, argued that black mats described as charcoal in the 2007 research weren't actually charcoal. Instead they were from ancient, dark soil formed in a long-ago wetland, Pinter said. - National Geographic

- University of Vermont Studies at Fourmile Ruin: If you thought digging in the dirt stopped being a suitable summer activity in sixth grade, think again. For four weeks this July, seven UVM undergrads and two teaching assistants joined Scott Van Keuren, assistant professor of anthropology, on an excavation at Fourmile Ruin, the largest Ancestral Pueblo, or Anasazi village, in Eastern Arizona.

- Arizona Book Sale Offering Some Very Special Items to Benefit the Arizona State Museum Anthropology Library: "You can't read this book without thinking of people" wrote one reviewer of Anna Sherpard's "Ceramics for the Archaeologist." A first edition of that book, once owned by Emil Haury, sold this past weekend at the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society's used book sale. The sale continues! We have books once owned by Emil Haury and other Southwest legends for sale and silent auction. Here's a small sample: Reeve Ruin, Kiva Murals, Medallion Papers, Old Orabi, Swartz Ruin, Amerind Series, Pendleton Ruin, Excavation of Hawikuh, Red-on-buff Culture of the Gila Basin, Roosevelt:9:6, and many, many more. Missing an issue of Kiva or American Antiquity? We have some. The sale also includes other individually priced items with an emphasis on the archaeology and anthropology of the Southwest, Mexico, and South America. Sale will be held Saturday, Oct 31 at the Arizona State Museum, 9am - 12 pm.

- Anza Days Riders in Nogales Honor Historic Spanish Expedition to Found San Francisco: Horses clopped down Morley Avenue on Saturday, carrying riders dressed to recall the journey of Juan Bautista de Anza and his soldiers and settlers from Sonora to San Francisco in 1775-1776. It was the first Anza Day parade in Nogales and the number of riders fell short of what organizers had anticipated. But they traveled a paved stretch of the national historic trail that was dedicated only a year ago on Oct. 11, 2008. - Nogales International

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hopi Artists Michael Kabotie Passes

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

- Michael Kabotie Passes: A famous northeastern Arizona artist from the Hopi tribe has died in Flagstaff from complications of the H1N1 flu. Michael Kabotie passed away on Friday at the Flagstaff Medical Center. The 67-year-old was a renowned painter silversmith and poet. Among his many artist creations is a a gate that looks like a piece of overlay jewelry at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

- Historic Ranch in McElmo Canyon Divided, Subdivided, and then Auctioned Away: How did this happen? Seven thousand acres of ground — the desert part replete with pristine Anasazi ruins, the mountain land set deep in the National Forest — on the auction block, in an absolute sale. Twenty-one weathered patches in this quilt begun in the 1880s, one faded piece at a time. Sometimes a brighter patch would replace a worn one, but the quilt was never diminished in either size or quality.

- Tucson Suburb Seeks to Preserve Heritage Sites: Now 35 years old, Oro Valley wants residents to help the town explore its historical roots. The town is in the early phases of doing an inventory of its cultural resources with an eye toward protecting significant landmarks. "There's history that goes back decades and decades and we're just beginning to recognize that," said Paul Popelka, the town's Planning and Zoning acting director.

- Navajo Nation Examines Prospect of Purchasing Snowbowl: The Navajo Nation may try to buy a popular Arizona ski resort to stop snowmaking on one of the tribe’s most sacred mountains, the San Francisco Peaks. The Navajo Nation Council voted Wednesday to consider legislation that would allow the tribe to secure an appraisal and negotiate with the partners who own the Arizona Snowbowl outside Flagstaff. - Durango Herald

- BLM "Walking With Ancestors" Tour Of El Malpais Examines Chacoan Connections: How Chacoan was this valley? Downtown Chaco is today only 90 miles away by car… on a mud-free day. Were Chaco refugees and Mogollon influences closer? Alfred Dittert excavated and believed earlier construction happened during Chaco heydays. Dittert Site tree ring dates cluster from 1221 to 1279 with very few later. Is a great drought like then about to hammer us now? How did the ancients cope? How do we? BLM’s El Malpais National Conservation Area presents part 3 of its Fall 2009 Series, “Walking with the Ancestors”. Walk to the 37 room plus 1 round room, 2 story Dittert Site on Saturday, November 14th, 2009. Search for the elusive great kiva. Meet at the BLM ranger station on State Road 117 at 10:00 AM. Drive 28 miles (4X4 recommended) to the wilderness boundary. Hike 3 miles round trip. Rise 100 feet. See the beauty. Feel the mystery. Enjoy the company. 505.280.2918

- Lecture Opportunity (Blanding): "We Shall Remain - The Utah Voices" Today, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah is engaged in the long, slow climb back from near destruction by the invasion of European settlers and Mormon Pioneers. By the early 1900s, their numbers, once in the thousands, dwindled to less than 800. On Thursday evening, October 29th at 6:30 pm, the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum will present, “The Paiute,” the second part in the “ We Shall Remain: Utah Voices” series. The free program is funded by the Utah Humanities Council. The evening will begin with the viewing of the half-hour long documentary, The Paiute. Following the documentary, Shanan Martineau, who is the Cultural Resource Manager for the Shivwits Paiute Band, will lead the discussion about critical events in Utah Paiute history. The audience is encouraged to participate in the discussion and to ask questions.

- Lecture Opportunity (Albuquerque): Thursday, Nov. 12, 7:00 pm, in room Hibben 105, Eric Blinman will present “Archaeological Myths: New/Old Perspectives on Puebloan Migrations.” Archaeological perspectives on the history of the Northern Southwest have been shaped by two interrelated beliefs that may not be true. The first is the archaeological belief that modern Pueblo peoples, as a whole, are descendant from the ancient population known as the Four Corners Anasazi. The second is the anthropological belief that the variety expressed in modern Pueblo culture (when we bother to think about it) is a consequence of the past 400 years of acculturation piled onto another 400 years of response to the climate crises of the 13th century. These two perspectives have had strong but almost subliminal roles in shaping our reconstructions of Southwestern culture history, and they may have led us astray. The "real" story of Puebloan history may be simpler than we think. Museum stays open until 6:45.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tubac): Specialized Hohokam Villages are Topic of Santa Cruz Valley AAS Program November 12th. Archaeologist Matthew Pailes will give a presentation to the Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society on November 12, 2009, 7 PM, at the North County Facility at 50 Bridge Road in Tubac. His topic will be Cerros de Trincheras (“entrenched mountains”), a specialized type of Hohokam village found in the Santa Cruz river basin starting about 1300 AD. The presentation is free and open to the public.

- Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Publishes 2010 Course Schedule: The only Section 106 course taught by the federal agency responsible for administering the National Historic Preservation Act’s Section 106 review process, this two-day course is designed for those who are new to federal historic preservation compliance or those who want a refresher on the Section 106 regulations and review process.

Thanks to Gerald Kelso and Rebecca Stoneman for contributing to today's newsletter.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Major Clovis Discoveries at El Fin De Mundo, Sonora

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

- Researchers Report on Major Clovis Discovery in Sonora: Scientists have discovered a site containing the most extensive evidence seen so far in Mexico for the Clovis culture. The find extends the range of America's oldest identifiable culture, which roamed North America about 13,000 years ago. The bed of artifacts in the state of Sonora in northwest Mexico also includes the bones of an extinct cousin of the mastodon called a "gomphothere". The beast was probably hunted and killed by the Clovis people, known for their distinctive spear points, who mysteriously disappeared within about 500 years of leaving their first archeological traces.

- The Center for Desert Archaeology Launches New Website: We are pleased to announce that our new website is up and running. Check out, and let us know what you think. We hope that you are as pleased with the updated content and more streamlined organization as we are. And there is so much more to come! Stay tuned as we continue to develop this new digital resource.

- "Irrefutable" Evidence in the Case of Everett Ruess Refuted: A skeleton found in the Utah wilderness last year was not that of Everett Ruess, a legendary wanderer of the 1930s, despite initial forensic tests that seemed to have solved an enduring mystery, his nephew told The Associated Press. "The skeleton is not related to us," Brian Ruess, a 44-year-old software salesman in Portland, Ore., said late Wednesday.

- Friends of Arizona Archives Meeting Planned for Tuesday Oct 27 (Phoenix): Tuesday, October 27, 11:00 am at the Arizona State Library and Archives agency second floor conference room. This is in the 1938 addition to the state capitol on the second floor, 1700 W. Washington in Phoenix. Free parking available at Wesley Bolin Plaza.

- Nature Conservancy Presents the Hohokam of the Hassayampa River (Wickenburg): Find out who lived along the Hassayampa River in ancient times at The Nature Conservancy’s Hassayampa River Preserve 9-11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28. Maricopa County Park archaeologist Shelley Rasmussen will unravel the mysteries of the Hohokam and Yavapai cultures who inhabited the surrounding area. Class includes an introductory slide show and an easy walk around the preserve to explore where and how the Hohokam lived.

- Smoki Festival in Prescott This Saturday: Hopi tribal member and artist Michael Kabotie will give the keynote address at the event, talking about his "Journey of the Human Spirit." He will describe how he bridges the ancient Hopi world with modern American society, Nelson related. Kabotie and his late father Fred have been innovators in the Native American Fine Arts Movement, Nelson explained. Michael paints, creates jewelry and writes poetry.

- Lecture Opportunity (Reno): Dr. Pat Barker presents Prehistoric Sandals of the Great Basin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday as part of the Nevada State Museum's Frances Humphrey lecture series. The museum has some amazing sandals in its collection, including a 10,000-year-old sagebrush sandal currently on display in the Under One Sky exhibit.

- The Mississippian Site of Chucalissa Featured on the Archaeology Channel: Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the Chucalissa prehistoric site represents the widespread Mississippian Culture. Founded initially around A.D. 1000, Chucalissa village reached its peak around 1500 with the construction of large platform mounds around a central plaza. Part of a complex society and supported by farming and natural foods, the Native American people of this site traded throughout much of the Midwest and South. Since its rediscovery in 1940, the site has become an education center for the University of Memphis through the C. H. Nash Museum.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Southwestern Archaeology as Cultural Collaboration

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

- Southwestern Archaeology is Becoming a Tool For Collaboration, Rather than an Irritant for Native American Populations: From a Native perspective, archaeology has often been seen as the central villain in America’s quest to uncover and claim – and sometimes illegally market – the remnants of an ancient past. But if current trends are any indication, archaeology’s rehabilitation may be well underway, as Native scholars and students bring a living past into a vibrant present to offset a history marked by non-Native disrespect for tribal traditions, including those dictating burial practices.

- Charlie Gilbert Passes: Charles Gilbert passed away Saturday, October 10th. Charles initially recovered from surgery in December, but eventually succumbed to complications from pneumonia. Charlie was an active member of the Arizona Archaeology Society and made many personal contributions to southwestern archaeology. Arrangements for services and tributes have been provided by Brian Kenny.

- History of Southwestern Loot and Looting: The “pot-hunting” culture of the Southwest dates back to the 1800s, when a Colorado ranching family began exploring and excavating the ruined cliff dwellings of the Anasazi, an ancient civilization that flourished centuries ago. Richard Wetherill and his brothers discovered entire homes filled with decorated pottery, jewelry, tools, sandals and finely woven baskets dating from about 600 to 1300 A.D. Thousands of grave sites, where the dead were wrapped in blankets and buried with their most valuable possessions, also were discovered. The findings, and the archaeological treasures the Wetherills brought back from their expeditions, drew national and international attention – and launched a lucrative trade in Indian artifact collecting that has persisted, legally and illegally, to this day.

- City of Tucson Seeks Private Funding to Complete Historic Garden Project: The city of Tucson will pass the hat, hoping to rake in as much as $1 million in private donations, to help finish Rio Nuevo's Mission Gardens — the centerpiece of what voters approved 10 years ago. Although the city is eligible for about $600 million in state taxes for Rio Nuevo, most of that has been redirected to a Downtown hotel and arena, prompting the City Council to create a short-term and long-term plan to finish the Mission Gardens project through private donations.

- Taliesin West and Taos Pueblo Listed on World Monuments Fund Register of Threatened World Heritage Sites: From vanishing Kyoto merchant houses to the tourist-inundated ruins of Machu Picchu, heritage sites around the world are under pressure as never before, according to a New York-based preservation group. The World Monuments Fund on Tuesday re leased its biannual watch list of global architectural treasures at risk from urban development, tourism, neglect and bad planning.

- Archaeological Discoveries in Marana First Blamed for Delay in Park Construction, then Recognized as a Cultural Treasure: "The Indian artifacts were a surprise for the park. We knew about them when we were building the roadway, but they were a surprise to the park," Murray said, referring to last year's widening of North Silverbell Road along the west side of the park site. A local archaeology firm excavated and removed the items, he said. "That's really been our largest issue, has been the archaeology," Murray said. But in the end, with the three display sites being included, "our greatest obstacle has turned into one of Marana's finest treasures."

- Hohokam Axe Found at Mesa Community College: Construction workers at Mesa Community College unearthed a prehistoric Hohokam artifact while digging a trench for a main water line at the Southern Avenue and Dobson Road campus. Rick Effland, who has been an anthropology professor at MCC for over 20 years, identified the artifact as a three-quarter groove ax from the Hohokam Tribe that dates to 1100 to 1200 A.D. - Arizona Republic

- Event Planning for the Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month Begins: The event planning committee has determined that the 2010 AAHAM theme will be the "Save Our Past: We Need You!". The event listing form is provided at the link below. The completed forms are due on October 29, 2009 so that they may be published in the official event listing.

- Lecture Opportunity (Phoenix): The Deer Valley Rock Art Center, an archaeology museum located in northwest Phoenix, is pleased to invite you to a free lecture Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center. Well-known rock art scholar, Ekkehart Malotki will give a talk entitled “The ‘Deep Structure' of Non-Iconic Rock Art: Human Universals.”

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Tonight, Oct 19th, Hopi elder Eric Polingyouma presents "Hopi Migration History" at the DuVal Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. 7:30-9 p.m.

- (World Archaeology) Roger Atwood Suggests that Iraq Needs a Site Stewards Program: AS United States troops begin withdrawing from Iraq, we should take stock of the staggering damage that Iraq’s ancient archeological sites have suffered from looting over the last few years. After the 2003 invasion, swarms of looters dug huge pits and passages all over southern Iraq in search of cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals. At Isin, where a Sumerian city once stood, I watched men sifting through tons of soil for 4,000-year-old objects to sell to Baghdadi dealers. It was mass pillage.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Devastating Budget Cuts at the Arizona State Museum

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

- Devastating Budget Cuts at the Arizona State Museum: The Arizona State Museum has canceled the annual Southwest Indian Art Fair because of state budget cuts. The museum will look for new funding to save the two-day spring event, where Native American artists sold wares on the museum's lawn at the University of Arizona campus.

- Evidence from the Gault Site Continues to Refine our Understanding of the Clovis and Pre-Clovis Era: In a big white tent pitched near Buttermilk Creek, archaeologists and volunteers are on their knees, scraping away sticky black clay a few tablespoons at a time. They wash the dirt and screen it for stone shards, spear points and flakes from some 13,000 years ago. Little by little, those bits of stone are chipping away at long-held pictures of the earliest Americans, wiping away images that are still depicted in high school textbooks and museum dioramas.
- Sentences in Blanding Looting Case Expected to be Light to Non-Existent: Stepping into the afternoon sun last month, Jeanne Redd and her daughter Jericca walked away from a federal courthouse with probation papers - not prison time - for their role in the theft and illegal trafficking of Indian artifacts. Some, including one of the Salt Lake City's daily newspapers, expressed frustration that the judge didn't come down harder on the duo from southern Utah.

- Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Sponsors the Julian Hayden Paper Competition: In 1998, the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society inaugurated the annual Julian D. Hayden Student Paper Competition. Named in honor of long-time AAHS luminary, Julian Dodge Hayden , the winning entry will receive a cash prize of $500 and publication of the paper in Kiva, The Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History. The competition is open only to bona fide undergraduate and graduate students at any recognized college or university. Coauthored papers will be accepted only if all authors are students. Subject matter may include the anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics, and ethnology of the American Southwest and northern Mexico, or any other topic appropriate for publication in Kiva.

- Book Sale This Saturday (Tucson): Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Book Sale will be held in the Arizona State Museum South Building on the University of Arizona campus this Saturday, October 17th., from 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. [AAHS members admitted at 8:00 am]. Includes many hard-to-find anthropological titles at reasonable prices as well as general books starting at $2.00. Proceeds go to support the ASM library.

- Native American Recognition Days to Take Place in Phoenix: Native American Recognition Days are taking place throughout October and November. Many special events are planned in the Phoenix area including pow wows, street fairs, dances, concerts, lectures, book signings, native food preparation, and craft demonstrations. Most events are free, and all are open to the public. A full schedule of events is available at the link below.

- Vermont Governor Seeks to End CRM Practice with a "No New Sites" Policy: Currently the Act 250 process requires, under limited conditions, developers to contract with professional archaeologists in order to make sure unregistered historic and prehistoric sites, such as Native American burial grounds, are not damaged during the construction process without first being excavated and studied. Land forms are required to undergo testing if they meet the criteria of scientifically proven predictive models, such as proximity to water, lack of slope, etc.. Presently less than three percent of Act 250 applications require such testing. When such phase one testing is required, the average cost to individual developers is $5000-10,000. Douglas is seeking to eradicate this process.

Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Hopi Elder, Eric Polingyouma, will present his research into Hopi Migration history at the monthly Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society meeting, Monday, October 19th at 7:30 p.m. in DuVal Auditorium, UMC, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.

- Note: Contrary to the E-mail chain letter spreading across the Internet, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. is not stranded in London and he does not need money to pay travel debts.

Thanks to Terry Colvin and Tom Wright for contributions to today's newsletter.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Archaeology Cafe this Tuesday, A Personal Perspective on Blanding Looting Cases

Southwestern Archaeology Today - A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- Archaeology Cafe to Feature "Deserts, Diets, and Dentition: How the Introduction of Agriculture Affected Ancient Oral Health:" Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ. Free and open to the community-all are welcome. This month, we will be joined by Dr. James Watson, Assistant Curator of Bioarchaeology at the Arizona State Museum. As a bioarchaeologist, Jim examines health and disease in prehistoric populations through their skeletal remains. His work focuses in understanding prehistoric human adaptations in desert ecosystems and the role that local resources play in the adoption of agriculture--and the impact of these resources on oral health. Jim will discuss his current research projects, which examine oral health among the earliest farmers in the Sonoran Desert, and among incipient agriculturalists in the Atacama Desert along the northern coast of Chile.

- Blanding Archaeologist Winston Hurst Provides a Personal Perspective on Looting Issues: High above the spiky sandstone spine known as Comb Ridge that snakes for 120 miles through the desert, archaeologist Winston Hurst treads carefully through a cave of ruins. The sun blazes down, illuminating the ghostly dwellings carved into the alcoves more than a thousand years ago. To a stranger the pre-Columbian pueblo ruins seem breathtakingly intact -- walls and windows and rooms still standing, storage chambers for corn strewn with thousand-year-old cobs, large stone grinding slabs and brightly colored pottery sherds scattered throughout. The archaeologist sees only destruction.

- Tucson's Marist College May See Rebirth: Marist College dominates West Ochoa Street like a three-story vision of failure: It somehow failed to grasp modernity as 1960s urban renewal gutted surrounding barrios and left the banal Tucson Convention Center as a souvenir. But where man stumbled, nature seems eager to engage: Today, three corners of Marist College bear huge gray tarps, to protect them from further crumbling under furious monsoons. Another corner is bandaged in black plastic strips. On top, what appears to have been a triumphant cross is reduced to a pile of stone.

- NPS Preservation Training and Technology Grant is Funding Database for Research of Fibers -- Ohio State University is looking to provide ethnobotanists, archeologists and analysts with a new way to identify fibers found in prehistoric artifacts. Through a grant from NCPTT, the university is creating a database containing digital images, explanatory text and terminology.

- TUMACACORI, A Desert Treasure: Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. And though the crumbling church at Mission San Jose de Tumacacori, 30 miles north of the Mexican border, is well past its glory days, to me this sunbaked structure is nothing short of magnificent.
- Lecture Opportunity (Irvine): Pacific Coast Archaeological Society's October 8th meeting will feature Brett Wilson speaking on "The 'Desert Side' of Serrano Indian History." Meeting information: Thursday, October 8, 2009, 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA. Meeting is free and open to the public.

- The National Parks May be America's Best Idea, but the Parks face Serious Threats: On the heels of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, filmmaker Ken Burns’ new six-part love letter, comes National Parks in Peril [PDF], a sobering report released on Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO). The 25 most endangered parks are being threatened by dramatic declines in snow and water, by rising seas, extreme weather, the disappearance of native plants and wildlife, and by the onslaught of nonstop, human-generated pollution. The changes have already begun. - National Parks In Peril (PDF Document)

- Arizona Preservation Conference Scheduled: The 8th Annual Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference will take place in Flagstaff, May 13-14, 2010 at the du Bois Center on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Thanks to Carrie Gregory for contributing to today's newsletter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Excavations at Las Capas Come to an End

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

- Excavations at Las Capas Come to an End: The discovery of a prehistoric irrigation system in the Marana desert is giving archaeologists a deeper glimpse into one of the first groups of people to farm in the Tucson basin. "What we're looking at is, perhaps, the earliest sedentary village life in the Southwest with people depending on agriculture as a primary food source," said project director Jim Vint. For more than 3,000 years, an elaborate ancient irrigation system has remained hidden deep beneath the sand in Marana.

- NPI Seminar in Native Cultural Property and the Law: The National Preservation Institute presents "Native American Cultural Property Law" in Phoenix, AZ on December 8-9, 2009 in cooperation with the Public History Program, Department of History,
Arizona State University and the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office. Advance registration rate available through October 27, 2009. National NAGPRA Program scholarships may be available through NPI for this seminar. A registration form is available online at The advance registration rate is valid until October 27 - $375 (2 days). The regular registration rate after that date is $425. National NAGPRA Program scholarships may be available through NPI for this seminar see

- Traditional Indigenous Scholar Honored By Tohono O'odham Charitable Trust: Richard Goodridge is a self-made farmer, weaver and carver who is giving back to the Gila River Indian Community, where he lives near Phoenix. The 49-year-old is Maricopa and Apache, and since since the age of 8 he has been seeking knowledge about his heritage and culture. It started with the name — Shavillquinnor — that his grandmother gave him. It means "feather of many colors." The quest for knowledge that he now imparts to children, families and elders, through presentations at museums and to university students, has won him the trust's Golden Eagle Feather Award.

- Lecture Opportunity (Glendale): The Agua Fria Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society will offer a free lecture on excavations at Antler House Village at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Glendale Library Auditorium, 5959 West Brown St., south of Peoria Avenue. Membership is not required, and refreshments will be served.

- Southwest Symposium Update: The Southwest symposium web site has been updated with travel and hotel information. Please spread the word!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hopi Nation Restores Twin Arrows

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

- Hopi Tribe Restores and Plans to Reopen Historic Route 66 Icon: It started with the arrows. The iconic namesakes of Twin Arrows, once reduced to battered telephone poles leaning into the wind that sweeps across Interstate 40, now glisten red and gold, new heads and fletchings -- tail feathers -- in place after a recent volunteer restoration effort. But refurbishing the arrows wasn't so much about public art or tidiness as preserving a piece of culture and opening up a new economic portal, both for Flagstaff and the area Native Americans who hope to return the old rest stop to its former glory. In its halcyon days, Twin Arrows -- a rest stop at exit 219, about 20 miles east of Flagstaff -- was a slice of Americana, a gas station, diner and souvenir central for travelers along the famed Route 66; it operated for about 60 years before closing in 1998. Well before that, it was a trading post for the Hopi, who left petroglyphs etched into the walls of nearby Padre Canyon.

- Passport in Time Volunteers Work to Preserve the Past on the Arizona Strip: History can be found in a variety of places by those interested enough to seek it out. Museum display cases, interpretive signs and thick volumes on library shelves come to mind. But before those facts, dates and stories can be made so accessible, someone has to gather all the little pieces and figure out how they fit together. For history buffs fortunate enough to visit the Arizona Strip, those “pieces” are often still found scattered in the dust where they’ve sat undisturbed for many lifetimes. “To think that you’re probably the first person to touch this in 1,000 years; that gets me every time,” said Brent Layton, as he held up one of many small, textured pottery fragments scattered about an ancient pueblo site on the North Kaibab Ranger District. - The Spectrum.Com

- Hike into El Malpais National Conservation Area this Weekend! El Malpais National Conservation Area Offers Hike to a Seldom Seen Mesa Top Site: Enjoy archaeology amid the Fall plants, volcanoes & migrating birds in the Cebolla wilderness. Hike 3 miles
round trip to the Citadel, from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM on Saturday, September 26th (600 ft elevation rise). Discover how the ancestors lived vs. how we live. Explore clues on their views of the heavens, culture and politics, along with their building and food. Bring at least 2 quarts of water and protection from weather. Options: binoculars for the views and the migrating birds; hiking poles for the steeper parts; & camera for the views and the amazing rock art. 505.280.2918

- Historical Photos from Wilcox Arizona Published: The just released "Images of America: Willcox," combines selected photographs from 1880 to the early 1950s depicting the cattle town's rich western history, including "true tales of Apache Indians, train robberies and shootings." The Images of America series, published by Arcadia Publishing, preserves the local heritage of neighborhoods, towns and cities across the country using archival photographs that tell distinctive stories from the past. The photographic books preserve and make history available to everyone.

- Sales "Uneven" at Indian Market: Each year at the end of the summer, more than a thousand American Indian artists converge in Santa Fe, N.M., to sell their work at Indian Market. It's the largest showcase of its kind, and a place for artists, museum curators and tourists to mix. At dawn of the first day, the sluggish economy isn't immediately apparent as artists inch along in bumper-to-bumper traffic on their way to set up their booths along the plaza. But there is some anxiety mixed in with the cool mountain air.

- (Geology News) The International Commission on Stratigraphy Moves the Quaternary Temporal Boundary Back 800,000 Years: It has long been agreed that the boundary of the Quaternary Period should be placed at the first sign of global climate cooling," said Professor Philip Gibbard. "What we have achieved is the definition of the boundary of the Quaternary to an internationally recognised and fixed point that represents a natural event, the beginning of the ice ages on a global scale."

Thanks to Margaret Hangan for contributing to today's newsletter.