Monday, January 26, 2009

AIA Claims Discovery Channel Profiting From Looting, Apache Playing Cards Talk at Heard North

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

- American Institute of Archaeology Claims Discovery Channel is Profiting from the Looting of Underwater Sites: Shipwrecks! Treasure! Gold, gold, gold! The hallmarks of treasure-hunting are the stuff of adventure stories, more than fun enough to make archaeologists, who are mounting increasing complaints against the pillaging of sunken ships, seem like wet blankets. But more is at stake than just a few loose doubloons, they say. "The big picture is that a fair amount of humanity's past we don't know, and it's important we don't let it become lost forever," says maritime archaeologist James Delgado, head of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. - USA Today

- Lecture Opportunity, Apache Playing Cards at Heard North: While other American Indian groups enjoyed playing cards, only the Apaches appeared to have crafted their own deck. Hand-painted on horsehide rectangles, the 40-card deck at first resembled the Spanish deck from which it was adopted. The Chiricahuas and Western Apaches later came to design their own cards and invented new games and new tales of how they learned of the cards, said Alan Ferg, archivist at the Arizona State Museum.Ferg will share more about the culture of Apache playing cards Wednesday at the Nights at North presentation at Heard Museum North Scottsdale. 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday Jan 28, 10 dollars. - Arizona Republic

- Ancient Responses to Catastrophe in the Southwest: The earth trembled. The rock smoldered. The forest burned. And the holy man danced, his turquoise and coral beads bouncing on the chest of his finely woven tunic. The low wall of glowing lava rolled inexorably toward him at a slow walk, swallowing everything in its path with a gulp of flame and smoke. The shaman danced up to the edge of the molten rock, feeling its heat on his face. Then he bent down before the molten rock, with the grace of a bow, and arranged three ears of corn in front of it — an offering, a frail prayer. Then he danced backward, chanting — as the lava took the corn in a gulp, then rolled on toward the holy man’s doomed village — unappeased. Countless such scenes no doubt attended the most recent volcanic outpouring in the 8-million-year process of building Mount Humphreys, the tallest mountain in Arizona. Archaeologists have unearthed the ash-smothered villages, and the lava-created casts of the corn placed carefully in the lava’s path. - Payson Roundup

- Hohokam Irrigation System Documented In Mesa: Less than 360 yards away from where the Wenzlaus played with their grandchildren, the faint remnants of those ancient canals straddle a languishing state of resilience and invisibility. You can’t see them with the naked eye. “Through satellite imagery, sometimes we can actually see the canals, kind of a signature of them,” said Jerry B. Howard, curator of anthropology at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. “The soil in them is different than the other soil around them — more porous and moist — still conducting water, if you will.”

- National Park Archetype - Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument: This monument of slickrock, ancient rock writing, American Indian ruins and three natural bridges is one of the most remote and least populated places in the lower 48 states. The nearest town is Blanding, 40 miles to the east. Though reasonably close to Monument Valley, Lake Powell and Canyonlands National Park, Utah¹s first national monument and one of the first dozen in the nation requires effort to visit. Tourists must really want to come here. Perhaps that is part of its magic.