Monday, January 12, 2009

Climate Change May Recreate Ancient Southwestern Climate, Twin Migrations Postulated for the Peopling of the Americas

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

- Climate Change May Send Southwestern Environments Back to Ancient Conditions: Why did the ancestral Puebloans move? One theory: climate change. A megadrought coincided with the abandonment of the Four Corners region of the US in the late 1200s, where they’d lived for perhaps 1,000 years. The drought link is less clear in settlements like Bandelier in north-central New Mexico, abandoned by 1550. But soil exhaustion from centuries of farming and deforestation may have also played a role, says Rory Gauthier, archaeologist at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. - Christian Science Monitor

- New Theory on the Peopling of the Americas Posits Two Distinct Migrating Groups: Diversity ruled among the first American settlers. Within a relatively short time span, at least two groups of people trekked across a land bridge from Asia to Alaska and then went their separate ways, one down the Pacific Coast and the other into the heart of North America, a new genetic study suggests. A team led by geneticist Antonio Torroni of the University of Pavia in Italy estimates that these separate migrations into the New World occurred between 17,000 and 15,000 years ago. - Science News

- Restoration and Preservation Complete on the West Tower of San Xavier del Bac: It's a jewel in our desert. But at more than 200 years old, Mission San Xavier del Bac has needed some major polishing. Now an important milestone has been reached: The restoration of the west tower. When you see San Xavier you immediately know why it's called the White Dove of the Desert. It sparkles where it sits, on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. And now, the west tower sparkles even more. If you take a closer look, you'll see the difference between the west tower and the east tower of the church. We were there Tuesday to see the "new" west tower. "This is our community landmark and it's worth every penny and every effort that we've put into it," architect Bob Vint says. He and the Morales family of masons have been working on the church's west tower for five years. Could the Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino have known that the Catholic mission he founded in 1692 would still be with us. The current church was finished in 1797.

- Research, Scholarship, and Travel Grant Opportunities, Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society: Awards are offered to students and researchers who are members of AAHS and involved in the study of archaeology, anthropology, American Indian studies, ethnohistory, and history of the Greater Southwest. Applications must be postmarked no later than February 15, 2009. Awards will be made by the AAHS Board of Directors and announced during Arizona Archaeology Month. All of the details, including instructions and application forms, are available at the following link. - Ms Word Document

- Talk Details Archaeology of a Village Site on the Upper San Pedro: The construction of the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2007 led to the find of a prehistoric village east of the San Pedro River. Some of those findings were presented Thursday evening to the Tubac/Santa Cruz County Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society. Twenty people attended the event. “The San Pedro is a special place,” said archaeologist Maren Hopkins, the project director. Hopkins said the village was probably the biggest data recovery project that she has directed. The 27-year-old has been digging for 10 years in many places in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.

- Small Puebloan Village Found Near Las Vegas: A team of scientists exploring Springs Preserve with remote-sensing gear have found what is believed to be a prehistoric village of pit houses where as many as 30 Anasazi lived about 1,300 years ago, the preserve's archaeologist said Friday. The discovery of two and possibly four pit house structures was made "in the last few days" by researchers from Ithaca College in New York who used ground-penetrating radar to probe beneath topsoil in the northwest corner of the 180-acre preserve along U.S. Highway 95, Springs Preserve Archaeologist Patti Wright said.

- Public Lands - Private Ceremonies: Conflicts which arise over the use of public lands by the dominant culture, for either extractive or non-extractive purposes, and which are inconsistent with traditional religious or cultural uses made of the same lands by Native Americans, will be explored January 21 from 7-9PM at the Wittemyer Courtroom at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. Speakers include Patty Limerick (CU Boulder), LouAnn Jacobson (Canyons of the Ancients NM), Robert Lawrence (Davis, Graham & Stubbs) and Steve Moore (NARF). A presentation of the Boulder County Bar Association and Center of the American West, CLE credit is available. - MS Word Document

- Deer Valley Rock Art Center Now Available as a Venue for Private Ceremonies: Imagine reciting your wedding vows at sunset in the midst of looming hills and ancient petroglyphs, with desert wildlife joining the crowd of well-wishers. This scenario now can be a reality, thanks to Arizona State University’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center, which has begun offering the use of the center and its facilities for weddings and other private events.

- Volunteers Needed for Arizona Archives Dedication Ceremony: At long last, the day has nearly arrived. But before the building has the official dedication on January 15, one more request for help. We are asking folks to get in touch if they are willing and able to volunteer for the event next Thursday, January 15. We need folks to set-up, direct people to parking, staff registration tables, and clean-up. Plenty of opportunity! We have 250 reservations so far, and are planning for up to 300 people attending. We will have a two-sided tent, heaters, speakers' platforms, the works. This is our day to shine. A continental breakfast will be available after 8:15 (yes, we are feeding you!). Please let me know if would like to volunteer. I would like folks to contact me directly via email at:

- Archaeological Field Training to be Offered at Old Pueblo Archaeology: Old Pueblo Archaeology Center is offering training in archaeological survey methods as part of a research project to identify and record archaeological sites that may be present near the Picture Rocks petroglyphs site northwest of Tucson. Training will be provided in archaeological site identification, recording, and interpretation; use of degree-reading compass and global positioning systems equipment; interpretation of aerial photographs and topographic maps; photography; and other archaeological methods. Archaeological field school session on cultural resources survey techniques led by archaeologist Allen Dart, RPA, starting at the Picture Rocks Redemptorist Renewal Center, 7101 W. Picture Rocks Road, Tucson. Saturday January 17, 2009, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. $20. Advance reservations and Old Pueblo Archaeology Center membership at Individual or higher level required: 520-798-1201 or

- Native Musicians to Gather at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument: Traditional Native American musicians from across the nation will be gathering at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument for the first Native American Music Festival from Feb. 13 to 15. Discussion regarding the festival began about a year ago when Ruins Superintendent Jason Lott and several staff members got together to brainstorm ideas for an annual event at the historic sitew. At first it was unclear as to what the event would be, but those involved knew its main focus had to be awareness of the monument and bringing in more visitors. - Tri Valley Central

- Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Offers Section 106 Training: The ACHP is pleased to announce its very popular Section 106 training schedule for 2009. We are offering the 106 Essentials courses in 6 locations, and the Advanced Section 106 Seminar in 8 locations. All courses are taught by highly knowledgeable ACHP staff who are engaged both on a daily basis and have practical hands-on experience with Section 106 issues. Attendees taking our courses receive an added benefit from the expertise that our instructors bring to the course.

- Employment Opportunity (Washington): The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is pleased to announce it is now recruiting an Assistant Director for the Federal Property Management section (GS-14) position in its Office of Federal Agency Programs (OFAP), Washington, DC. OFAP conducts Section 106 reviews, provides technical assistance, training, and guidance for Section 106 users, and works to improve federal agency programs as they relate to historic properties. Among its other duties, OFAP is responsible for developing a Report to the President under Executive Order 13287 on the state of federal stewardship and interacts directly with federal agencies, State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, Indian tribes, and the public on historic preservation issues across the country. - USA Jobs

Thanks to Gerald Kelso and Terry Colvin for contributions to today's newsletter.