Monday, January 5, 2009

Mining and Gas Drilling Threatening Aztec Ruins and Petrified Forest - Free Guide to Sec 106 Tribal Consultation Online

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

- Mining and Gas Wells Planned for Aztec Ruins National Monument and Petrified Forest National Park? Drilling and mining may soon be affecting Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona and Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico, according to an internal Interior Department document released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Only plummeting commodity prices caused by the current recession have delayed groundbreaking for new natural gas wells and potash mining in or adjacent to the parks.

- John Fowler Announces Online Publication of Free Guide to Tribal Consultation in the Section 106 Process: I am delighted to announce the release of an exciting new publication, Consultation with Indian Tribes in the Section 106 Process: A Handbook. This handbook is a landmark guide to the federal responsibility for tribal consultation in the Section 106 review process. In an easy-to-follow question-and-answer format, the handbook clearly outlines the parameters of tribal consultation both for projects located both off—and on—tribal lands. The handbook provides valuable and insightful tools and tips that will greatly increase the effectiveness of federal consultation with Indian tribes. The primary target audience is federal agencies but the handbook will be of great use to all Section 106 participants. The handbook is available to download for free at the link below.

- Reminder - Archaeology Cafe in Tucson, Tuesday Night " Human Adaptation to Catastrophic Events: Lessons from the 11th Century A.D. Eruption of Sunset Crater Volcano ." What happens when your world seems to come to an end? Archaeologist Mark Elson shares the story of the prehistoric farming communities that lived around Sunset Crater Volcano at the time of its eruption in the 11th century A.D. Learn what happened to the refugees and how their agricultural strategies-and indeed their worldview-were forever changed. Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm on the patio at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ. Free and open to the community-all are welcome. Guests are encouraged to support our host, Casa Vicente, by buying their own food and drinks.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tubac): Archaeologist Maren Hopkins will talk on Thursday, Jan 8 about working in the U.S.-Mexico political borderlands environment and the results of the archaeological excavation she conducted at the border in Southeast Arizona near the San Pedro River last year. Her discussion will cover details of the results of the archaeological remains that were unearthed there. The discussion will take place during the Tubac/SSC Arizona Archaeological Society meeting in Tubac starting at 5 p.m. with a potluck and at 6 p.m. with the program at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. There is no charge for the event, though donations are appreciated.

- Texas Archaeological Society Offers Archaeology Academy Training Sessions: Learn how to identify, test, and properly record archeological sites; study lithic tool production; explore prehistoric ceramic identification; discover the world of rock art. Each of these topics is covered by TAS Archeology Academy classes, held in classroom and field sessions located around the state. Refine and expand your expertise in archeological excavation during the summer Field School. Participate in recording Rock Art in the field during winter holidays, spring break or summer vacation.

- Scientific American Examines Clovis-Era Comet Impact Theory: Roughly 12,900 years ago, massive global cooling kicked in abruptly, along with the end of the line for some 35 different mammal species, including the mammoth, as well as the so-called Clovis culture of prehistoric North Americans. Various theories have been proposed for the die-off, ranging from abrupt climate change to overhunting once humans were let loose on the wilds of North America. But now nanodiamonds found in the sediments from this time period point to an alternative: a massive explosion or explosions by a fragmentary comet, similar to but even larger than the Tunguska event of 1908 in Siberia.

- Utah Heritage Foundation Seeks Nominations for Historic Preservation Efforts: The Utah Heritage Foundation is seeking nominations for its annual Heritage Awards honoring excellence in historic preservation throughout Utah. The purpose of the awards is to recognize projects, organizations, agencies and individuals that exemplify the highest standards within the preservation movement. Utah Heritage Foundation accepts nominations in December and January for projects completed in 2008. If you know of a project, individual or group deserving of statewide recognition, complete a nomination form by Jan. 15. For more information, contact UHF public outreach director Alison Flanders at 533-0858, ext. 101. - Deseret News

- Summer Institute Program to Celebrate the Legacy of Aldo Leopold: Next year, 2009, marks the 100th anniversary of ecologist Aldo Leopold’s arrival in the Southwest. Fresh from his classes in forestry at Yale, the 22-year-old Iowan stepped off the train in Arizona in 1909 and would remain in the region until embarking for Wisconsin in 1924. Although Leopold wrote his influential work in Wisconsin after leaving the Southwest, there is little doubt his thinking was shaped by his experiences in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. Aldo Leopold never saw A Sand County Almanac in print, having suffered a heart attack while fighting a grass fire a year before its publication. He might be surprised to learn that his collection of essays helped create the discipline of environmental ethics, that his ideas are central to contemporary issues such as “sense of place” and sustainability, and that his text is taught across disciplines beyond the natural sciences, including literature, history, and philosophy – a variety we hope to see represented among the institute’s participants. To acknowledge Leopold’s centrality to our understanding of the environment, and to celebrate his ongoing legacy, many academic and public events are being planned in Arizona and New Mexico throughout 2009, most of which are described at the Aldo Leopold Centennial Celebration website.

- Arizona State Archives Building to be Dedicated Jan 15: No more grandma's attic for the state's important papers and keepsakes. Instead, the new Archives Building is a technological and climate-controlled wonder, especially when compared with the nearly 100-year-old space that housed everything from the original state Constitution to Wyatt Earp's extradition papers. The $38 million Polly Rosenbaum History and Archives Building, which opened late last fall, is being dedicated next week at a ceremony open to the public. It's named after a long-serving lawmaker who was devoted to historic preservation and has already been dubbed "the Polly building."

Thanks to Gerald Kelso, Brian Kenny, and Pam Wheat for contributions to today's newsletter.