Friday, January 16, 2009

Rio Nuevo Designs Presented, Report on Excavations at Las Capas Released, Upcoming Lecture on Archaic Rock Art in Texas

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

- University of Arizona Science Center, Arizona State Museum Present Latest Design Concepts for Rio Nuevo: The University of Arizona Science Center and Arizona State Museum building at Rio Nuevo has been pared back considerably from the iconic Rainbow Bridge first envisioned by architect Rafael Vinoly, but the new boxier design has a couple of advantages, university officials said Wednesday — it can be built on time and within budget.

- Discovery of Possible Mammoth Tusk on Santa Cruz Island: A complete tusk believed to belong to a prehistoric mammoth was uncovered on Santa Cruz Island off the Southern California coast, researchers reported Tuesday. If the discovery is confirmed, it would mean the tusked beasts roamed 62,000-acre Santa Cruz Island more widely than previously thought. - Los Angeles Times

-Las Capas Publication Available Now: The Center for Desert Archaeology announces the release of Las Capas: Early Irrigation and Sedentism in a Southwestern Floodplain (Anthropological Paper No. 28), edited by Jonathan Mabry. This volume summarizes the results of archaeological data recovery fieldwork at the Early Agricultural period site of Las Capas undertaken by Desert Archaeology, Inc., personnel in 1998. The Arizona Department of Transportation requested the work as part of a project to construct a redesigned on-ramp to the Interstate 10 highway in the western Tucson Basin, southern Arizona. The book sells for $24.95 and can be purchased directly from the Center for Desert Archaeology ( or 520-882-6946).

- Professor Barbara Mills to Give 15th Annual Distinguished Archaeology Lecture at UC Boulder: A renowned expert on the ancient Pueblo people of Chaco Canyon will give a free public lecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder on January 24. Barbara Mills, professor and chair of the anthropology department at the University of Arizona, will discuss new interpretations of ancient Chacoan society. Mills said the Chacoan society cannot be fully appreciated without understanding the social networks of the 10th through 12th centuries, including how these networks were created and maintained through "social memory."

- Two Phoenix-Based CRM Firms Announce Merger: Soil Systems, Inc. has completed a merger with PaleoWest Solutions in Archaeology. Based in downtown Phoenix, SSI is a 25-year-old archaeological consulting firm that enjoys one of the finest reputations for scientifically outstanding archaeology in the American Southwest. PaleoWest is a 3-year-old archaeological firm that recently re-headquartered to the historic Oldaker House at 649 N. 3rd. Ave. in downtown Phoenix. SSI President Cory Breternitz will serve as Principal and Senior Archaeologist for PaleoWest. More information is available at the following link.

- Penn's Museum Director Responds to Protests over Layoffs: These days, finding a balance between academics and economics is crucial. That balance motivated the museum's administrators to discontinue 18 research specialist positions at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology last November, effective May 31. But more than 2,000 people in a variety of fields around the world signed an online petition, posted Jan. 7, claiming the museum went too far. - The Daily Pennsylvanian

- Gila Archaeological Project Field School Investigates Apache, Buffalo Soldier Battlesites: During the summer of 2008, the Black Range Ranger District of the Gila National Forest hosted the Gila Archaeological Project Field School, where numerous Apache and Buffalo Soldier battles occurred from 1860 through the 1890s. Field participants included two students from the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in Mescalero, N.M., and 10 university students from Howard University and Indiana University. Howard University is a private, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., while Indiana University is located in Bloomington, Ind.

- Pablita Velarde Honored with New Historic Marker: The state Historic Preservation Division has announced that it has approved eight new scenic historic markers that highlight the past of a dozen New Mexico counties. Among those recognized by the markers is a prominent American Indian painter whose works hang in museums in New York and San Francisco. Pablita Velarde was just 19 when she was commissioned to create scenes of traditional Pueblo culture for the museum at Bandelier National Monument as part of a New Deal program. - Santa Fe New Mexican

- Nevada Boomtown Named as a "Distinctive Destination": The National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2009 Dozen Distinctive Destinations range from a quintessential New England waterfront community to an Old West boomtown. Virginia City, Nevada, a historic mining boomtown, is among this year's selections. Mansions, saloons and old mines provide a backdrop for silver and gold rush lore and a glimpse into life on the frontier. -

- The Truth About Kokopelli: Modern marketers use the image of Kokopelli to sell everything from beer to skis. It's almost impossible to walk into an art gallery in the Southwest without seeing a rendition of the flute-playing hunchbacked character many view as a fertility god. The problem with this conception is that it is both inaccurate and offensive to Hopis.

- Lecture Opportunity, "Drawing from the Past: Interpreting the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos, Texas Archaic," by Dr. Carolyn Boyd, Executive Director of the Shumla School. Lecture sponsored by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, 7:30 pm, Monday, January 19, DuVal Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson.

- Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month Posters Available for Distribution: The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is pleased to announce that the posters for the March celebration of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month (AAHAM) are ready! The posters feature a wonderful aerial photograph by Adriel Heisey of the Pueblo Grande Ruins in their urban Phoenix setting. Please help save the State of Arizona funds by picking up your posters directly from our office, if you can. Copies are located outside of the SHPO office, on the 2nd floor, just beyond the elevators; you will need to check with the Arizona State Parks receptionist in order to get access to the 2nd floor. Thank you for your assistance in distributing the posters and posting them for the public to see. More information on 2009 AAHAM and the Archaeology Expo is available at the following link.