Monday, January 19, 2009

Rio Nuevo News, Significant Findings from Icelandic DNA, Stowe Memorial

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

- Latest Design Concepts for Rio Nuevo, Part II: Economics, City Council reluctance and a public uproar about the cost of the University of Arizona's initial proposal for its Science Center at Rio Nuevo caused the consolidation of the center and the Arizona State Museum building at the site. Architect Rafael Viñoly's $350 million Rainbow Bridge design, which would have spanned the Santa Cruz River and Interstate 10, will now use construction techniques that are "a lot like a precast-concrete parking garage," according to Viñoly's nephew and project director, Rafael Viñoly-Menendez. Bob Smith, UA vice president for Facilities Design and Construction, said the scaled-down design recognizes that "what's most important is what's inside these buildings."

- Mammoth Remains Begin Journey to Rio Nuevo: The opening of the Arizona State Museum at Rio Nuevo is three years away, optimistically, but its oldest artifact has already been moved. A cache of mammoth bones, containing the spear points of the migrant Clovis-era hunters who slew the beast 13,000 years ago, made its way last Friday from the museum's venerable building on the south side of the UA Mall to its conservation laboratory on the north side of the mall. The display was wrapped, loaded on a cart and pushed very carefully up ramps, down Park Avenue and over elevator thresholds, said conservator Nancy Odegaard.

- Higher Rates of Genetic Drift Found in Icelandic Populations: Archaeological and historical records suggest individuals from the British Isles and Scandinavia settled Iceland about 1,100 years ago. Based on studies of today's Icelanders, researchers have suggested that less than 40 percent of Icelandic mtDNA — representing matrilinear ancestry — originated in Scandinavia, while as much as 75 to 80 percent of their paternal ancestry, gauged by Y-chromosome DNA, is Scandinavian. That is consistent with the notion that Scandinavian men, namely Vikings, frequently settled the area with women from other regions. - Genome Web Daily News

- Sustainability and the Hohokam: The Earth is warming. The economy is reeling. The housing market has collapsed, and the future is unclear. We drink coffee from a paper cup, talk about the environment, the need for sustainability. A mound of dirt and rock near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport can tell us much about sustaining life in the desert. That mound now is part of a museum, but archaeologist Todd Bostwick believes it was built as a temple of sorts by the Hohokam, who lived in the Sonoran Desert for 1,000 years.

- Memorial Tribute to Noel Stowe Set for January 31: Dear colleagues and friends, we invite you to attend a memorial tribute and celebration of the life of Noel Stowe, who died December 13 of last year. The tribute will take place on Saturday, January 31, in the Carson Ballroom of Old Main from 2-4 pm. We look forward to seeing you. For more information and to RSVP, contact Norma Villa, 480-965-5779,

- Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Urges Obama Administration to Properly Consult on Eagle Matters: Federal laws require the United States government to consult with Indian tribes on eagle matters, but the SRPMIC said these laws have been disregarded. According to the SRPMIC, the Fish and Wildlife Service has continually failed to respond to requests for individual meetings with tribal officials; scheduled meetings with tribes only days before expiration of comment deadlines; refused tribal requests to extend comment deadlines; declined to act on comments submitted by tribes; and failed to adequately recognize the importance of the eagle species to tribal culture, religious, historic, and environmental interests. -

- Utah Museum of Natural History Prepares for New, State-of-the-Art Facility: Moving a museum is not something you do every day. Nor it is something that can be done in a day — or even in weeks and months. And that's why the staff and volunteers at the Utah Museum of Natural History — now, when the new museum is barely more than a big hole in the ground; now, while completion is as least a couple of years away — are already starting to focus on their Big Move.,5143,705278106,00.html?pg=1

- Position Announcement (closing date 01/21/2009), Cultural Resources Program Manager, Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs: Reporting to the Natural & Cultural Resources Manager and under general direction, the Cultural Resources Program Manager performs professional, administrative, and field work assignments required for managing a major cultural resources management program. Coordinates with the Facilities Management Office on all future construction related projects on all Arizona Army National Guard managed military training lands and installations. Serves as the project manager on cultural resources projects conducted by outside contractors, including Environmental Assessments, Section 106 consultation, tribal consultation, integrated cultural resource management plans, and historic buildings. Provides major input for rules / regulations and policy / procedure development/modification in cultural resources on all Arizona Army National Guard managed training lands. Ensures compliance with Federal, State, and Army regulations. More information is available at the following link. -

- Workshop Opportunity, Flintknapping and Arrowhead-making: On Saturday, January 24, flintknapper Allen Denoyer will teach a hands-on workshop on making arrowheads and spearpoints out of stone. The class is designed to help modern people understand how prehistoric Native Americans made and used artifacts, and is not intended to train students how to make artwork for sale. The workshop will take place at Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, 2201 W. 44th Street, Tucson, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. There is a fee, and places are limited. For more information and to make required reservations, contact Old Pueblo at 520-798-1201 or

Thanks to Brian Kenny for his contribution to today's newsletter.