Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rio Nuevo Open House in Tucson, March 14, Lecture on the Hohokam in Phoenix Tonight, Another Comet Impact Theory!

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

- Public Open House on Tucson's Rio Nuevo Project Scheduled for Jan 14: The University of Arizona will be presenting a design progress update on the University of Arizona Science Center (UASC) and Arizona State Museum (ASM) project, which is part of the City of Tucson's downtown redevelopment project. UASC will be a new state-of-the-art science based center connecting the expertise generated at the UA with the community. The new Arizona State Museum facility will provide easy access for the community and visitors to its unparalleled collections of Southwestern art and archaeology.

- Lecture Opportunity (Phoenix): Center for Desert Archaeology Preservation Archaeologist Jeffery Clark will present "What Became of the Hohokam," in which he will present the results of an extensive research project into the demise of the Hohokam. This research used information from 4000 major sites in the Coalescent Communities Database, 29 test excavations in the San Pedro River Valley, and an analysis of extensive collections from Arizona Museums. The talk starts tonight, Jan 8th, at the Pueblo Grande Museum Community Room, 4619 E. Washington Street, at 7:30 pm, as part of the monthly meeting of the Phoenix Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society.

- More Ancient Comet Impacts? Multiple comet impacts around 1500 years ago triggered a "dry fog" that plunged half the world into famine. Historical records tell us that from the beginning of March 536 AD, a fog of dust blanketed the atmosphere for 18 months. During this time, "the sun gave no more light than the moon", global temperatures plummeted and crops failed, says Dallas Abbott of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. The cause has long been unknown, but theories have included a vast volcanic eruption or an impact from space. Now Abbott and her team have found the first direct evidence that multiple impacts caused the haze. - New Scientist

- Recent Findings in the Amazon Point to Unique Social Adaptations to Life Within Rain Forests: Rainforests are often thought of as virgin habitats: in other words, pristine ecosystems unaltered by the hand of man. A moment’s thought shows that this cannot truly be so. People do live in rainforests, and where people live they must alter things. But the fact that those who live there these days tend to make their living by hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants may suggest that Homo sapiens could, in principle, be just another forest species—a natural part of the ecosystem that alters it only to the extent that any species inhabiting it would. To that extent, the forest is still “virgin”. In the world’s largest rainforest, though, this argument no longer holds. The past few years have brought evidence suggesting that parts of the Amazon forest were settled and farmed before Europeans arrived in the area.

- Archaeological Tragedies in Iraq on the Archaeology Channel: The destruction and theft of cultural patrimony at the Iraq Museum in 2003 highlights the ongoing threat to mankind’s legacy. This tragedy and its aftermath are recounted in some detail in The Iraq Museum: The Loss of a Nation’s Memory, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

Thanks to Terry Colvin for contributions to today's newsletter.