Friday, February 27, 2009

Little Colorado Heritage Area Progress, Archaeological Preservation in New Mexico, Archaeology Cafe in Tucson

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

- Progress on the Little Colorado River Valley National Heritage Area: The Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo tribes aren’t officially onboard yet, but Gallup and the Arizona cities of Flagstaff, Holbrook, and Winslow have offered their support. The project in question is the creation of the proposed Little Colorado River Valley National Heritage Area that includes much of northern Arizona and a corner of northwest New Mexico. The Center for Desert Archaeology, located in Tucson, has been working with communities in the area to develop a proposal for the area, which generally encompasses the watershed of the Little Colorado River. Official designation comes from Congress.

- Independent Reporter Questions Archaeological Preservation in New Mexico: Signs of ancient life are everywhere in New Mexico. Consider the Galisteo Basin, just outside the city of Santa Fe, where hundreds of archaeological sites blanket the ground. These range from drawings etched hundreds of years ago onto boulders and scatters of flaked stone—where someone sat and chipped a tool, leaving behind bits and pieces of rock—to entire villages and sacred ceremonial structures.

- Archaeology Cafe in Tucson, March 3 to Explore the Clovis Comet Hypothesis: The Center for Desert Archaeology and Casa Vicente invite you to the sixth meeting of Archaeology Café, a casual, happy hour-style discussion forum dedicated to promoting community engagement with cultural and scientific research. Visit for more information on this exciting grassroots movement. This month, geophysicist Allen West discusses the internationally-debated theory that an enormous space object—probably a fragmented comet—exploded over the northern hemisphere 12,900 years ago. - MS Word Document

- Large Clovis Cache Found in Boulder: Landscapers were digging a hole for a fish pond in the front yard of a Boulder home last May when they heard a "chink" that didn't sound right. Just some lost tools. Some 13,000-year-old lost tools. They had stumbled onto a cache of more than 83 ancient tools buried by the Clovis people - ice age hunter-gatherers who remain a puzzle to anthropologists. The home's owner, Patrick Mahaffy, thought they were only a century or two old before contacting researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

- Ancient Ceramic Collection Donated to the Forest Service: Lester Sharp, 92, and his son, Henry Sharp, 60, are two carpenters from Ruidoso who have donated their family collection of prehistoric pottery to the United States Forest Service in Alamogordo. A selection from their collection is on exhibit at the new USFS building and other pieces from the Sharp collection will be installed at the Smokey Bear Ranger District Office in Ruidoso.

- Collector Returns Ancient Artifact Collection to Mexico: Mexican authorities on Tuesday unveiled a stunning collection of 8,000 pre-Hispanic antiquities, some dating back 3,000 years, donated to the state by a private collector. "It literally took my breath away as I opened case after case to discover these objects in tortoiseshell, jade, serpentine and gold," Xochicalco archeology director Marco Antonio Santos told a press conference. - Google Hosted News

- Nominations Now Being Accepted for The Arizona Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission's 2009 Award: The Awards are presented to individuals, organizations, and/or programs that have significantly contributed to the protection and preservation of, and education about, Arizona's non-renewable archaeological resources. These awards can include the following categories of individuals or organizations that are worthy of recognition for their public service/education endeavors: 1) professional archaeologists, 2) avocational archaeologists, 3) Site Stewards, 4) Tribes, 5) private, non-profit entities, 6) government agencies, and 7) private or industrial development entities. In addition, the Commission would like to make an award to an individual for special or lifetime achievement. (Specific criteria must be met in order for a nominee to qualify for a given award category -- these criteria are spelled out on the Call for Nominations.) The deadline is April 14, 2009, so we hope to get your nomination soon!

- Arizona State Museum Hosts Lecture Series on Early Hominids: Walking In Her Footsteps: Evolutionary Milestones of our Early Upright Ancestors. In honor of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday and in recognition of ASM's connection to the blockbuster exhibit Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia currently touring the United States, Arizona State Museum presents an overview of 6 million years of human history in this month-long series of lectures and presentations. Featuring and focusing on "Lucy," the 3.2 million-year-old, world-famous bipedal hominid, ASM and UA experts will discuss a range of topics relevant to the evolution of our species. See and compare replicas of Lucy's skeleton, a chimpanzee's, and a modern human's during these discussions. 6:30 – 8:00 pm in the pottery gallery. Refreshments served Individual Lectures: $15 non members, $10 ASM members. Entire Series: $50 non members, $30 ASM members.

- Field School Opportunity: The Milford Archaeological Research Institute (MARI) is hosting a field school through Pasadena City College (California) near Milford, Utah, from June 22 to July 3. The field school focuses on a Fremont Village site on privately-owned property in Beaver County. Trips to the Fremont Museum, Pavant Butte, Southern Utah University, Cedar Breaks, Parowan Gap Petroglyphs, Lehman Caves, Baker Village, and a flint knapping session will be included in the field session. For additional information, please contact

- Volunteer Opportunity (El Paso): Those interested in becoming volunteer tour guides for the El Paso Museum of Archaeology are encouraged to participate in an upcoming training course, according to a spokeswoman for the city's Museums and Cultural Affairs Department. Classes are scheduled to begin March 2 at the museum, 4301 Trans Mountain Road, said spokeswoman Noelle Nevarez. The training course is free. According to the museum's Web site, its collection of archaeological and anthropological artifacts focus on the prehistory and culture of the El Paso area and the Southwest. For more information contact Marilyn Guida at 755-4332 or - El Paso Times

- Employment Opportunity (Silver City): The Gila National Forest Supervisor's Office in Silver City, New Mexico, is seeking applicants for its GS-9/11 Assistant Forest Archeologist Position. Attached are documents summarizing position duties, and a description of the Silver City community & area. This announcement will be in USAJobs from March 9 - April 6, 2009, under individual announcement # ADS09-R3-GIL-0601. We'll be advertising both government-wide (status candidates) and demo project (i.e. public). Please remember, the announcement won't show up until Monday, March 9. Thanks! We're seeking as wide an applicant pool as possible, so please pass along to anyone who might be interest ed, including folks with other agencies and institutions. This is a beautiful place to work, with fantastic archeological resources, and opportunities to engage in an exciting and complex heritage program where you'll be sure to contribute and learn.

- Employment Opportunity: (Tempe/Albuquerque): Archaeologist/laboratory manager. TRC has an immediate opening for a full-time benefited archaeology Laboratory Manager that will be responsible for preparing archaeological collections for curation according to the Arizona State Museum, New Mexico Laboratory of Anthropology, University of New Mexico Maxwell Museum, and other southwestern state and university standards. Responsibilities will include overseeing and supervising the work of lower level laboratory technicians, and interacting and coordinating with clients and government agencies. Primary responsibilities will be supervising laboratory technicians in the Tempe, Arizona office with secondary responsibility in supervising laboratory operations in the Albuquerque, New Mexico office. Please mail, fax or email a letter or interest, and a current resume with at least three references to: Ken Brown, TRC. 4221-A Balloon Park Road NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 Fax: 505 761-0208.

- Employment Opportunity (Washington): The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is now accepting applications for the General Services Administration (GSA) Liaison position in its Office of Federal Agency Programs. The GSA Liaison serves on the ACHP staff as the principal point of contact for all GSA program and project review activities undertaken pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The GSA, through its Center for Historic Buildings (CHB), provides technical and strategic expertise to promote the viability, reuse, and care of historic buildings owned, leased, or acquired by GSA. The duty station for this position will be located at the ACHP, Old Post Office Building, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 809, Washington, DC 20004-2501. The complete position description and vacancy announcement can be found at The position is a temporary GG-13 position that is eligible for annual reauthorization contingent upon program need and the availability of funds. Please feel free to forward this announcement to anyone who may be interested, or direct interested individuals to for further information.

Thanks to Gerald Kelso for contributing to today's newsletter.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Apache Tribe Sues to Repatriate Geronimo's Remains - Homol'ovi Threatened by More than Park Closure

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

- Apache Tribe Sues "Skull and Bones" Society Over Geronimo's Remains: Geronimo's descendants have sued Skull and Bones — the secret society at Yale University linked to presidents and other powerful figures — claiming that its members stole the remains of the legendary Apache leader decades ago and have kept them ever since. The federal lawsuit filed in Washington on Tuesday — the 100th anniversary of Geronimo's death — also names the university and the federal government.

- Homol'ovi Threatened By Flooding as Well State Park Closure: A flood control levee that protects 2,700 residential and business parcels in northern Arizona from the Little Colorado River has diverted water in such a way that it is threatening 700-year-old ruins built by Native Americans, a state archaeologist warns. The threatened ruins at Homol’ovi Ruins State Park are part of a 4,500-acre preserve located about one mile north of Winslow. The ruins, which include two- and three-story pueblos built of sandstone and adobe bricks, were home to ancestors of the Hopi people who farmed and traded for 500 years along the Little Colorado River.

- Mount Taylor Traditional Cultural Property Designation Seeks to Include Private Lands: The current emergency designation boundary, as well as the proposed permanent nomination boundary, does not include privately held land, as provided by the New Mexico Cultural Properties Act. The goal of the nominating tribes is to protect the unimpaired natural and cultural landscape of Mount Taylor by having it designated a Traditional Cultural Property on the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties. One aspect of the process is determining a proposed boundary.

- New Archaeological Exhibits at New Mexico State University Now on Display: Share a bit of daily life with ancient Pueblo people who made their home in what is now southern New Mexico, get up close and personal with Neanderthals and learn about an ancient Mayan temple at three exhibits opening this month at the New Mexico State University Museum.

- Maricopa County Plans Upgrades for White Tank Mountain Regional Park: The main draw for White Tank Mountain Regional Park, nestled on the outskirts of Surprise, should be its cultural artifacts and natural resources, according to a Maricopa County development proposal. The recommendation for a unique, themed attraction for each of the 10 county parks is part of a proposed strategic plan presented this week to the public for feedback. The plan is meant to guide the development of one of the largest county park systems in the country to meet residents' future needs. - Arizona Republic

- Hohokam History at Casa Grande National Monument: The sun is shining, the day is still, and visitors trickle in on a winter day. Acres of greasewood and dead mesquite dot the monument, created in 1892 to preserve an ancient four-story structure of wood and mud. The Hohokam village that once wrapped around the building lies under centuries of dust. The Casa Grande (big house) still stands. Rainwater has worked rifts and fissures into the walls, but the structure was built to last, even as the modern world closes in around it. - The Arizona Republic

- Pima County Finally Receives the Right to Preserve Tumamoc Hill: With this purchase, we will preserve the remains of Hohokam stone terraces and walls dating as far back as 300 B.C. We will protect dozens of Tohono O'odham burial sites and we will save Sonoran Desert flora that the University of Arizona's Carnegie Desert Laboratory has been studying for more than 105 years. We also will keep open the popular Tumamoc walking path, which is the road leading to the University of Arizona lab, so locals and visitors can maintain their health in this lovely desert setting.

- Lecture Opportunity (Farmington): Center For Desert Archaeology Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar Paul Reed will present "Prodigy, Rebel, or Stepchild?
Salmon, Aztec, and the Middle San Juan Region." Feb. 25, Farmington Public Library, 7pm. Book-signing to follow.

- Lecture Opportunity (Santa Fe): "A History of Archaeology in Santa Fe." OAS Brown Bag talk by Stephen S. Post, OAS deputy director. Beginning with the arrival of Spaniards in the Santa Fe area in the first decade of the 1600s, people have encountered the remains of those who lived there earlier. Steve will look at how the new settlers incorporated aspects of previous cultures as Santa Fe grew from a small outpost on the edge of empire to the arts and culture center of New Mexico. The OAS Brown Bag talks, given by OAS archaeologists and others, are free to the public. Thanks to the generosity of the New Mexico Film Office, the talks have resumed at the New Mexico Film Museum Theater, 418 Montezuma in Santa Fe. The doors open at 11:45, and the talks begin at noon.

- Arizona Archaeology Month Starts March 1st: We live in a state steeped in human history — ranging from modern times back to the era of statehood in 1912, the Territorial Period, frontier days, an age of exploration and conquest and centuries of prehistoric Indian civilizations. Next month, we'll have a great opportunity to reflect on that colorful past. March is Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month — featuring tours of prehistoric and historic sites, exhibits, open houses, hikes, lectures and a two-day Arizona Archaeology Expo.

- Last Planning Meeting for Arizona Archaeology Expo / Awareness Month to be Held at Pueblo Grande Museum: Friday, March 6, 2009 at 10:00 am at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park 4519 E. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona. Please come and share your ideas as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) finalizes planning for the 2009 Arizona Archaeology Expo (Expo) that will be held on March 14-15, 2009 at the Pueblo Grande Museum (PGM). This public education event is a highlight of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month (AAHAM). At the meeting, learn about Expo logistics, volunteering, programming and other important issues.

- Paleontologists Find New Cache of Megafauna Remains: Scientists are studying a huge cache of Ice Age fossil deposits recovered near the famous La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of the second-largest U.S. city. Among the finds is a near-intact mammoth skeleton, a skull of an American lion and bones of saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, bison, horses, ground sloths and other mammals. - Yahoo News

- Employment Opportunity (Tucson): Archaeological Project Director. Harris Environmental Group, Inc. is seeking an Archaeological Project Director to join our Cultural Resources Division. This position provides a unique opportunity to work with a multi-disciplinary team on archaeological projects throughout the American Southwest. This is an hourly position with potential for development into a salaried position with benefits. Requires Masters degree in anthropology or related field, Bachelor degree candidates with the equivalent of 3 to 5 years experience in southwestern cultural resources management (CRM) also will be considered. Please send a cover letter and your resume with three references to: Sharon Urban, Principal Investigator, Harris Environmental Group, Inc. 58 East 5th Street Tucson, Arizona 85705, (520) 628-7648,

- Employment Opportunity (Tucson): Archaeological Technician. Harris Environmental Group, Inc. is seeking an Archaeologist to join our Cultural Resources Division for project-specific work scheduled to begin in March 2009. This position provides a unique opportunity to work with a multi-disciplinary team on a unique archaeological monitoring project within the International Border area of southern Arizona. Requires Bachelors degree in anthropology or related field with the equivalent of 1 to 3 years experience in southwestern cultural resources management (CRM). To be considered, please send a cover letter and your resume with three references to: Sharon Urban, Principal Investigator, Harris Environmental Group, Inc. 58 East 5th Street Tucson, Arizona 85705, (520) 628-7648,

Thanks to Cherie Freeman for contributing to today's newsletter.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on the Implications of Chocolate in the Southwest, Papago Park

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

-Craig Childs on Chocolate and Civilization in the Southwest: The recent find comes from a 1,000-year-old site in New Mexico that had trade relations with people far to the south. It is the first time pre-Columbian chocolate has been found this far north. As trivial as it may seem, the discovery says a lot about early civilization in North America. Most remarkable is the context of this discovery. - Los Angeles Times

- Papago Park Deserves Upgrade: The Republic's Dianna Náñez reported recently (that) interest is growing among leaders in Phoenix and Tempe and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to preserve and protect Papago Park's natural and archaeological treasures while also making them more accessible to the public. To its credit, the Salt River Community has taken the lead by underwriting more than half of the $577,000 cost of preparing a detailed master plan for the park. Salt River officials say they consider the Hohokam to be their ancestors and want to spearhead efforts to learn more about them and their way of life. Phoenix and Tempe also would help pay for the plan. - Arizona Republic

- The Architectural Legacy of Mary Coulter: Born in 1869 -- the same year John Wesley Powell ran the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and was named the first explorer to do so, Colter rose into prominence during the early 1900s and became the go-to architect for the Fred Harvey Company. This happened in a time when women did not have the right to vote.

- Barbara Freire-Marreco, A Pioneer of Southwestern Ethnology: Hewett knew people at most of the Tewa pueblos north of Santa Fe, and hence he easily made arrangements for Barbara to not only gain admission to Santa Clara, but also to reside there off and on through 1913. Upon beginning work, she was 21. In 1908, she had been one of the first anthropology graduates from prestigious Oxford University in her native England. The Santa Clarans took to their English guest at once. Part of the reason was that she learned to speak Tewa, no little achievement. Further, Miss Freire-Marreco obtained and preserved much information on many old Native customs that were on the point of extinction. - Santa Fe New Mexican

- The Historical Rivalry that Led to the Museums of New Mexico: The Museum of New Mexico was founded 100 years ago this week in a political movida over the use of the Palace of the Governors. Early in the 20th century, the Palace housed two museums — a private one focusing on history and another focusing on archaeology. Lawyer and territorial politician LeBaron Bradford Prince started the history museum in 1883. But in the years leading up to statehood, educator-turned-archaeologist Edgar Lee Hewett edged out Prince's dominion over the Palace as the first director of the state museum system. - The Santa Fe New Mexican

- Lecture Opportunity (San Diego): February 19, the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) presents "Ranchos of San Diego County." Join coauthors Lynne Newell Christenson, PhD and Ellen L. Sweet as they discuss their new book Ranchos of San Diego County. The Mexican ranchos of San Diego County were a colorful and vital part of early California history. Ranchos covered the most fertile lands in San Diego and produced grain, vegetables, and fruits and grazed thousands of head of cattle, sheep, and horses. The dons and doñas who owned the ranchos were wealthy in land and cattle and built large adobe ranch-house complexes. The Kumeyaay, Luiseño, and Cupeño were the backbone of the ranchos, providing the labor needed to run a successful ranch. Daily life of the dons, doñas, and their families included the Californio traditions of family and religion, dancing and fiestas, roundups and rodeos, and generous hospitality. Many of the ranchos no longer exist. Those that are preserved provide a window into California's past. Reserve in advance: $25 includes Lecture & Book, At the door: $35 includes Lecture & Book , Lecture only: $15. For tickets and location
call (619) 297-9327

- House and Senate Republicans Cut One Billion Dollars from National Parks Stimulus Spending: National Parks will get a boost from the federal stimulus package but not as much as had been proposed. Mike Simonson reports from Superior.The House package had put aside $1.7 billion to create jobs by tackling the National Park Service's maintenance backlog. But that number shrunk to $750 million after House/Senate negotiations, what one insider calls a victim of bipartisan negotiations.

- "Man in the Maze" Symbol Important to Many Tribal Groups: When Lisa Palacios looks into the Man in the Maze symbol, she does not see simply a maze and a man, but instead her heritage of being Tohono O'odham, which she proudly honors. "The Man in the Maze is what I was told would help me find my way in life," said Palacios, a junior majoring in anthropology at the University of Arizona here.

- Video Presentation on Preserving the Architectural Heritage of Cambodia is now Available on the Archaeology Channel: Angkor Wat is the best known manifestation of the ancient Khmer Civilization of Cambodia, but is just one of a number of key sites. Now emerging from obscurity and warfare is another special but threatened place described in Saving the Temple of Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rio Nuevo Pitch Falls Flat, NAGPRA Cited in Fence Criticism, Abbott AAHS Lecture Monday

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

- Rio Nuevo Pitch Falls Flat: Rio Nuevo proponents need to find 16 state Senate votes to preserve an estimated $8.6 million in tax increment financing for the next fiscal year starting in July. The eight senators on the Senate Finance Committee were "underwhelmed" Wednesday as city and private sector leaders tried to convince the panel of Rio Nuevo's merits, said state Sen. Jim Waring, a Phoenix Republican who chairs the committee."One member said, 'Is this all there is after all these years?' " Waring said, recounting a statement by Sen. Ken Cheuvront, a Phoenix Democrat. "I would say the committee was disappointed by the presentation."

- Border Fence Desecrated Graves: Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva and seven other Democratic members of the House sent a letter to President Obama on Tuesday asking that he suspend construction of border fencing. They want Obama to suspend fence construction along the U.S.-Mexico border, at least temporarily, until an evaluation of border security operations being conducted by the new administration is concluded. The letter criticizes violations of the National Historic Preservation Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, citing the destruction of 69 Tohono O'odham graves south of Tucson in 2007.

- Budget Woes Put South Dakota Archaeological Agency and Collections at Risk: South Dakota's Archaeological Research Center helps excavate, catalog and store artifacts from across the state, but Gov. Mike Rounds' budget proposal has the little-known agency on the brink of extinction. Archaeologists across South Dakota said closing the agency - it gets about $308,000 from the state - would present no savings and would jeopardize economic development while risking the care and protection of the state's archaeological resources and research.

- Petroglyph Vandalism Prosecuted: Last week, two men pled guilty for defacing cultural artifacts dating back more than a century on federal land. Each face $1,100 in fines and $2,625 in restitution to repair the damages. Sergio Corona-Venzor, 41, of Montrose and Oscar Ortega, 41, of Delta carved their names and the date on an Anasazi rock art panel. The petroglyph, known as the Roc Creek Rock Art Panel, is located on BLM land south of Gateway. - Grand Junction Free Press

- 16th-Century Mass Burial Found in Mexico City: Archaeologists have found a mass grave in Mexico City with four dozen human skeletons laid out in neat lines that could reveal clues about the 16th century Spanish conquest that killed millions. It is likely the indigenous people buried in the grave died in battle against the invading Spanish or fell victim to diseases that wiped out large swaths of the native population in 1545 and 1576, Guilliem said.

- Materials Science Methods Reveal Hominid Chewing Power: In an unusual intersection of materials science and anthropology, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and The George Washington University (GWU) have applied materials-science-based mathematical models to help shed light on the dietary habits of some of mankind’s prehistoric relatives. Their work forms part of a newly published, multidisciplinary analysis of the early hominid Australopithecus africanus by anthropologists at the State University of New York at Albany and elsewhere.

- Lecture Opportunity, “On a Foundation of Potsherds: Building a New Model of the Phoenix Basin Hohokam.” The Arizona Archeological and Historical Society welcomes David Abbott (Arizona State University), who will speak on Monday, February 16, at 7:30 pm in the DuVal Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson. The lecture is free and open to the public.

- Lecture Opportunity, “Life as Migration: The Mesa Verde Pueblo People - Who were they, Why did they leave, Where did they go?” On Saturday, February 21, at 4:00 pm, The Beckman Center (Irvine, CA) will host a lecture and discussion with Dr. Mark Varien, Vice President of Programs at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. This free event is co-sponsored by New World Archaeology Council and the National Academy of Sciences. Attendees are invited to explore the Mesa Verde region of Colorado and learn more about the migration episodes that were a constant factor in the formation of the Pueblo society. Varien will discuss why the final migration left the region depopulated by about A.D. 1300. For more information about the event and The Beckman Center, refer to the following link.

Monday, February 9, 2009

AAHS Application Deadline Approaches, Modern Wolves and Prehistoric Dogs, New Mammoth Find

Southwest Archaeology Today – A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- 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

- Mammoth Remains in Downtown San Diego: The discovery of the remains of a mammoth from the Ice Age yielded more treasure yesterday, as the massive animal's left tusk was found as excavation continued. The mammoth's right tusk, skull, foot and leg bones were identified Wednesday at the construction site of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law near Park Boulevard and Island Avenue. - San Diego Union-Tribune

- Director Woosley on Arizona Historical Society, New Book: And then there is the Peanut Man. Wearing a fake beard and wig and garbed from shoulders to ankles in peanuts, he posed for noted Tucson photographer Henry Buehman in 1910. "Who was this man and why was he covered in peanuts?" asks the caption beneath the photo in Anne Woosley's "Early Tucson," a pictorial of Tucson history from the 1870s to the early 1940s, with maps going back to the 1700s.

- Wolves’ Dark Coats Evince Prehistoric Interbreeding: Genetic tests indicate the mutation was introduced into wolves by dogs sometime in the last 10,000 to 15,000 years, Anderson said. That’s about the same time the first people crossed the Bering land bridge, probably accompanied by dogs. “We usually think of domestication as something that is carried out to benefit humans,” Barsh said. “So we were really surprised to find that domestic animals can serve as a genetic reservoir that can benefit the natural populations from which they were derived.” - Journal Gazette-Times Courier

- Review of Endangered Sacred Sites: A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling emblematized the disregard for indigenous religion held by some in the dominant society. In August, the court overturned a previous ruling that prevented an Arizona ski resort from using recycled sewage water to make artificial snow on the San Francisco Peaks, a mountain held sacred by 13 American Indian nations.

- Internship Opportunities, Anasazi Heritage Center: Applications for Anasazi Heritage Center (AHC) summer 2009 internships are now being accepted. AHC offers student internships in Collections Management, Exhibits and Interpretive Media, and Visitor Services. Interviews will be conducted in April, with start dates in late May to early June. Please follow the link below for further information.

- Incan Site Featured in Latest Archaeology Channel Release: Machu Picchu is not the only spectacular Peruvian site on a high Andean ridge. Another remarkable Incan site, this one with special historical significance, is described in “Choquequirao: The Cradle of Gold.” The Incan ceremonial and administration site and fortress of Choquequirao was built in the mid-1400s and became the focal point of Inca resistance to the Spanish Conquest from 1536 to 1572. This video feature can be found on The Archaeology Channel’s nonprofit streaming-media Web site at the following link:

Thanks to Cherie Freeman for her contribution to today’s newsletter.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Homolovi Ruins Closure Looms, New Perspectives on the Hohokam, Chaco Chocolate

Southwest Archaeology Today – A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- Homolovi Ruins on List of Recommended Closures: Arizona officials are recommending closures of five state parks immediately and three more in coming months because of midyear budget cuts made to eliminate a revenue shortfall. The parks recommended for closure include the Homolovi Ruins State Park in Winslow.

- Cacao at Chaco: For years Patricia Crown puzzled over the cylindrical clay jars found in the ruins at Chaco Canyon, the great complex of multistory masonry dwellings set amid the arid mesas of northwestern New Mexico. They were utterly unlike other pots and pitchers she had seen.

- Salazar Cancels Drilling Leases: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday canceled leases to drill for gas and oil on 77 parcels of public land in Utah. The leases, which cover more than 100,000 acres, including lands near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, were auctioned in the last weeks of the Bush administration. They were among 11th-hour actions taken by the Bush Interior Department that have been criticized by environmental groups and are being reviewed by Obama officials.

- Historic Home in Downtown Tucson to Close: The Sosa-Carrillo-Frémont House, one of Tucson's oldest structures, will be shuttered by the Arizona Historical Society because of state budget cuts. The territorial-era home that sits next to the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall on South Granada Avenue will be closed within "the next couple of weeks," said Deborah Shelton, director for the society's Southern Arizona district.

- Exhibit Opening, “Pieces of the Puzzle: New Perspectives on the Hohokam.” A collaboration between the Center for Desert Archaeology and Pueblo Grande Museum, this dynamic exhibition explores the Center’s long-term research on the Hohokam and population decline in late prehistory. The exhibition runs from February 13 through October 4, 2009, at Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. For more information on location and hours, follow the link below.

- Exhibit Opening, “Circles of Life: Katsina Imagery in Hopi Basketry.” February 7–July 3, 2009 at the Arizona State Museum. The importance and impact of the katsina [kachina] religion is pervasive in Hopi culture. Many people are familiar with carved representations of katsinas, but images of the beneficent supernatural messengers also appear on Hopi pottery, paintings, and basketry. Historic pieces and the work of eight contemporary weavers demonstrate the continuing vitality of this art form. Enjoy a historic overview of the Hopi basket-making traditions, techniques and types, and learn how to "read" and identify distinguishing katsina iconography.

- Disturbing Vandalism near Canyon of the Ancients: The Bureau of Land Management is looking for whoever is responsible for destroying signs and dumping hundreds of pounds of rotting carcasses on national land near the Canyon of the Ancients. The BLM says in mid January, officers found 700 pounds of processed body parts of elk and cattle were dumped near the mouth of Rock Creek Canyon in Montezuma County.

- 2008 NAGPRA Developments: 2008 may be viewed as one of the most momentous years for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act since the federal law was passed in 1990. The first big fireworks occurred in April when Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced that NAGPRA was one of several federal laws that would be waived to speed construction of a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico.

- Internship Opportunity: The Robert L. Akerley Anthropology Collections and Archaeological Research Intern at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will participate in all aspects of anthropological collections management activities related to managing a world-class and extensive material culture collection. The intern may also participate in archaeological fieldwork and laboratory work. For more information, refer to the following link. - Denver Museum of Nature & Science

- Lecture Opportunity, "Environmental and Biotic Consequences of Major Extraterrestrial Impact over North America 12,900 Years Ago.” On February 12, 2009, Dr. James P. Kennett will speak at a meeting of the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA. For information, follow the link below.

- Lecture Opportunity, “Historic Landscape Preservation through Geographic Information System.” Paul Dolinsky, chief of the National Park Service's Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) and John Knoerl, chief of NPS Cultural Resources GIS, will speak on Monday, February 9, as part of the University of Arizona College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture’s Spring 2009 Lecture Series. The lecture will begin at 5pm at AME Room 202. This lecture is sponsored in part by the Preservation Studies program and the National Park Service's Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit. More information is available at the first link. A map is accessible at the second link.

Thanks to Gerald Kelso for his contribution to today’s newsletter.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Budget Cuts Threaten Arizona State Parks, Challenges to Comet Impact Theory, Archaeology Cafe

Southwest Archaeology Today – A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- Arizona State Parks Closures Anticipated: The state will have to close at least five parks—and possibly as many as eight—if lawmakers do not restore the funds being stripped from the agency that operates them, state Parks Director Ken Travous said Friday.

- New Findings Cast Doubt on Comet Impact Theory: New data, published today, disproves the recent theory that a large comet exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, causing a shock wave that travelled at hundreds of kilometres per hour and triggering continent-wide wildfires. Dr Sandy Harrison from the University of Bristol and colleagues tested the theory by examining charcoal and pollen records to assess how fire regimes in North America changed between 15 and 10,000 years ago, a time of large and rapid climate changes.

- In Memoriam, Dr. Trudy Griffin-Pierce: Anthropologist Trudy Griffin-Pierce didn't want to observe the rituals and elaborate spiritual ceremonies of the Navajo: She wanted to live the life of the Diné. Though of Catawba Indian heritage and born in South Carolina, Griffin-Pierce was fascinated from childhood by the Navajo, said her aunt, Pat Wells of Florida. Diné, meaning "The People," is the name Navajos use for themselves.

- Archaeology Café, “The Archaeology of a Historic Tucson Cemetery at the Joint Courts Complex.” Learn what the remains of nineteenth-century Tucsonans--and others whose lives ended in Tucson--reveal about life in this community between 1862 and 1881. Marcy Gray, director of historic programs and project manager for Statistical Research, Inc., will lead a panel of project team members in a discussion of their work on one of the country's largest historic cemetery exhumations. Tuesday, February 3, 6:00 pm, on the patio at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson. Free and open to the public; guests are encouraged to support our host, Casa Vicente, by buying their own food and drinks.

- Concern Over Restoration of San Xavier East Tower: Bernard Fontana favors the former perspective, and with good reason: A retired ethnologist, he's spent most of his adult life helping bring San Xavier back from ruin, and only our better selves--in the shape of generous donations--has made that possible. Millions have already been spent in artwork restoration, and the west bell tower has been painstakingly returned to its original, gleaming glory. But now there's a catch: The east tower has yet to be redone, and time is not treating it kindly. Nor is the economy.

- Advocacy Group Sees Opportunity in Stimulus Package: The National Parks Conservation Assn., a nonpartisan parks advocacy group, has testified before Congress that the nation's 391 parks have billions of dollars in "shovel-ready projects," some of them remnants of the system's more than $8.7-billion maintenance backlog. Citing the CCC as a model, the parks group is advocating the development of a National Park Service Corps and estimates that investing stimulus funds in parks would create about 50,000 jobs. The group has studied the economic impact of parks, particularly in rural areas, finding that every dollar spent at a park generates $4 in benefit. - The Los Angeles Times

- Funding for Mesa Grande Interpretive Program: Mesa has secured more than $250,000 to open the ancient temple grounds of the Hohokam tribe within two years, Howard said. The Mesa Grande Interpretive Project would make something previously open to visitors only once a year available every week.

- Papago Park Revival: Authorities in Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale believe the plan could put Papago on par with New York's Central Park or San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The goals: Promote Papago Park's historical and archaeological assets, explore the grounds for still-uncovered ruins, educate the community about the Valley's Hohokam heritage, and conserve land within the park, turning it into a national center for eco-tourism. - The Arizona Republic

- Alleged Looter Indicted in South Dakota: A Monona man, John M. Sheild, 77, has been indicted in South Dakota on a federal charge of trafficking in archeological resources, accused of violating an archeology law that protects American Indian artifacts. An Associated Press article from South Dakota on Monday said Sheild was one of five men indicted on similar charges.

Thanks to Terry W. Colvin for his contribution to today’s newsletter.