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.