Thursday, March 19, 2009

Early Agricultural Period Archaeology Broadcast Tonight, Mesa Grande Part of Arizona Centennial Legacy, Several Upcoming Lectures

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

- Early Agricultural Period Archaeology on Tucson's "Arizona Illustrated" Tonight: Archaeologists from Desert Archaeology Inc. have been working on a large project for Pima County at the Ina Road Sewage Treatment Plant. Tune in to learn about the extensive, remarkably well-preserved agricultural fields they have uncovered and what these findings are contributing to our understanding of early agriculture in the Southwest. Irrigation is now well-documented in Tucson going back some 3,500 years (to roughly 1500 BC). Early corn (maize) goes back to roughly 4,000 years ago (2000 BC). The team has documented primary, secondary, and tertiary canals and even the small field plots where water was actually delivered to crops. Within those field plots are preserved the planting holes where individual corn plants (and probably other crops) were planted and grew. These fields date to roughly 3,000 years ago, or 1000 BC. The program begins at 6:30 PM, Thursday, March 19, on KUAT/channel 6. It will also be posted online after it airs -- go to to view the segment.

- Mesa Grande Designated a Arizona Centennial Legacy Project: The Arizona Historical Advisory Commission has designated Mesa Grande as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project. Mesa Grande is a major prehistoric Hohokam site that flourished from about 1000-1450 A.D. The main feature of Mesa Grande is a large platform mound, about 27 feet high and covering the size of a football field. The site is administered by the Arizona Museum of Natural History and within the City of Mesa.

- New Book Explores the Places and Spirit of the Western Apache: Who knew that Apacheria held so much abundance for those who knew where to look? All over Southern and Central Arizona, where the Western Apache once wandered unchallenged according to a seasonal schedule held deep in their cultural memories, there is food: acorns, agave, wild spinach, wild onions, mesquite beans, cactus fruit and more--all integral to the once-diverse Apache larder. There are sections of Ian W. Record's debut book, Big Sycamore Stands Alone: The Western Apaches, Aravaipa, and the Struggle for Place, out now from the University of Oklahoma Press, that read like the dream menu of an extreme locavore.

- The Story of the Amerind Museum: In the 1930s, Fulton started to build a laboratory and museum, which would become the Amerind Foundation. The Amerind holds an impressive collection of materials. Like many modern museums, it is more than just a place where old things gather dust. The foundation helps researchers understand the Southwest, both past and present.

- Hushed Excavation Recovered Data Before Border Wall Construction in California: During the past year, archaeologists have been digging like mad to preserve one of the last remaining ancient Indian village sites in coastal Southern California, racing against the claw of the bulldozers and massive grind of the steam rollers to get the work done before the federal government erases in one year what had managed to survive for millennia. And they did it in almost complete secrecy.

- Nominations Committee Seeks "Utah's History Heros:" Nominations of persons or organizations who have given extraordinary service or completed outstanding projects are being sought for the Utah State History Conference. The annual awards recognize individuals and groups who have made a significant contribution to history, prehistory, or historic preservation in the state of Utah. Winners will be honored Sept. 17 at the 57th Annual Utah State History Conference in Salt Lake City.

- Tucson's Mission Garden Reconstruction Nears Completion: Mission Gardens is an agricultural area along the bank of the Santa Cruz River associated with the Mission San Agustín — Tucson's cultural birthplace. Rio Nuevo is re-creating the gardens as part of its replication of the mission complex, which included a two-story convento, a granary and other buildings.

- Open House this Weekend at Tonto National Monument: Tonto National Monument will join the statewide celebration of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month by hosting an open house Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22. Visitors may hike to the Upper Cliff Dwelling on their own. The Upper Cliff Dwelling is normally available only on ranger-guided tours and requires an advance reservation. During this weekend activities will also include various prehistoric technology and traditional Native American craft demonstrations. Volunteers from the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center in north Phoenix will present an assortment of live animals and birds. - The Payson Roundup

- Lecture Opportunity (Santa Fe): Monday evenings at 6 pm at hotel Santa Fe
offered as a benefit for the Archaeological Conservancy, a public program graciously assisted by hotel Santa Fe, a Picuris Pueblo enterprise. On March 23, Dr. John D. Speth, archaeologist, and Arthur Thurnow Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, will present "Hunter-Gatherers and Hunting Motivation."

- Brown Bag Lecture Opportunity (Santa Fe): 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. On March 24, 2009 OAS presents “Santa Fe’s La Garita Camposanto: a Forgotten Cemetery Remembered.” OAS Brown Bag talk by H. Wolcott Toll, Ph.D., OAS project director. As late as 1936 Santa Fe city maps show a camposanto above the Scottish Rite Temple. By 1940 the area had been subdivided and houses built. A series of utility projects encountered burials there, bringing the cemetery back into public consciousness. Wolky will discuss the nature of the burials, the loss of the camposanto, and its reentry into public consciousness.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Old Pueblo Archaeology Center's "Third Thursdays" free presentation: "Archaeology, History, and Historic Preservation in the Southern Chiricahua Mountains" with Coronado National Forest archaeologist William B. Gillespie at Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, 2201 W. 44th Street, Tucson (in Tucson Unified School District's Ajo Service Center, just west of La Cholla Blvd., ½-mile north of John F. Kennedy Park). 7:30 to 9 p.m. Free. No reservations needed. 520-798-1201 or

- Travelogue - Tucson as a Heritage Tourism Destination: Most people don’t think of Tucson as a center of Native American culture. We tend to think of the Navajo and Hopi when we consider Native American tradition and art. But the people to the south have much to offer the visitor. Whether its “man in the maze” baskets, saguaro syrup or unusual polka music, the traditions of the desert people to the south will fascinate you.

- Employment Opportunity: Cultural Resources Specialist, Phoenix. This position entails 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.