Friday, April 24, 2009

The Antiquities Trade, Archaeological Monitoring

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

- New York Review of Books Examines the Works of James Cuno - How Art, the Antiquities Trade, Nationalism, and Cultural Heritage Intersect at Museums: The stark reality facing art museums today is that the era of large-scale collecting of antiquities has come to a close. In the United States, the situation is further complicated by the dependency of large museums on wealthy private donors and patrons, whose contributions have often related to their own interests as collectors. Now that museums have adopted rules that prevent the acquisition of many ancient objects still in private hands, they must find other ways of retaining that support.

- Unexpected Finding on Ebay and The Antiquities Market from Archaeology Magazine: Our greatest fear was that the Internet would democratize antiquities trafficking and lead to widespread looting. This seemed a logical outcome of a system in which anyone could open up an eBay site and sell artifacts dug up by locals anywhere in the world. We feared that an unorganized but massive looting campaign was about to begin, with everything from potsherds to pieces of the Great Wall on the auction block for a few dollars. But a very curious thing has happened. It appears that electronic buying and selling has actually hurt the antiquities trade. How is it possible? The short answer is that many of the primary "producers" of the objects have shifted from looting sites to faking antiquities.

- Native American Monitors Police Archaeological Practice Near San Diego: With each new project built around San Diego, more artifacts and remains of Native Americans will be uncovered, necessitating the services of archaeological "monitors" such as Carmen Lucas and Clint Linton. A Kwaaymii Indian, Lucas has worked closely with the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee (KCRC) for the past decade overseeing development projects. It's her job to ensure any physical or cultural remains discovered are treated properly, expeditiously and reverentially. - The La Jolla Light

- Apache Peoples Mark the Anniversary of the Camp Grant Massacre: This April 30 will mark the 138th year since the Camp Grant Massacre of the Arivaipa Apaches along Arivaipa Creek that flows into the San Pedro River. The site is about fifty miles north of Tucson and around 12 miles from the southwestern border of the present San Carlos Apache tribal area. It was in the year of 1871 and it was tragedy too often seen in Southwestern history. Still, it was a pivotal event and one of the major reasons for the forming of the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

- Archaic Era Deposits Found in Southern Texas: UTSA Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) researchers are examining artifacts they recently discovered that date from 3700 B.C. to 600 A.D. The artifacts were discovered during a three-month dig at Miraflores Park, east of Brackenridge Park.

- Sourcing Maya Blue: The ancient Maya civilization used a rare type of clay called "palygorskite" to produce Maya blue. Combining structural, morphological and geochemical methods, Spanish researchers have defined the features of palygorskite clay on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. These findings will make it possible to ascertain the origin of the materials used to produce this pigment, which survives both time and chemical and environmental elements.

- Stimulus Money Assists Curation at Hopewell: A $2 million federal stimulus grant might bring Ohio closer to solving one of its great prehistoric mysteries: the Hopewell Culture. Money from the U.S. Department of the Interior will be used to build a curatorial facility at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park at Chillicothe. Rick Perkins, acting superintendent and chief ranger at Hopewell, said the money will pay for a new facility for 150,000 artifacts, most of which are now stored underground. Trails and expanded parking are not included. - The Columbus Dispatch

- Lecture Opportunity (Santa Fe): On April 27 Southwest Seminars presents Dr. Jeffrey Dean's "Environment or Conflict: Tsegi Phase Transformation of the Kayenta Anasazi, A.D. 1250-1300" as part of the Ancient Sites, Ancient Stories 2009 lecture program. Monday Evening, April 27 At 6 Pm At Hotel Santa Fe. Offered As A Benefit For The Archaeological Conservancy.

Thanks to Adrianne Rankin for contributions to today's newsletter.