Friday, May 15, 2009

Findings at Las Capas may "Re-Write Southwestern Prehistory"

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

- Findings at Las Capas Have Potential to Re-Write Early Southwestern Prehistory : On the grounds of Pima County's Ina Road waste water treatment facility, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of an ancient farming community that could potentially rewrite the history of human settlement in the Southwest. The less than auspicious setting might not inspire today — the scent of human waste at times overwhelming the senses — but scientists say the site was ideally suited for organized agriculture when the ancients farmed the area more than 3,000 years ago. "This was the perfect place to start irrigation agriculture, and these guys did it in spades," James Vint said. - NW Explorer News

- New Mexico State Historic Preservation Officer to Become US ICOMOS Chief: New Mexico's historic preservation officer has been selected to become the executive director of the United States Committee for the International Council on Monuments and Sites. The state Department of Cultural Affairs says Katherine Slick was selected from a nationwide pool of candidates.

- Southwestern Archaeologist Meliha Sue Duran Passes Away: Meliha Sue Duran, 59, passed away peaceably at Mountain View Hospital, Las Cruces on May 11, 2009, with her husband, David T. Kirkpatrick, and daughter, Leyla D. Kirkpatrick at her bedside. She fought a courageous 13-year battle against a reoccurring benign brain tumor and its complications.“ Meli earned a BA in Anthropology (1971) at the University of Washington, Seattle, a MA in Anthropology (1977), Washington State University, Pullman and a M.A. English: Technical Communications (1986), New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. Her career involved working as an archaeologist and technical editor. As an archaeologist she worked on sites in Washington State and then on a wide variety of sites throughout New Mexico. By 1983, Meli became more involved in technical writing and the production of archaeological reports, eventually becoming the Director of Publications for Human Systems Research, Inc., a non-profit archaeological consulting firm in Las Cruces. In 1999 she took medical retirement, but continued as volunteer assisting in the analysis of artifacts from several prehistoric sites in central New Mexico. She also read extensively on western Women’s history. At Meli’s request, cremation has taken place. There will be a celebration of her life for family an d friends to be held at the family home later this year. Her obituary will appear in the Las Cruces Sun News ( and the newsletters of the archaeological societies of which she was a member.

- Editorial Argues for Mt Taylor Preservation: Look carefully at Mount Taylor and you'll notice it's missing its top. The original summit was blown off eons ago in an earth-shaking explosion. Look carefully at the proposal to designate Mount Taylor as a protected cultural site, and you'll also notice something missing: every culture with ties to the mountain that isn't Native American. Native American history with Mount Taylor dates back over a millennium. They have used the mountain's bounty in every aspect of their lives. Archeological sites are scattered across its diverse topography. It figures prominently in several creation stories. The mountain, by some accounts, is a spiritual being. - The Albuquerque Journal

- Friends of Arizona Archives Create New Website (From Doug Kupel): I am pleased to announce that FAzA has a new website! Thanks to the hard work by FAzA volunteer Mark Pry, the new website is up and running. Please update your favorites, bookmarks, and links to

- Touring Whiptail Ruin (Tucson): The people in a small tour group from Agua Caliente Park were able to walk in the footsteps of the Hohokam Saturday as they visited the Whiptail Ruins at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. "Holding pottery, holding tools from so many years ago, reminds you somebody else was here," said tour guide Mary Karrels, who in 1978 bought the toured property near the park at 12325 E. Roger Road.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): On Monday, May 18th the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society will present "Human Adaptation to Catastrophic Events: Lessons from the 11th Century AD Eruption of Sunset Crater Volcano. The lecture will be presented by Dr. Mark Elson of Desert Archaeology and will be held at DuVal Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N Campbell Ave. The lecture begins at 7:30 pm and is free and open to the public.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Thursday May 21, 2009, Old Pueblo Archaeology Center's "Third Thursdays" free presentation of "Roadside Religious Art in Sonora" with James S. "Big Jim" Griffith. 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). Guest speaker Jim Griffith describes this talk as follows: "Sonora's highways and byways are lined with religious art - crosses, small and large chapels, and murals painted on cliff faces and on free-standing cement slabs. Some mark death sites, others commemorate favors requested or favors granted. Using slides, I shall discuss these ubiquitous shrines and crosses, and discuss their uses. Unless you know the territory well, you might expect a few surprises." No reservations needed. 520-798-1201 or