Monday, May 4, 2009

Newly Hired Director of Arizona State Parks Vandalized Historic Structure, Homol'ovi Ruins State Park Threatened Again

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

- Newly Hired Director of Arizona State Parks Vandalized Historic Arizona Structure in 1999: The woman chosen to be the next director of Arizona's state parks once carved her name into a historic park property in southeastern Arizona. She also helped recover thousands of acres of burned parkland in San Diego County and launched an innovative system for making campground reservations online. The Arizona State Parks Board's unanimous selection of Renée Bahl to take over the parks system next month has polarized state leaders. - Arizona Republic

- Homol'ovi Ruins State Park On the Arizona Fiscal Chopping Block, Again: As the Legislature grapples with a $3 billion budget shortfall for fiscal 2010, Homolovi Ruins, the only state park dedicated to Native American culture, is among facilities that could face closure as Arizona State Parks anticipates budget cuts.That's no small worry to Lomaomuaya (sic) and others in the Hopi Tribe, whose reservation lies 60 miles north of Homolovi Ruins but whose history is embedded in this auburn expanse that means "place of the little hills" in Hopi.

- Tucsonans Grudgingly Reminded of City's Historic Role in Camp Grant Massacre: It was the bloodiest day in Arizona history, and it is seldom discussed. Three recent books and a campaign to mark the site of the Camp Grant Massacre attempt to cure what one historian calls our "amnesia" about the slaughter of more than 100 Apaches, mostly women and children, who were clubbed to death or shot as they fled Aravaipa Canyon about 60 miles northeast of Tucson.

- Reminder, This Month's Archaeology Cafe Will Present Amazing Evidence About the Early Agricultural Period from the Site of Las Capas: Tuesday, May 5th at 6:00 PM, at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ The Center for Desert Archaeology invites you to the eighth meeting of Archaeology Café, a casual, happy hour-style discussion forum dedicated to promoting community engagement with cultural and scientific research. This month, a panel led by archaeologist Jim Vint and geoarchaeologist Fred Nials will share up-to-the-minute information from ongoing excavations at the site of Las Capas along the Santa Cruz River. Investigations by Tucson-based Desert Archaeology, Inc. are revealing complex agricultural irrigation systems that date back 3,000 years! The remarkably well-preserved fields even retain evidence of planting holes for maize and other crops. The project was recently featured in a segment on KUAT's nightly newsmagazine, Arizona Illustrated. Free and open to the community-all are welcome. Participants are encouraged to support our hosts at Casa Vicente by purchasing their own food and drinks.

- Historic Preservation in Las Vegas Seen as Something of a Challenge: To celebrate Archaeology Awareness and Historic Preservation Month, the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office encourages residents to take historic walking tours and visit archaeological sites throughout the state. Getting Southern Nevadans, particularly newcomers, to care about area history, be it prehistoric or mid-century modern, is no easy task, even though we have the Neon Boneyard, Heritage Street at the Clark County Museum, the Las Vegas High School Historic District, the Morelli House and the St. Thomas Historic ruins. Some preservationists attribute the problem to the disconnect between new residents and history, a history often diminished because it isn’t really history. It’s just stuff that happened a few years ago — the buildings are 50 years old, not 300.

- Public Asked for Comment on New Mesa Verde Entrance Station: Mesa Verde National Park has prepared the Environmental Assessment for Entrance Station Improvements at Mesa Verde National Park. The document, which describes and examines the impacts of the proposed project, will be on public review through May 26.

- The Mystery Disappearance of Everett Russ Solved by Find In Comb Ridge: A skeleton found in Utah's redrock country was that of a talented artist, poet and wanderer of the 1930s whose disappearance became the stuff of Western lore and Navajo legend, scientists confirmed Thursday. - San Diego Union Tribune

- Hohokam Homes Excavated in Green Valley AZ: Just steps away from a Green Valley storage center lies a hidden treasure — an 800-year-old archaeological site once occupied by the prehistoric Hohokam people. Archeologists hired by the Pima County Department of Transportation have been excavating the site along Whitehouse Canyon road since late March and ended the dig April 21 after collecting more than 500 artifacts. The research team was called out to excavate the area before it is paved as part of a county road-widening project, set to begin later this year. - Green Valley News

- Financial Crisis Threatening Mesa Museums: Grim budgets have Mesa officials looking at new ways to hold on to the arts and cultural resources of the city. Finances are so bad at the Mesa Historical Museum, a nonprofit entity, and the city-run Arizona Museum for Youth that voluntary groups supporting each have told the city they won’t be able to continue raising money to sustain day-to-day operations.

- New Book Explores Links Between Rock Art, Shamanism, and Science. David S Whitley is clearly a man who has moved at the centre of prehistoric archaeology for decades. In Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit he takes us into that world: roughly half of the book is an account of the archaeological debates, quarrels and missteps that have marked the exploration and attempts at explanation of the cave art of prehistoric Europe and associated genres. On that he’s entertaining, anecdotal, and so far as I can tell a faithful guide.