Friday, May 22, 2009

O'odham Perspectives on Repatriation, Mammoth Excavation In-Situ and Indoors in Waco

Southwestern Archaeology Today - A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- O'odham Perspectives on Repatriation: The Tohono O'odham Nation will soon rebury the remains of nearly 200 of their ancestors, dug up in the late 1970s and early '80s by teams of archaeologists working on what was then known as the Anamax/Rosemont site. They fear further disturbance of their ancestors' graves if permission is given to Rosemont Copper to dig an open-pit copper mine in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains — an area rich with archaeological evidence of Hohokam and other settlements.

- Archaeology, Architecture, and Preservation Cross Paths at the Waco Mammoth Site: To preserve the prehistoric bones at Waco Mammoth Site, Cotera+Reed Architects has strived to intertwine the firm’s creative vision with the immutable realities of sunlight, Central Texas heat, and the rigors of scientific preservation. The Austin-based firm has designed an 8,400-square-foot shelter for the dig site that will be open to the public. It will be one of fewer than a dozen buildings in the United States that enclose prehistoric remains in situ—that is, located where they were first discovered. Portions of at least 25 Colombian mammoth skeletons, dating back some 68,000 years, have been identified at the Waco site since the first mammoth bone was spotted there in 1978 protruding from a creek bed.

- Meeting on Mt. Taylor TCP Designation Creates Confusion: Pithy remarks by one opponent summed up the overall effect to Friday’s meeting after the nomination has been presented and discussion begun. “I have more questions than when I came in,” he said. Key questions about the boundaries of the proposed “contributing” arose with Navajo, U.S. Forest Service, legal and other representatives presenting maps of the area for the TCP nomination. “I have seen four maps and they don’t match each other,” said a man who identified himself as an owner of Lee Ranch Coal Mine northwest of Grants.”

- Arizona State Museum Bioarchaeologist Examines Impact of Transitions to Agriculture on Women's Oral Health: The prehistoric transition to agricultural dependence has been well-studied for a number of regions of the world; yet the effects on maternal health have been largely overlooked. A massive population expansion associated with the advent of agriculture, referred to as the Neolithic demographic transition, has largely been considered a consequence of higher fertility rates associated with a decrease in the period between the birth of children. These processes would have imposed considerable biological demands on the bodies of Neolithic women.

- Author Challenges Notions of "Collapse" for Ancestral Puebloans: Eric Skopec demonstrates that global warming did not destroy the Ancestral Puebloan civilization. Although some authors bolster their warnings with historical references, many misrepresent the archeological record. According to Dr. Skopec, “much of what popular authors say about the Ancestral Puebloans is incomplete, misleading, and just plain wrong. They get away with it because the general public knows little more than the myth that the Ancestral Puebloans mysteriously disappeared.”

- Natural Fiber Arts of the Southwest Celebrated at Pagosa Springs Festival: For the second year, the two-day Pagosa Fiber Festival will take place May 30-31 in Town Park. Festival organizers say it will be hard to miss the big white tents. The fiber arts workshops will be at the community center on Thursday and Friday preceding the festival. The festival-sponsored, annual Navajo Rug Auction will be held at the community center at 5 p.m. Saturday.

- There is Still Time to Register for the Arizona Preservation Conference: The conference will be featuring a wide range of sessions on archaeological research and preservation topics. This year’s conference, ”Arguing For Preservation: Building a Case For Communities,” is being held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix, June 18th-20th, 2009. The goal of the Conference is to bring together preservationists from around the state to exchange ideas and success stories, to share perspectives and solutions to preservation issues and to foster a sense of cooperation between the diverse Arizona preservation communities.

- National Register Workshop Scheduled With National Trust Conference: National Register Workshop - Wednesday, October 14th in Nashville, TN. The Tennessee SHPO is hosting a free, one-day workshop for SHPO/THPO/FPO staff during the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) Conference. NPS NR staff will offer more in-depth training on developing historic contexts and evaluating/documenting landscape resources. This workshop is not affiliated with the NTHP Conference. To help us better coordinate, let us know if you and/or other preservation staff will be able to attend this NR workshop. Please contact Jim Gabbert at (202) 354-2275 or with any questions. We will be sending out additional Nashville NR workshop information within the next few months.

- Call for Papers, 16th Jornada Mogollon Conference: The El Paso Museum of Archaeology will host the 16th Jornada Mogollon Archaeology Conference 2-3 October 2009 in El Paso, Texas. - MS Word Document

- Arizona Universities to Digitize Historic Records for Centennial: Hidden archives will be discovered by Arizonans when they help the three state universities build Why Arizona? The Arizona Migration Digital Library. "Everyone is invited to participate in this project by offering their stories or suggesting topics or events they would like to see documented here", said Rob Spindler, University Archivist at Arizona State University. "This is a rare opportunity for Arizonans to construct their own online legacy from archives the universities have preserved on their behalf". At public meetings this month Arizonans will learn about the progress of the project, see samples and descriptions of materials nominated for public access and add their voice to our work! Comments may also be sent via email through the project website at

- Tubac Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society Seeks a New Chapter Advisor: Tubac Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society Seeks Chapter Adviser: Our chapter was founded in the fall of 2007 and meets monthly (except for summers) in Tubac. We present lectures to our members and the public at each meeting, and these generally deal with the archaeology of Arizona, with an emphasis on Southern Arizona and the Santa Cruz Valley. - MS Word Document

- Photograph of Kiva Honored By Smithsonian: The photograph, "Ancestral Dimension", conveys more than beautiful warm color and the drama of a striking shaft of light in the darkly confined underground space of an ancient Indian kiva. The evocative image, captured by acclaimed Fine Art Photographer, Stephen W, Oachs, pulls the viewer inside to experience the close, rough sandstone walls, the low and encroaching ceiling, and an almost haunting sense of tranquility.

- Musuem of Northern Arizona Offers Youth Summer Camp Program: The Museum of Northern Arizona’s summer Discovery Program aims to inspire a sense of love and responsibility for the Colorado Plateau, while providing a pathway into the future. Discovery 2009 offers 50 classes and summer camp sessions that connect youths ages 4-18 to this region and draw out their natural curiosity, creating a thirst for knowledge through direct experience. - NAZ Today

Thanks to Gerald Kelso for Contributions to Today's Newsletter