Monday, June 29, 2009

Pecos Registration Deadline Extended

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

- Pecos "Early Bird" Resistration Deadline Extended Until July 15: Good News! If you haven't registered for the 2009 Pecos Conference yet, we are extending the early bird registration price until July 15. This should be a very interesting conference given recent events in Utah. Craig Childs will be speaking on Friday evening and I'm sure he will have some relevant comments. Saturday morning there will be a mini-symposium on Collaborative Heritage Preservation organized by Chuck Riggs which will continue the theme of protecting and preserving sites. On Friday morning, Sally Cole has organized an overview of recent Basketmaker II research. Further information about camping, the reception, and field trips can also be found on the web site.

- Navajo National Monument is a Doorway to the Past: In the Navajo language, Betatakin means "house on a ledge." It's a good name. The ancient village sprawls across a sandstone ledge above the floor of one branch of Tsegi Canyon, a labyrinthine system etched deep into the bedrock of northeastern Arizona. Although Betatakin, the most recognizable and accessible of the spectacular ruins in Navajo National Monument, was inhabited for fewer than 50 years, it has become one of the iconic symbols of the ancient people who once inhabited this region, but left - for reasons not entirely clear - so many centuries ago.

- Homol'ovi Attests to Ancient Hopi Migrations: To Donald Nelson, a Hopi who grew up in Prescott, Homol'ovi is not just another state park. "Homol'ovi State Park to me is a very special place, in that it reaffirms the history of our migration as Hopi clans," Nelson explained of the park, which sits along the Little Colorado River about 60 miles south of the Hopi mesas.

- Archaeologist and Professor Jonathan E. Ericson Passes (From Mark Peterson) Apparently he passed away in his sleep, peacefully, after waiting to get through Father's Day. . . and to see his daughters through high school. I was just going to call to tell him Social Ecology is now referenced in every epidemiological text I've encountered, sometimes as subheading, others as major sections. I suppose the best thing to do in memory of Jon is to complete all of our outstanding research (like the Syria work; sulfur and trace element research in Chione growth rings, the book on the big Border Barrier dig). He was my mentor and advisor for 20 some years,.. He was at Harvard; the curator for the Getty, and learned Radiocarbon from Libby himself.Just so people know what a true genius we lost. Sorry to deliver such sad news.

- Request for Proposals (Data Recovery - Prescott Region): Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe. Archaeological data recovery services are being solicited for the historic Whipple Barracks Landfill, Site AZ N:7:108 (ASM), located on tribal land adjacent to Prescott. This 74,085-square-foot site, dating from 1873 to the 1980s, is known to contain some hazardous substances, most notably asbestos-containing material. Key project personnel must be HAZWOPER certified prior to field work. Sealed proposals are due July 24, 2009 by 5:00 p.m. MST. For an information packet contact: Scott Kwiatkowski, Anthropologist/Archaeologist, Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe, 530 E. Merritt, Prescott, AZ 86301-2038, (928) 308-2040 (voice), (928) 778-9445 (fax).

- Position Announcement – Program Manager, Native American and Alaska Native Program Morris K. Udall Foundation (Tucson): The U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (U.S. Institute) is a program of the Morris K. Udall Foundation, a federal agency dedicated to honoring the legacy of the late Congressman Udall in
consensus-building, environmental policy and Native American affairs. The U.S. Institute was created by Congress as an impartial, non-partisan service organization to assist in resolving environmental, natural resources, and public lands conflicts involving the federal government. It is located in Tucson, Arizona, and works nationally in a variety of program areas, drawing on its national referral resources.

Thanks to Jackson Underwood for contributing to today's newsletter.

Friday, June 26, 2009

7th Annual Leupp Kiln Conference in Snowflake, Pecos Reminder

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

- 7th Annual Leupp Kiln Conference to be held September 5th – 7th near Snowflake, AZ: The Leupp Kiln Conference, which began in Old Leupp, Arizona in 2003, is an informal gathering of archaeologists, potters and other interested folks with an interest in ancient and modern ceramic technology in the Southwest. The primary sponsor of the event is the Institute for Archaeological Ceramic Research. This year’s conference will be hosted by Jo Ann and Bill Weldon at their property 11 miles east of Snowflake, Arizona, on Labor Day weekend, September 5th – 7th.

- (Reminder) There is still time to submit an abstract for this year's Pecos Conference: The 2009 Pecos Conference will be held in Cortez and Dolores, Colorado, on August 6-9. The Program Chairman for this year's conference is Chuck Riggs at Fort Lewis College. As in past years, we are soliciting field reports and archaeological research presentations for the Friday and Saturday programs. These reports should be no more than 10 minutes in length and informal in presentation. As usual, there will be no audio-visual equipment available for these presentations. The presentations will be held in a separate tent from the one with the vendors and poster sessions. Please submit a title and short abstract (30-35 words) to Chuck Riggs at: The registration form and further information on papers can be found on the Pecos web site at the link below. Deadline for early registration is June 30.

- Navajo Textiles to be Featured at University of Colorado Museum: A collection of rare Native American textiles will be on display for the next year at the University of Colorado's Museum of Natural History. The exhibit -- "Navajo Weaving: Diamonds, Dreams, Landscapes" -- features approximately 100 blankets, rugs and belts, including many that haven't been previously shown, from the museum's Joe Ben Wheat Southwest Textile Collection. - Colorado Daily

- Kibab National Forest Archaeologists Honored at Arizona Preservation Conference: Kaibab National Forest archaeologists received statewide recognition Friday as part of the Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards. The awards recognize people, organizations, and projects that represent outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona’s prehistoric and historic resources. Specifically, the Kaibab National Forest Heritage Program received the Government Agency Award in Public Archaeology. The Kaibab National Forest is also a partner in two organizations that received the Private/Non-Profit Entity Award in Public Archaeology. Those organizations are the Grand Canyon Flagstaff Stage Coach Line Partnership and the Kaibab Vermilion Cliffs Heritage Alliance.

- Anthropology, Geography, Politics and the Environment Intersect at Unique University of Arizona Conference on the Borderlands: Understanding ways people interact with the land and also the social, cultural, political and historical influences shaping interactions is increasingly critical in studying and understanding environmental and borderlands history. This is particularly true among college and university faculty working with and within those disciplines. That is why The University of Arizona's history department coordinated and is hosting an institute to help 25 faculty from across the nation to think and teach more critically about cultural and environmental history in a broader and binational context

- Numbers of Heritage Tourists Around Mesa Verde Remains Stable, Despite Economic Downturn: The economy hasn't slowed down tourists visiting Montezuma County, but it has changed how they travel. "Things are going OK - especially for this economy," said Lynn Dyer, tourism director of Mesa Verde Country. "None of us were expecting it to be a blockbuster, banner year, but things seem to be doing well." According to the Cortez Colorado Welcome Center, visitation is up 3 percent from the same period last year, totaling 12,613 between January and May. - Durango Herald

- Travelouge - Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada: The vivid red hued sandstone cliffs that you see before you were thrust upwards through the floor of the Mojave Desert, around 150 million years ago, by subterranean pressures beyond imagining. Whilst the Petroglyphs carved by stone knives on the rock’s weathered surface bear silent testament to the passing of the ancient “Anasazi” people some 3,000 years before. - Phoenix Examiner

- New 'Molecular Clock' Aids Dating Of Human Migration History: Researchers at the University of Leeds have devised a more accurate method of dating ancient human migration – even when no corroborating archaeological evidence exists.

- Employment Opportunity (Austin): We have the following Archaeologist III (Archaeologist & Interpretive Guide) position open for experienced professionals at Big Bend Ranch State Park, our State Park that adjoins the eponymous National Park on its western side. So think Chihuahuan Desert, Basin & Range Cenozoic volcanics and mixed sediments, confirmed human activities over the past ~11,000 years, and paddling or rafting in the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo.

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

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mesoamerican Diet, Excavations on Utah Potter's Kiln

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

- Domestication Of Chile Pepper Provides Insights Into Crop Origin And Evolution:
Chile peppers have long played an important role in the diets of Mesoamerican people. Capsicum annuum is one of five domesticated species of chiles and is one of the primary components of these diets. However, little is known regarding the original location of domestication of C. annuum and the genetic diversity in wild relatives. Researchers have now found a large amount of diversity in individuals from the Yucatan Peninsula, making this a center of diversity for chiles.

- Excavations on Kiln Site Used By Pioneer-Era Master Potter: Thomas Davenport fired up a kiln in southern Utah's first pioneer settlement and started making pottery and crockery that slowly spread through the West along with his reputation as a craftsman. The old site in Parowan, where Davenpoprt manufactured the clay pieces, is being excavated now by a team from Michigan Technological University led by a associate professor who has been studying Davenport and his work for the past 10 years.

- Tribe from New Mexico Now One Step Closer to Formal Federal Recognition: This is a story of numbers and the quest of one Native American tribe. The Piro-Manso-Tiwa Indian Tribe, Pueblo of San Juan de Guadalupe of Las Cruses, N.M., has been seeking federal recognition from the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs for almost 40 years, but with the help of Lee Ann Allen, a UNT anthropology student, the American Indian tribe is one step closer to receiving recognition. One of the requirements of Bureau of Indian Affairs requires is for the tribe to have complete records. In order to accomplish this, Allen lived with the tribe's cacique Edward Roybal Sr. and his wife, and spent eight to nine hours a day, sometimes six days a week, organizing the tribal archives. - North Texas Daily

- Jornada Mogollon artifacts found at White Sands: Artifacts have been found near White Sands Missile Range of the Jornada Mogollon, who lived mostly in the Tularosa Basin more than 650 years ago. The archeological find was discovered last year during preliminary site preparation for construction of facilities for the 2nd Engineer Battalion, which was activated at White Sands in October. Archaeologists consider the artifacts "a significant discovery" because they suggest that the Jornada Mogollon temporarily occupied the site two separate times, first around A.D. 1150 and the second from about A.D. 1250 to 1350.

- Phoenix Museum of History to Close: The museum that holds prized artifacts from Phoenix's early days will close on June 30 because it doesn't have enough money to operate. The Phoenix Museum of History would like to merge with another organization so that the museum can reopen later, officials say. It's unclear, however, if or when that would happen. "We are hoping to come back stronger, but right now, the money is not there," said Frank Barrios president of the museum's board of trustees. - Arizona Republic

- US Government Seeks Dismissal of Geronimo Repatriation Lawsuit: US officials are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the government by descendants of Apache leader Geronimo to recover his remains. The descendants want to rebury Geronimo, who was buried in Oklahoma in 1909, in his native land in New Mexico. They are also seeking the return of body parts they say were stolen in 1918 or 1919 by a secret society at Yale University known as Skull and Bones. But justice officials say the law cited by the plaintiffs is not applicable.

- 11th Annual Meeting of National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers to be Held in Durant Ok, August 10-17: The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will host our annual meeting, as well as related events and training sessions. The Tribe's Choctaw Casino-Resort-Hotel in Durant, Oklahoma, will be the main meeting location, and they have graciously offered a discounted room rate for NATHPO participants. This year's meeting theme is, "Tribal Historic Preservation and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)."

- Second Man Linked to Artifacts Investigation Found Dead: A second defendant indicted following an investigation into the theft and illegal trafficking of American Indian artifacts from the Four Corners area has been found dead in an apparent suicide, the FBI said Friday. - Santa Fe New Mexican

- Maya Intensively Cultivated Manioc 1,400 Years Ago:A University of Colorado at Boulder team has uncovered an ancient and previously unknown Maya agricultural system -- a large manioc field intensively cultivated as a staple crop that was buried and exquisitely preserved under a blanket of ash by a volcanic eruption in present-day El Salvador 1,400 years ago.

- Earlier Dates for Peopling of the Americas: Many, if not most, Native people insist that their ancestors have lived on this continent since time immemorial, and some mainstream scientists are beginning to weigh in on their side.

- (Reminder) Today is the Last Chance to Register for the Friends of Arizona Archives Annual Meeting: The meeting will take place on Thursday, June 25, starting at 11:00 a.m. in the Arizona Capitol Museum. The theme of the meeting is "Arizona Archives and Authors." The keynote speaker at the meeting will be Heidi Osselaer, author of the recently published book "Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950." People that register by June 22 and attend the meeting will receive a free book and a free lunch, courtesy of FAzA

- Conference Posits a New Vision of our Relationship with Water and Earth:
Elders and artists from Hopi, Navajo and the West, scientists and researchers from across the country and across cultures, and conference attendees shared their teachings, worldviews and wisdom at the Braiding Through Water conference presented by Black Mesa Trust. Water is a living, sentient substance that flows through and connects all life, explained Hopi Tobacco/Rabbit Clan at Hotevilla Keeper of the Pipe Jerry Honawa.

Tubac Resident Wins Arziona GAAC Public Archaeology Award:Tubac property owner Linda Ellinor has received the Governor’s Advisory Commission Award in Public Archaeology in the category of private developer/landowner. Linda purchased three adjacent properties in the heart of Tubac, just diagonally across the street from the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, to establish a new business, the Floating Stone Inn and Spa. These three properties include the Charles D. Poston Territorial House, an adjoining building that Poston used as the office of the Sonoran Exploring and Mining Company, and the Ysidro Otero House. Plans called for an extensive remodeling of the land involved, but realizing its historic importance, Linda sought out the Tubac/Santa Cruz County Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society for assistance. Linda’s appeal to that group elicited the support of its members and its former chapter advisor, professional archaeologist Deni J. Seymour. A dig on the property was planned and conducted, the results of which are currently being written up for a published report and the artifacts from which are currently being prepared for curation at the Arizona State Museum. Linda provided financial support for the effort and even instructed her architects to modify their design to preserve evidence of a foundation wall perhaps dating to the Spanish Colonial period. She did this despite being under deadline pressure to begin the building process and knowing that, under particular circumstances, the results of the excavation might create delays to that project. In nominating Linda for the GAAC award, chapter president Alan Sorkowitz said, “Linda has placed documenting and preserving a part of Arizona’s history above her own economic interest as a property owner—done the right thing rather than simply the most expedient.” This prestigious award recognizes Linda for her support of Arizona’s archaeology and history.

Thanks to Gerald Kelso, Adrianne Rankin and Alan Sorkowitz for contributions to today's newsletter.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Commentary on Artifact Raids Continues - INAH Partners With Google.

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

- INAH Partners with Google to Restore Heritage Tourism: Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History has signed an agreement with Google Mexico to promote archaeological and historical sites in a bid to revive tourism following the swine flu epidemic. The plan uses several elements of the Google platform, including placing maps of archaeological sites and directions to them on Google Earth. - BBC4

- Commentary on Artifact Raids Continue: The individuals are accused in federal indictments of stealing, receiving or trying to sell Ancestral Puebloan artifacts stolen from public and tribal lands. One of the individuals indicted, a Blanding physician, reportedly took his own life. That death indeed is a tragedy. But so is the looting. Artifacts removed from their context are disconnected from the stories they have to tell. Furthermore, they do not belong to the people who profit from their sale. Although those people may argue that anything found on public lands is theirs for the taking, that is not true legally and certainly is questionable ethically, as well.

- Afidavits Illustrate Federal Case Against Alleged Pot-hunters: Jeanne Redd tried to peddle a shell necklace from tribal land made famous in a Tony Hillerman novel. Aubry Patterson would go pot hunting and instead came across American Indian skeletons. And Tad Kreth assured his worried grandmother that he never would end up in jail over his artifact dealing. So alleges a batch of new search-warrant affidavits released Tuesday in federal cases against these three southern Utahns and others indicted last week in what officials are calling the biggest-ever crackdown against illegal traffickers of pre-Columbian tribal artifacts.

- Craig Childs Describes Federal Case as A Raid on the "Good 'Ole (Artifact) Boys:" After federal raids last week on the somewhat casual, small-town traffic in illicit Southwest artifacts, one prominent pot hunter is dead and nearly a dozen more are under indictment. The criminal actions grew out of a two-year undercover investigation in the Four Corners region, in which a wired informant purchased more than $300,000 in illicit antiquities. Most were bought in the high desert town of Blanding, Utah. - LA Times

- Resentment Grows in Blanding: The backlash started soon after, and not just because of the arrest of James and Jeanne Redd. Another group of agents had yanked Nick Laws, 30, from his home with such force that they broke some of his toes, local officials say. Nearly 20 agents had surrounded a pair of mobile homes belonging to septuagenarian brothers and led them away in cuffs. Local authorities called the raids overkill. The county sheriff, whose brother was among those charged, launched his own investigation into how suspects were treated. Then a day after his arrest, Dr. Redd killed himself. - LA Times

- Concepts of Value and Material Culture Compared and Contrasted in Utah: Like many people last weekend, I took the public tour of the new Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stores some of its most precious artifacts. In one of the library's reading rooms, some artifacts are housed in glass cases. They run the gamut from a first-edition copy of The Book of Mormon with handwritten notations by Joseph Smith to a genealogy board game from the '70s (with garish colors true to the period). Such artifacts are a record of a people. The artifacts are clues to how they lived their lives, and what they believe to be important. Nobody would look at these precious items and say to themselves: "Gee, I wonder how much these would fetch on eBay?" The monetary value of artifacts from another group of people -- the Native American tribes of the Four Corners area of southeastern Utah -- was a hot topic last week, when federal officials announced the arrests of two dozen suspects accused of trafficking in looted archaeological items.

- Arizona Preservation Conference Starts Tomorrow: Just a reminder that the 7th Annual Statewide Preservation Partners conference is this Thursday to Saturday at the Phoenix Hyatt. There are some excellent archaeological sessions planned on local ordinances, Native American perspectives on preservation, a recap of Aprils Traditional Cultural Properties conference, the Arizona State Museum's pottery vault project, big public projects such as the Light Rail project, Interstate-10 in Tucson, and the Phoenix convention center, how to balance public access to sites with the risk of vandalism, the analysis of historic period archaeological materials, and far more. The event and features the Governors Archaeology Awards, a workshop on how to remove graffitti from rock art and other archaeological places, and national speakers Donovan Rypkema and Gwendolyn Wright.

- Lecture on Chocolate in the Ancient Americas this Sunday at the Anasazi Heritage Center: Historian Sharon Edgar Greenhill will speak about the deep history of a near-magical food—chocolate— at the Anasazi Heritage Center on Sunday, June 21, at 2:00 pm. Her appearance is part of the 2009 Four Corners Lecture Series, which also sponsors events at Mesa Verde National Park, Fort Lewis College, the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and the Cortez Cultural Center. Museum admission will be free throughout the day on June 21.The Bureau of Land Management Anasazi Heritage Center is 3 miles west of Dolores on State Highway 184, and is open daily from 9 to 5. For more information, call the Center at (970)882-5600, or visit the web site at the following link:

- Plein Air Painting Show At Anasazi Heritage Center: Dolores, Colo: The Plein Air Painters of the Four Corners will present their 2009 summer exhibition at the Anasazi Heritage Center from July 1 through September 7. An opening reception and “paintout” (weather permitting) will take place at the museum on July 12, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. This will be a juried event, with a “Best of Show” award given at the reception. The paintings on exhibit will be offered for sale. Proceeds benefit both the artists and the nonprofit Canyonlands Natural History Association.

Thanks to Sarah Herr and Michael D. Mauer for contributions to today's newsletter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Political Fallout from Federal Pothunting Raids

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

- Utah Senators Call Pothunting Raids "Overkill" Utah's U.S. senators say they want Congress to investigate the actions of federal agents who arrested two dozen people for the theft of ancient artifacts stolen from public and tribal lands in the Four Corners area. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, both Republicans, told the Deseret News of Salt Lake City that the raid was overkill. The two made the comments during interviews at the state's GOP convention on Saturday. - Santa Fe New Mexican

- Suicide of Man Accused in Federal Looting Raid Compounds Political Backlash in Southern Utah: The few state GOP delegates from southeastern Utah who drove for hours up to north Davis County for the convention also had hard feelings. "It was Gestapo tactics," said Larry Sorrell, a rancher from San Juan County. After being arrested and charged with the federal crime of illegally taking an Indian artifact from federal land, local physician James Redd apparently killed himself Thursday night.,5143,705310375,00.html

- Many Suspects Accused of Looting Have Criminal Records Including Convictions Tied to Methamphetamine Trade: Court records indicate many of those charged Wednesday with stealing and trafficking in Native American artifacts aren't strangers to accusations of theft, or the type of drug-related offenses that some speculate may be driving the black-market operation.

- List of Charges in Federal Raids:

- One Native Perspective Supports Antiquities Law Enforcement: It's just 25 miles from Blanding to this lovely town on the banks of the San Juan River. But the thinking here about a two-year federal sting operation on alleged traffickers in Native American antiquities is a world away. In Blanding, residents are furious that federal authorities have indicted two dozen people, most of them townspeople, on charges they trafficked in archeological artifacts. But in the hamlet of Bluff, just north of the Navajo Nation, people think the authorities did the right thing.

- Despite Recent Law Enforcement Efforts, the Trade in Looted and Sacred Objects Continues Unabated: Shannon Keller O’Loughlin has a unique job. As part of her work as tribal attorney for the Onondaga Nation, she monitors e-Bay and other Web sites of places that might harbor and trade in sacred items that rightfully belong to Indian nations. “It’s amazing the kinds of things they continue to sell, not just from North American Indian cultures, but from all around the world. To Sotheby’s and some of these other big auction houses, they’re just commodities,” said O’Loughlin, Choctaw of Oklahoma. She not only monitors the whereabouts of sacred objects, but also tries to get them back to their rightful owners.

- Archaeology Southwest Covers Recent Findings on the Early Agricultural Period: The most recent issue of the Center for Desert Archaeology’s quarterly magazine, Archaeology Southwest, is devoted to “The Latest Research on the Earliest Farmers.” It was guest edited by Sarah A. Herr of Desert Archaeology, Inc., and it summarizes presentations made in August 2008 at an Early Agriculture Advanced seminar held at the Colton House at the Museum of Northern Arizona in conjunction with the Pecos Conference. For an online preview, follow the link below.. Copies of this 20-page, full color issue that initiates the second decade of Archaeology Southwest can be purchased for $3.00 from the Center for Desert Archaeology. There are two, online supplemental articles that have been posted recently on the Center website. The first is a commentary on these published articles written by Zuni traditional farmer Jim Enote, titled “Indigenous Views of Research on Traditional Farming” ( The second article is a brief discussion and a series of distribution maps compiled by Desert Archaeology, Inc. flaked stone analyst R. Jane Sliva titled “Common Middle Archaic and Early Agricultural Period Points in Southern Arizona” ( These supplements are valuable additions to this issue of Archaeology Southwest and are free downloads.

- Hopi Students Embark on Museum Studies Tour of Washington DC as Part of Innovative NAU Anthropology Program: A group of Hopi youth and elders who are part of a Northern Arizona University anthropology project are heading to Washington, D.C., to learn ways to preserve their culture. Sixteen Hopi teens, along with five Hopi elders and project staff, will conduct cultural preservation activities at the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of Natural History from June 15-19 as part of the "Footprints of Ancestors" project. - Northern Arizona University

- Excellent Video Presentation on Katsina Iconography from the Arizona State Museum and Arizona Public Media: Diane Dittemore, ASM curator of ethnographic collections, is featured on an Arizona Illustrated segment, discussing the State Museum's "Circles of Life" exhibition.

- The Santa Rita Hotel is a Threatened Tucson Treasure. The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation has asked the City of Tucson and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to work together to come up with a solution that preserves and restores the 1917 wing of the historic Santa Rita Hotel AND brings the corporate headquarters of TEP to downtown. There has been a long term consensus on the important role of historic preservation in downtown revitalization. In 1999, Luis Gutierrez, then Tucson’s City Manager, spearheaded a drive to celebrate Tucson’s “culture, history, and traditions” as the cornerstone of urban revitalization. And Tucson’s current Mayor and City Council say of the Congress District where the Santa Rita Hotel is located: “The eclectic collection of historic properties, theatres, live music, clubs, restaurants, boutique and specialty retail, moderate-density residential infill and the lively arts on Scott make up Downtown Tucson’s world-class entertainment district.” The Santa Rita Hotel can blend the past and the future and contribute to the economic revitalization of Tucson’s downtown. The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation has recently posted historical background about the Santa Rita Hotel on its website. Follow the link below to see what actions you can take to promote preservation of this Tucson treasure.

- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Defends Booting Oil Companies From National Park Boundaries: Bush administration officials pushed aside the National Park Service and sought to lease public lands for drilling on the borders of Utah's most famous redrock parks during their final days in power, a special report to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar says. Salazar was condemned by the oil industry for scrapping 77 of the leases weeks after taking office, but all of the drilling parcels had already been delayed by a federal lawsuit that still hasn't been resolved. Salazar defended his decision in a telephone interview Thursday, saying that leasing parcels on or near borders of national parks is highly unusual. - Associated Press

- Mesquite, Part of a Sonoran Way of Life: The pods, when chewed, served as a primitive candy bar of the desert. And the mesquite groves, themselves, pointed people to good sources of ground water. Mesquites were so important, in fact, that the Pima Indians named two months in their calendar for their life cycle, according to the book “Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert” by Wendy Hodgson. The months are “mesquite leaves moon” and “mesquite flowers moon.” The Pima also recognized five stages of the plant’s life cycle — from its leafing-out state to the time when its fruits are ready for harvest. - SW Explorer

- INAH Creates 3d Virtual Reality Models of Teotihuacan: As result of an agreement signed in 2007, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), through Aragon Faculty of Superior Studies (FES Aragon) handed over 600 files that contain virtual reality 3 dimensional models, virtual tours and images of Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone. Lilia Turcott Gonzalez, Director of FES Aragon, handed the material to Alfonso de Maria y Campos, general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), at the National Museum of Anthropology.

- Lecture Reminder (Tucson): Monday - June 15th, "Mounds and Migrants: New Perspectives on the Hohokam Collapse" presented by Preservation Archaeologist Jeffrey Clark from the Center for Desert Archaeology, 7:30 pm DuVal Auditorium University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Thursday June 18, 2009, Old Pueblo Archaeology Center's "Third Thursdays" free presentation: "Silverbell Coachline, an Early Hohokam Archaeological Site of the Northern Tucson Basin," with archaeologist Eric Eugene Klucas (Tierra Right of Way Ltd.), 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 - Navajo National Monument: The Betatakin Navajo National Monument (sic) sits beneath the Shonto Plateau at Tsegi Canyon and is dedicated to the preservation of the ancient cliff dwellings of the Anasazi or, as they are now termed, the Ancestral Puebloan people. The Betatakin dwellings, Betatakin literally means “Ledge House,” are nestled within a 450 foot high pink sandstone niche that overlooks an ancient Aspen forest. The 760 year old, 135-room pueblo ancestral home of the Hopi Deer, Fire, Flute and Water clans is remarkably well preserved. There is a free five mile ranger guided tour that departs each morning to the ruins. It is a strenuous 3-5 hour hike that begins at 7,300 feet and involves a 700 foot descent from the plateau into the canyon, and back again! You are allowed to enter Betatakin at your own risk. There is also a 17 mile hike (roundtrip) to the dwellings at Keet Seel. - Phoenix Examiner

- Travelogue - Tuzigoot National Monument: Tuzigoot, meaning "crooked waters," grew into a stone pueblo of two and three stories with a complex of 110 rooms housing about 250 people. It is representative of one type of village constructed by the Sinagua, "People without Water," who prospered in the region for about 400 years. At least 50 ruined villages dot the area along the Verde River and its tributary streams, most within an hour's drive of Tuzigoot National Monument.

Thanks to Michael Mauer, Gerald Kelso, and Adriane Rankin for contributions to today's newsletter.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Major Law Enforcement Action Against Southwestern Looters

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

- Major Law Enforcement Action Against Looters in the Four Corners Area: Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, issued a statement: “Let this case serve notice to anyone who is considering breaking these laws and trampling our nation's cultural heritage that the BLM, the Department of Justice and the federal government will track you down and bring you to justice.” - Los Angeles Times

- Undercover Agent Purchased Wide Range of Antiquities Stolen from Public Lands: For two years, someone close to a large network of archaeological looters in southeastern Utah was wired with an audio-visual recorder when buying ancient baby blankets, stone pipes, seed jars, digging sticks, pots, even a pre-Columbian menstrual pad. This "Source," as he or she is identified in a search warrant affidavit unsealed Wednesday, is an insider who worked with U.S. Bureau of Land Management and FBI special agents to nab two dozen suspects in the theft and sale of more than 250 American Indian artifacts from the Four Corners area.

- Arrests Part of Effort to End Years of Looting: While the criminal prosecution of 24 defendants nabbed in an operation dubbed "Cerberus Action" has just begun, the looting of treasures held sacred by Utah's earliest inhabitants has been going on for years. - Deseret News

- Navajo Tribal Leaders Express Dismay Over Supreme Court Decision on San Francisco Peaks: Navajo Nation Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan is disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal of a case that would protect the sacred Dook’o’ooslid, or San Francisco Peaks from further development and the use of reclaimed waste water to make artificial snow.

- National Park Service Exploring the Concept of Commemorating the Navajo Long Walk: Should the trail be commemorated given it is such a painful piece of the Navajo past? Those will be some of the issues discussed when the National Park Service hosts a series of open houses on the reservation in the coming weeks.

- Papago Park Master Plan Workshop to be Held on June 15th: The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale are conducting a public planning process to develop a vision and series of recommendations to guide the future of Papago Park. This Regional Master Plan will address natural, cultural, historic and archaeological resources as well as outdoor recreation, educational and interpretive programs, restoration of natural ecosystems, and the type and scope of park-related facilities and infrastructure. Cultural sites include Loma del Rio, a late Classic period Hohokam pueblo; Hole in the Rock, a probable archaeo-astronomical site that is also a Traditional Cultural Property; and many historic features dating from the early 1900s, including the National Register-listed Webster Auditorium and picnic/recreational facilities constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The next public workshop is in Tempe on Monday, June 15th, with both an morning and an evening session at different locations. See the project’s website,, for more information or to provide online comments; or call the project hotline at (602) 391-6800.

- The Strange Story of Geronimo's Remains: As with other great Western figures—Billy the Kid, Custer, Wyatt, Hickok—Geronimo's death wasn't an end, but a beginning. He's too much fun to say goodbye to, and far too useful. The question now is whether his skull and two femurs sit inside a spooky gothic stone building known as the Tomb, on High Street in New Haven, Conn. It has long been rumored that several Yale students—among them Prescott Bush, father of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and grandfather of former President George W. Bush—dug up Geronimo's remains in 1918 while taking artillery training at Fort Sill. - Tucson Weekly

- Monument to the "Colorful Character" Who Founded Phoenix has been Missing for Six Years: In 2003, a resident of the city Swilling helped establish plowed off the asphalt street and smacked into the marker that was placed on the sidewalk near a bus station. Ferguson was watching television news on the morning following the accident and saw that the marker had been hit. But he figured it would be restored and set up again. It never was. He got curious and started making phone calls. He found Officer Terry Sills, who is the department's traffic complaint coordinator. Sills was able to get the report and give details to Ferguson. It happened on Dec. 14, 2003, at 11:55 p.m. According to the report, a clean-up crew took the damaged monument to a service yard in east Phoenix. "Then it disappeared," Sills said. - Arizona Republic

- Tonight's Meeting of the Pacific Coast Archaeology Society will Feature Presentation on Puebloan Pottery: Pacific Coast Archaeological Society's June 11th meeting will feature Dr. John E. Collins speaking on "Introduction to Southwest Pueblo Indian Pottery." Meeting information: Thursday, June 11, 2009, 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA. Meeting is free and open to the public.

- Lecture Opportunity - Tucson: Monday, June 15, 7:30 pm DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N Campbell Ave. Preservation Archaeologist Dr. Jeffrey Clark, from the Center for Desert Archaeology, will present the monthly Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Lecture. His talk is entitled "Mounds and Migrants: New Prospectives on the Hohokam
Collapse. The lecture is free and open to the public.

- Lecture Opportunity - El Paso: On June 18th, at 7:30 Pm, Dr. William H. Walker will speak at the El Paso Museum of Archeology, 4301 Transmountain Road. Dr. Walker’s talk will explore the links between cultural conceptions of the natural world and their influence on responses to climate change in ancient southwest New Mexico. He will argue that natural forces (wind, ice, rain, sun) would have been personified as animate beings. Therefore, changes in climate such as the medieval warm period A.D. (1000-1150) and the Little Ice Age (1400-1850) would have been perceived by the ancients as the results of changing actions of animate beings. Understanding such perceptions is key to understanding changes in material culture including pottery styles and architecture.

- National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers to Offer Artifact Conservation Workshop, July 12-17: Caring for the art, culture and archaeological materials of our past and present is not as simple as putting materials on a shelf in a secure room. Aging is the result of nine agents of deterioration acting on all materials to make them fall apart. Caretakers can reduce and eliminate aging by understanding how each of these agents operates and how to stop them. Students will have hands on experience with museum monitoring equipment and techniques. Students will then examine specific materials - buckskin, beadwork, rawhide, basketry, ceramics, stone and metal are some - and learn about how they are affected by the agents and how damage can be mitigated. Lab time includes practice in examination and cleaning. Students learn how to determine what can be done by them and what requires a professional conservator. Class lectures will be supplemented with lots of lab and hands-on opportunities.

Thanks to Tom Wright and Gerald Kelso for contributions to today's newsletter.

Monday, June 8, 2009

One Traditional Cultural Property Saved, Another to Be Doused in Frozen Effluent

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

- Supreme Court Strikes Down Hopi and Navajo Claims of Religious Freedom, Allows Lower Court Ruling to Allow Effluent at Snowbowl to Stand: The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from Indian tribes that want to block expansion of a ski resort on a mountain they consider sacred. The justices said Monday they will not get involved in a dispute between a half-dozen Western tribes and the Arizona Snowbowl ski area north of Flagstaff. The tribes wanted to block the expansion because the resort plans to use treated wastewater to make artificial snow on the mountain.

- New Mexico Historical Preservation Division Votes to Protect Mount Taylor: The cultural and natural resources of New Mexico's Mount Taylor will now be protected by the state, ending a yearlong battle between American Indians and landowners all concerned about preserving their rights to use the mountain without interference. A state committee voted unanimously Friday to list the mountain on the State Register of Cultural Properties, a state spokesman said. - Google News

- Arizona Governor Plans to Close Arizona Historical Society by 2014: The Governor’s budget completely eliminates funding for the Arizona Historical Society by phasing out state appropriated dollars over the next five years. If her proposal is approved, the Arizona Historical Society will cease to exist.

- A Coalition of Museum Supporters Mounts Opposition to the Autry Center's Dismantling of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles: he Coalition’s vision is one of a loving rehabilitation of the existing historic Southwest Museum Building and a sensitive expansion of both exhibition space and other related complementary uses much in the same way Griffith Observatory is currently being renovated to care for its future as an important part of Los Angeles history. For this reason, 20,000 square feet of the exhibition space that Autry now proposes for Griffith Park instead should be added to the Southwest Museum site to enhance public access to the Collection in the setting originally envisioned by Charles Lummis.

- San Diego Anthropology Museum Parts Ways With Director: Noted anthropologist Mari Lyn Salvador is no longer chief executive of the San Diego Museum of Man, and the Balboa Park institution won't say why it parted ways with its leader. Before coming to San Diego, Salvador was a tenured professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico and chief curator of its Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. - Signs on San

- Registration Now Open for National Historic Preservation Conference: Get inspired with new ways to sustain your own community and organization at the National Preservation Conference. Discuss the latest research and strategies to place preservation at the center of green practices. Learn what tools your colleagues in the field are using in their hometowns by joining 2,000 of them in Nashville. Get the invigorating education and networking that is the hallmark of the National Preservation Conference. In addition, our discussions will be informed by the cutting-edge research and policy advocacy of the National Trust’s Sustainability Initiative. You’ll return home with new ideas and a fresh perspective on preservation’s role in sustainability, the new economy, and in telling everyone’s stories – Sustaining the Future in Harmony with our Pasts.

- There is Still Time To Register for the Arizona Preservation Conference, Registration Rates Increase Thursday, June 11: The Arizona Preservation Foundation, Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, Arizona Department of Commerce’s Main Street Program, and the City of Phoenix invite you to join them at the 7th Annual Historic Preservation Partnership Conference. 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.

- Jicarilla Apache Nation Names New Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, National Park Service Supports the Nomination: The Director of the National Park Service has formally approved the proposal of the Jicarilla Apache Nation to assume certain State Historic Preservation Officer duties within the exterior boundaries of the tribe’s reservation in New Mexico. The Tribe has assumed formal responsibility for review of Federal undertakings pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. - MS Word Document

- Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community Will Celebrate Grand Opening of Two Waters and Community Day: The community will celebrate the grand opening of the new Two Waters administrative complex on June 9, 2009. The event will also coincide with the annual observance of SRPMIC Community Day. The grand opening will start with a couple of morning ceremonies followed by an afternoon and evening program. Food and entertainment will also be provided during the event. Besides the Grand Opening, the SRPMIC will also observe Community Day. The SRPMIC was officially established by executive order by President Ruthford B. Hayes on January 10th, 1879. Later that year, the order was modified by a second executive order on June 14th, 1879 which established the current boundaries of the SRPMIC and has also become known as Community Day.

- Many National Parks to Host 3 Free Summer Weekends: The National Park Service is looking to stimulate summer vacations at national parks. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday that entrance fees at 147 national parks and monuments -- including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite -- will be waived on three weekends this summer. The weekends are June 20-21, July 18-19 and August 15-16. - Casper Star Tribune

- National Park Service Placing Books, Studies and Other Reports Online: More than 1,000 books, studies, and reports are available online, courtesy of the National Park Service’s Park History Program. Highlights of the latest additions include The Historic Period at Bandelier National Monument (2002)
- World Archaeology - Oldest Known Ceramic Vessels Found in China: Researchers in China have dug up the oldest known pottery. How ancient is it? The late Paleolithic: 14,000 to 21,000 years old, according to a study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The pieces were most likely made and used by early foragers in the Yangzi Basin in the Hunan Province. - Scientific American

- Carving On Ancient Bone Found in Florida Apparently Depicts Mammoth or Mastadon: In what a top Florida anthropologist is calling “the oldest, most spectacular and rare work of art in the Americas,” an amateur Vero Beach fossil hunter has found an ancient bone etched with a clear image of a walking mammoth or mastodon.

- Archaeology Channel Hosts a Pledge Drive: This is a special programming note for our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel On Tuesday, June 2, we launch our Spring 2009 Pledge Drive. Our Pledge Drive is intended to expand our income from supporting Memberships to compensate for the loss of income from underwriting that we are experiencing. Each day for two weeks, through June 15, we will post a new Pledge Drive video with new information and progress reports. There you will find all the details and tools you need to participate and spread the word.

Thanks to Cherie Freeman, Carrie Gregory, Andrew Johnson, Gerald Kelso, and Tom Wright for contributions to today's newsletter.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Call For Papers for the 2009 Pecos Conference

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

- Pecos Conference Call For Papers: The 2009 Pecos Conference will be held in Cortez and Dolores, Colorado, on August 6-9. The Program Chairman for this year's conference is Chuck Riggs at Fort Lewis College. As in past years, we are soliciting field reports and archaeological research presentations for the Friday and Saturday programs. These reports should be no more than 10 minutes in length and informal in presentation. As usual, there will be no audio-visual equipment available for these presentations. The presentations will be held in a separate tent from the one with the vendors and poster sessions. Please submit a title and short abstract (30-35 words) to Chuck Riggs at: The registration form and further information on papers can be found on the Pecos web site.

- Festival of Native American Culture to be Held in Sedona / Verde Valley June 5 through June 13: Hosted by the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society, the festival is a non-profit event with proceeds dedicated to the protection, preservation and interpretation of the Native American cultural heritage sites of Sedona and the Verde Valley.

- PBS Bringing "Time Team" to America: WATCHING archaeologists sift through dirt to find pottery shards and Indian artifacts doesn’t seem like the most compelling Web video fare. But when PBS unveiled a video player on its Web site ( in mid-April, it was an episode of “Time Team America,” a new series that doesn’t even make its broadcast debut until July, that became the most viewed — more popular than selections from “Masterpiece Theater” or “Nova.”

- Preparations Underway for 13th Annual "Sheep is Life" Celebration: Sheep is Life celebrates sheep, wool, fiber arts, and the Navajo Lifeway with free events for the whole family on Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20, at the Navajo Preparatory School campus in Farmington, New Mexico. The public is invited to enjoy hands-on
activities, demonstrations, lectures, exhibits, and sheep and wool shows from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both days. Fiber arts and land management workshops are offered on Tuesday through Friday, June 16 – 19. Visit our website for a complete schedule, or call 505-863-3192.

Editor's note: June 1st marks the fourth anniversary of the Southwest Archaeology Today Newsletter and blog. The Center for Desert Archaeology would like to thank everyone who has helped us share news and information about southwestern archaeology and archaeology with an interested public audience. The Center has a number of improvements and surprises in store for our fifth year of publication, and we invite you to follow these developments as they are announced here.