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.