Monday, August 24, 2009

Ancient Human Environmental Impacts

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

- Human Impacts on the Environment Have Ancient Precedents: Torben Rick, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, says the notion of hunter-gatherers living in perfect harmony with their environment is going the way of the dodo (another animal extinguished by early humans). He says he's discovered that indigenous people even altered America's coastlines, thousands of years ago.

- Geophysical Survey of Bernado Seeks Evidence About Sam Houston and the Battle of San Jacinto. Archaeologists are combing through a site about 50 miles northwest of Houston that nearly two centuries ago became Texas' largest plantation and then a staging area for Gen. Sam Houston's troops before the Battle of San Jacinto. The project that started this summer seeks to detail and preserve remains of Bernardo, a plantation established along the Brazos River in 1822 by Jared Ellison Groce II, one of the Old Three Hundred settlers of Stephen F. Austin's colony who received land grants from Spain. - The Statesman

- Its Time to Start Planning for the Eleventh Southwest Symposium: The Southwest Symposium planning committee is pleased to invite you to the XI Southwest Symposium Building Transnational Archaeolgies, which will be held in the city of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, on January 8 and 9 of 2010.

- Native Americans are Cultivating Stronger Economic Interests in Heritage Tourism: ON the road through the tree-studded high desert toward the small town of Chinle, Ariz., the car radio was bringing in the local Navajo station, with a playlist heavy in Top 40 hits, peppered with Navajo-language station breaks and car commercials. The sky was a cloudless blue, and I was on my way, with my childhood friend Esther Chak, to Canyon de Chelly, a geologic maze of towering red cliffs and deep-cut gorges dotted with pictographs and ruins of ancient cliffside villages. Lying in the heart of the 21st-century Navajo Nation, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in North America, a window into both an ancient world and a modern one.

- Enjoy a Hike at El Malpais: September is a wonderful time to visit El Malpais NCA and these hikes are part of a pair of special weekend programs. Two are part of an archaeological series, and two are a part of an evening series. Please join us. The temperatures are ideal, precipitation is less likely, the birds are migrating and the lighting is exquisite. Join El Malpais NCA for "Walking with the Ancestors," A pair of Saturday hikes in September. The ancestors left rare glimpses into their lives before European contact. Hike to their sites with our ranger naturalist and compare their art, farming, astronomy, and building technology with the present. The first hike is to Aldridge Panel on Saturday, September 19, 2009, followed by a second hike to
Citadel Site on Saturday, September 26, 2009. More information at 505.287.6607.

- Forum in Tucson Concerning the Fate of the Mission Garden and the Rio Nuevo Project: "greening Mission Garden: A Forum On Operation & Management Sponsored by The Drachman Institute, Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace, and the Office of Ethnohistorical Research at the Arizona State Museum. Saturday, 29 August 2009, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Arizona Historical Society, 949 E. 2nd St. This forum will describe the unique 4000-year history of agriculture in the Tucson Basin and explore creative alternative methods to fund efficient operations and management of this exciting community project. The organizers seek your input and involvement. Free and open to the public. Refreshments compliments of Fry's will be served. For more information and to RSVP contact Bill DuPont, Tel. 404-7237;

- Old Pueblo Archaeology Seeks Volunteers for Work Party: Old Pueblo Archaeology Center would like to put together a volunteer work party to spruce up around our Tucson classroom building before school groups start coming for our children's education programs in mid-September. Tasks include removing weeds, spreading a truckload of gravel on outdoor dirt-surfaces to keep mud from being tracked into buildings, moving some landscaping rocks, painting trim, and general property clean-up. If you could help us out on Saturday September 5 between 8 a.m. and noon or so, please contact Cris Wagner in Tucson at 520-798-1201 or at your earliest convenience.