Friday, August 28, 2009

Federal Investigations of Southwestern Looting Akin to "Hillerman book Unfolding Before our Eyes"

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

- Comb Ridge Canyon to be Given to University of Utah for Preservation and Research: State authorities are transferring control of a remote canyon filled with prehistoric ruins to the University of Utah for a permanent research installation. A land trade set to occur in September will make university archaeologists permanent stewards of Range Creek Canyon, which stunned the scientific world when it was revealed in 2004.

- Looting Investigations Continue, Various Cases Are Described as "Like a Tony Hillerman Book:" What has become the nation's biggest crackdown on dealers of black-market Native American artifacts doesn't lack for intrigue. Armed raids. Secret informers. Sacred objects. Since the investigation began 2 1/2 years ago, 26 people, including a number of well-known antiquities collectors, have been charged in three states. Two suspects committed suicide, one of those a former Scottsdale resident. One man is charged with threatening the life of an informant who spearheaded the inquiry. In Arizona, at least two prominent collectors have been subjected to raids, and others voluntarily forfeited artifact collections to a museum, sources confirm. - Arizona Republic

- (Related Story) Investigations Now Include Internet Sales of Artifacts: A Colorado man who sold American Indian relics on the Internet is the latest person charged in a far-reaching federal investigation into the looting of ancient Southwestern artifacts.
A federal grand jury in Denver indicted Robert B. Knowlton, 66, late Tuesday. The Grand Junction man is charged with four counts of illegally selling archaeological artifacts and one count of transporting them from Colorado to Utah. Knowlton is the 26th person charged as part of a federal sting spanning more than two years in the Four Corners region. He's accused of selling and mailing three items last year taken from federal land: a pipe, a Midland knife point and a Hell Gap knife.

- Downtown Excavations for New Museum Site Provides View of Historic Denver: Archaeologists have uncovered the foundations of 100-year-old row houses, along with artifacts including children's toys, at the site of the state's new history museum in downtown Denver. The seven row houses, built between 1890 and 1904, extended along the north side of East 12th Avenue between Lincoln Street and Broadway.Artifacts found in the cellars include fine-diningware, silverware, porcelain dolls and some liquor bottles still containing alcohol. A few bones were found in one cellar, but they were of a puppy and not human. "Now we're trying to make the link from archaeology to anthropology; from bricks and mortar to domestic activities and economic conditions," said Steve Dominguez, senior archaeologist with RMC Consultants, hired by the Colorado Historical Society.

- Anasazi Heritage Center to Remain Open During Plaza Replacement: Construction begins this week to replace the entry plaza at the Bureau of Land Management Anasazi Heritage Center. The museum and offices will remain open and accessible to the public. A temporary, universally accessible front pathway will allow visitors easy access to the museum and its exhibit galleries during construction.

- New Exhibit in Texas to Display Creative Archaeological Photography: The J. Wayne Stark Galleries at Texas A&M will introduce The Creative Photograph in Archaeology: from the Traveling Photographers of the 19th Century to the Creative Photography of the 20th Century Thursday (Aug. 27). The exhibit will run through Oct. 7 in the Wright Gallery located in the Langford Architecture Center. Organizers say the exhibition is divided into five units that span 150 years. It visually portrays the delicate balance between documentation and creative vision in photographs with antiquities as the subject - from the first photographic attempts of the early travelers in the 19th century through the sophisticated work of the late 20th to early 21st century. A select group of famous photographers represented includes William Stillman, Frederic Boissonnas, Walter Hege, Herbert List and Goesta Hellner.

- The Second Editon of Linda Cordell's "Archaeology of the Southwest" Published by Left Coast Press: The second edition of this well-known textbook on Southwestern archaeology provides a coherent and comprehensive summary of the major themes and topics central to modern interpretation and practice. This edition offers a readable and accurate representation of current debates and research in the American Southwest. It challenges readers to integrate the structure and meaning of various broad regional trends that preceded the European conquest. It covers the latest in field research and topical syntheses. It addresses curricular cultural diversity requirements, and contains new maps, line drawings, and photos.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tubac): Plan to be with us at the North County Facility, 50 Bridge St., Tubac, on Thursday, September 10, at 7 PM when Allen Dart, Director of the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, opens the season with "Archaeology and You: Preserving the Past for the Future." Allen will tell us how artifacts and cultural features—ranging from small pieces of pottery and arrowheads to petroglyphs, glass bottles, coins, and other historical objects—are often the only sources of information that archaeologists have to answer questions about an ancient people's way of life. Using examples from here in southern Arizona, he will explain the importance of these items’ being left undisturbed in their original context.

- Reminder, Forum in Tucson Tomorrow 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;

- Employment Opportunity - New Mexico State Historian: Agency Director Sandra Jaramillo announced today that the search for a new State Historian is officially open to interested and qualified persons. This comes after the departure of former state historian Dr. Estevan Rael-Galvez to the National Hispanic Cultural Center. All applicants must apply directly through the State Personnel website and go to job ID# 20778 (A/O II State Historian, State Records Center and Archives).