Monday, October 5, 2009

Archaeology Cafe this Tuesday, A Personal Perspective on Blanding Looting Cases

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

- Archaeology Cafe to Feature "Deserts, Diets, and Dentition: How the Introduction of Agriculture Affected Ancient Oral Health:" Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ. Free and open to the community-all are welcome. This month, we will be joined by Dr. James Watson, Assistant Curator of Bioarchaeology at the Arizona State Museum. As a bioarchaeologist, Jim examines health and disease in prehistoric populations through their skeletal remains. His work focuses in understanding prehistoric human adaptations in desert ecosystems and the role that local resources play in the adoption of agriculture--and the impact of these resources on oral health. Jim will discuss his current research projects, which examine oral health among the earliest farmers in the Sonoran Desert, and among incipient agriculturalists in the Atacama Desert along the northern coast of Chile.

- Blanding Archaeologist Winston Hurst Provides a Personal Perspective on Looting Issues: High above the spiky sandstone spine known as Comb Ridge that snakes for 120 miles through the desert, archaeologist Winston Hurst treads carefully through a cave of ruins. The sun blazes down, illuminating the ghostly dwellings carved into the alcoves more than a thousand years ago. To a stranger the pre-Columbian pueblo ruins seem breathtakingly intact -- walls and windows and rooms still standing, storage chambers for corn strewn with thousand-year-old cobs, large stone grinding slabs and brightly colored pottery sherds scattered throughout. The archaeologist sees only destruction.

- Tucson's Marist College May See Rebirth: Marist College dominates West Ochoa Street like a three-story vision of failure: It somehow failed to grasp modernity as 1960s urban renewal gutted surrounding barrios and left the banal Tucson Convention Center as a souvenir. But where man stumbled, nature seems eager to engage: Today, three corners of Marist College bear huge gray tarps, to protect them from further crumbling under furious monsoons. Another corner is bandaged in black plastic strips. On top, what appears to have been a triumphant cross is reduced to a pile of stone.

- NPS Preservation Training and Technology Grant is Funding Database for Research of Fibers -- Ohio State University is looking to provide ethnobotanists, archeologists and analysts with a new way to identify fibers found in prehistoric artifacts. Through a grant from NCPTT, the university is creating a database containing digital images, explanatory text and terminology.

- TUMACACORI, A Desert Treasure: Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. And though the crumbling church at Mission San Jose de Tumacacori, 30 miles north of the Mexican border, is well past its glory days, to me this sunbaked structure is nothing short of magnificent.
- Lecture Opportunity (Irvine): Pacific Coast Archaeological Society's October 8th meeting will feature Brett Wilson speaking on "The 'Desert Side' of Serrano Indian History." Meeting information: Thursday, October 8, 2009, 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA. Meeting is free and open to the public.

- The National Parks May be America's Best Idea, but the Parks face Serious Threats: On the heels of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, filmmaker Ken Burns’ new six-part love letter, comes National Parks in Peril [PDF], a sobering report released on Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO). The 25 most endangered parks are being threatened by dramatic declines in snow and water, by rising seas, extreme weather, the disappearance of native plants and wildlife, and by the onslaught of nonstop, human-generated pollution. The changes have already begun. - National Parks In Peril (PDF Document)

- Arizona Preservation Conference Scheduled: The 8th Annual Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference will take place in Flagstaff, May 13-14, 2010 at the du Bois Center on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Thanks to Carrie Gregory for contributing to today's newsletter.