Monday, October 19, 2009

Southwestern Archaeology as Cultural Collaboration

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

- Southwestern Archaeology is Becoming a Tool For Collaboration, Rather than an Irritant for Native American Populations: From a Native perspective, archaeology has often been seen as the central villain in America’s quest to uncover and claim – and sometimes illegally market – the remnants of an ancient past. But if current trends are any indication, archaeology’s rehabilitation may be well underway, as Native scholars and students bring a living past into a vibrant present to offset a history marked by non-Native disrespect for tribal traditions, including those dictating burial practices.

- Charlie Gilbert Passes: Charles Gilbert passed away Saturday, October 10th. Charles initially recovered from surgery in December, but eventually succumbed to complications from pneumonia. Charlie was an active member of the Arizona Archaeology Society and made many personal contributions to southwestern archaeology. Arrangements for services and tributes have been provided by Brian Kenny.

- History of Southwestern Loot and Looting: The “pot-hunting” culture of the Southwest dates back to the 1800s, when a Colorado ranching family began exploring and excavating the ruined cliff dwellings of the Anasazi, an ancient civilization that flourished centuries ago. Richard Wetherill and his brothers discovered entire homes filled with decorated pottery, jewelry, tools, sandals and finely woven baskets dating from about 600 to 1300 A.D. Thousands of grave sites, where the dead were wrapped in blankets and buried with their most valuable possessions, also were discovered. The findings, and the archaeological treasures the Wetherills brought back from their expeditions, drew national and international attention – and launched a lucrative trade in Indian artifact collecting that has persisted, legally and illegally, to this day.

- City of Tucson Seeks Private Funding to Complete Historic Garden Project: The city of Tucson will pass the hat, hoping to rake in as much as $1 million in private donations, to help finish Rio Nuevo's Mission Gardens — the centerpiece of what voters approved 10 years ago. Although the city is eligible for about $600 million in state taxes for Rio Nuevo, most of that has been redirected to a Downtown hotel and arena, prompting the City Council to create a short-term and long-term plan to finish the Mission Gardens project through private donations.

- Taliesin West and Taos Pueblo Listed on World Monuments Fund Register of Threatened World Heritage Sites: From vanishing Kyoto merchant houses to the tourist-inundated ruins of Machu Picchu, heritage sites around the world are under pressure as never before, according to a New York-based preservation group. The World Monuments Fund on Tuesday re leased its biannual watch list of global architectural treasures at risk from urban development, tourism, neglect and bad planning.

- Archaeological Discoveries in Marana First Blamed for Delay in Park Construction, then Recognized as a Cultural Treasure: "The Indian artifacts were a surprise for the park. We knew about them when we were building the roadway, but they were a surprise to the park," Murray said, referring to last year's widening of North Silverbell Road along the west side of the park site. A local archaeology firm excavated and removed the items, he said. "That's really been our largest issue, has been the archaeology," Murray said. But in the end, with the three display sites being included, "our greatest obstacle has turned into one of Marana's finest treasures."

- Hohokam Axe Found at Mesa Community College: Construction workers at Mesa Community College unearthed a prehistoric Hohokam artifact while digging a trench for a main water line at the Southern Avenue and Dobson Road campus. Rick Effland, who has been an anthropology professor at MCC for over 20 years, identified the artifact as a three-quarter groove ax from the Hohokam Tribe that dates to 1100 to 1200 A.D. - Arizona Republic

- Event Planning for the Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month Begins: The event planning committee has determined that the 2010 AAHAM theme will be the "Save Our Past: We Need You!". The event listing form is provided at the link below. The completed forms are due on October 29, 2009 so that they may be published in the official event listing.

- Lecture Opportunity (Phoenix): The Deer Valley Rock Art Center, an archaeology museum located in northwest Phoenix, is pleased to invite you to a free lecture Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center. Well-known rock art scholar, Ekkehart Malotki will give a talk entitled “The ‘Deep Structure' of Non-Iconic Rock Art: Human Universals.”

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Tonight, Oct 19th, Hopi elder Eric Polingyouma presents "Hopi Migration History" at the DuVal Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. 7:30-9 p.m.

- (World Archaeology) Roger Atwood Suggests that Iraq Needs a Site Stewards Program: AS United States troops begin withdrawing from Iraq, we should take stock of the staggering damage that Iraq’s ancient archeological sites have suffered from looting over the last few years. After the 2003 invasion, swarms of looters dug huge pits and passages all over southern Iraq in search of cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals. At Isin, where a Sumerian city once stood, I watched men sifting through tons of soil for 4,000-year-old objects to sell to Baghdadi dealers. It was mass pillage.