Monday, November 2, 2009

Archaeoastronomy and Kivas

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

- Ohio Art Professor Studies Achaeoastronomy Links to Ancient Kivas in Southeastern Utah: Jim Krehbiel was up past midnight making a piece of art by layering maps and field notes onto photos he had taken of an ancient ritual site high on a cliff ledge in the desert Southwest. He looked at the image of the kiva and remembered how the ruins were nearly inaccessible. Krehbiel had to lower himself on a rope to reach them. Why, he wondered that night in the fall of 2007, would anyone build something so important in such a remote spot among the canyons and mesas? - Ohio Dispatch

- Retiring Mesa Verde Superintendent Highlights the Past and Future of the National Park: The local impacts of the new Mesa Verde visitors center topped the Mesa Verde National Park superintendent's final speech. The retiring Larry Wiese told the Cortez Chamber of Commerce he had come full circle since he delivered his first presentation as Mesa Verde's superintendent 16 years ago. "It really does feel right to come full circle. The timing is right to hand things off," he said, adding the visitor center is a go as soon as the president signs this year's national budget bill. Wiese said besides housing 3 million objects that have not had room to be displayed, the center will provide information designed to point tourists to Cortez, Dolores, Mancos and Montezuma County archeological attractions. - Durango Herald

- Apache Nations Requests Review of National Park Service Practice in Regards to NAGPRA: A group of Apache historic preservation officers is alleging that the National Park Service is improperly implementing the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act. In a letter sent to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in September, the Western NAGPRA working group said the NPS is allowing improper cataloguing of sacred and holy tribal items. The working group is composed of NAGPRA representatives from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Tonto Apache Tribe, and the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

- Social Inequality Found to Have Ancient Origins: he so-called “silver spoon” effect -- in which wealth is passed down from one generation to another -- is well established in some of the world’s most ancient economies, according to an international study coordinated by a UC Davis anthropologist. The study, to be reported in the Oct. 30 issue of Science, expands economists’ conventional focus on material riches, and looks at various kinds of wealth, such as hunting success, food-sharing partners and kinship networks. The team found that some kinds of wealth, like material possessions, are much more easily passed on than social networks or foraging abilities. Societies where material wealth is most valued are therefore the most unequal, said Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, the UC Davis anthropology professor who coordinated the study with economist Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute.

Thanks to Terry Colvin and Adrianne Rankin for contributing to today's newsletter.