Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hubble Trading Post Celebrates 125 Years

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

- Hubble Trading Post Celebrates 125 Years: For more than a century, trading posts were integral parts of Native American life in the Southwest. These posts were stores, owned mostly by Anglos, where Native Americans exchanged woven rugs, jewelry, baskets, wool and nuts for food and other necessities. Trading posts also served as banks and bustling social hubs. Today, most of them have been replaced by grocery stores and big box chains like Walmart, but a handful of establishments still function as traditional trading posts.

- Southwest Symposium Begins Jan 8th: For more information about the 11th biennial SOUTHWEST SYMPOSIUM, to be held in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, January 8-9, 2010, visit the conference website.

- NPR Examines the Loss of Hopi Language & Culture: For nearly 1,000 years, the Hopi people have lived on the same three mesas, land now considered part of northeastern Arizona. For all that time, they have been speaking the Hopi language, which is slowly dying. There are many hurdles standing in the way of preserving Hopi, including, for Hopi teens, the choice between preserving their culture and adopting a modern lifestyle.

- Ruins of Texas Ranch and Mission Remain in Funding Limbo: Ruins that archeologists call one of the last links to the original ranches and cowboys that shaped Texas have been kept behind a gate, literally buried, for more than two decades - awaiting the funding that would allow people to see them. The 18th-century Rancho de las Cabras complex, with its stone building remains, was a birthplace of the large commercial ranching operations that would help define the state. Preservationists have long hoped it could be fully excavated and opened to the public, but so far, the site has been unable to attract the money it would need from Congress or the National Park Service's stretched budget.,0,7102464.story

- Opportunity for Public Comment on National Park Service Policy on Oil and Gas Regulations Ends January 25th: Aztec Ruin is just one of the National Parks that could be impacted by adverse rulings regarding oil and gas exploration.

- Lecture Opportunity (Phoenix): The Agua Fria Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society is offering a free lecture on Archaeoastronomy of the Verde Valley, on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 7:00 PM at the Glendale Public Library Auditorium, 5959 West Brown (south of Peoria Ave). The speaker will be Ken Zoll, who has done extensive studies in the Verde Valley, including research on the V Bar V Ranch. Archeoastronomy is the study of the uses of astronomy by ancient civilizations
Membership is not required. Refreshments will be served.

- Changing of the Guard at Prescott Historic Preservation Office: From one history buff to another, the details of Prescott's past have been undergoing a major transfer in recent months. Longtime Prescott Historic Preservation Specialist Nancy Burgess will be retiring from her post at the end of December, and for the past six months she has been working closely with her replacement, Cat Moody, to ensure a smooth transition. A major part of that process: The shift of information, much of which Burgess has accumulated through the years as institutional knowledge.

- Old Pueblo Archaeology Hosts Fundraising Raffle: The next of the ever-popular "Old Pueblo - Young People" fundraising raffles (the eleventh since Old Pueblo Archaeology Center began holding these events in 1998) will be held on March 31, 2010, as a finale for Old Pueblo's celebration of the annual Arizona Archaeology and Heritage
Awareness Month.

Thanks to Jeffery Boyer and Carrie Gregory for contributions to today's newsletter.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Arizona Republic Advocates Expansion of Casa Grande National Monument

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

- Arizona Republic Advocates Expansion of Casa Grande National Monument: The National Park Service, which oversees Casa Grande monument, has done extensive studies and public outreach that make a strong case for the proposed expansion. The addition fits the Park Service's dual mission of preservation and interpretation. Enlarging the monument would protect evidence that current and future researchers need to continue answering the many questions about the Hohokam, whose culture faded away after 1450. This is part of our American heritage that must not be lost. - Arizona Republic

- BLM and Utah Stakeholders Reach Compromise on Preservation in Nine Mile Canyon: A wide coalition of interests -- including conservationists, tribal leaders, land regulators and a natural-gas developer -- has reached an agreement that could curtail the fight over damage to rock art in Nine Mile Canyon, state and federal officials announced Tuesday. The document, scheduled for signing Jan. 5, outlines how the U.S. Bureau of Land Management proposes to protect pictographs and petroglyphs created by Puebloan ancestors who lived throughout the Southwest more than 700 years ago.

- Pressure Mounts to Reestablish Wilderness Study Areas: The conservation community is counting on Ken Salazar, the native Coloradan heading the Interior Department, to reverse a ruling by his predecessor. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) used to be able to set aside land in Colorado and elsewhere as "Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs)" to be protected from development until Congress could decide whether to permanently designate all or part of it as federal wilderness. That WSA determination process was halted by Bush administration Interior Secretary Gail Norton, but Salazar could reinstate it.

- Archaeology Cafe in Tucson to Examine Historical Impact and Future Potential of Tucson's Electric Streetcars: The next meeting of Archaeology Cafe will take place on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, at 6:00 pm. Our guest this month will be transit historian Gene Caywood, who will share the history of Tucson's electric streetcars, as well as information about the City of Tucson's Modern Streetcar Project.

- California to Examine Preservation on Route 66: Of the eight states through which Route 66 passed -- the others are Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona -- California is the only one that has not done a cultural survey of the highway. - Los Angeles Times

- Pueblo Grande Museum Honored with AAM Accreditation: Phoenix’s Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park has, for the second time, earned a rare distinction from the American Association of Museums. The Association recently renewed Pueblo Grande Museum’s Accreditation, an honor earned by less than 5 percent of the 17,500 museums in the United States.

- Efforts to Save Comanche Language Begin at Texas Tech: This fall, a Texas Tech University professor of anthropology will begin the difficult task of collecting the remnants of the near-extinct Comanche language, then creating a way it can be taught in a university setting. Jeff Williams, chairman of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, will serve as an external evaluator for Numu Tekwapu, a project to document and revitalize the Comanche language. He will work with tribe members and researchers at Comanche Nation College in Lawton, Okla., to record what’s left of the language and create a method for teaching it to students at the college.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Las Capas Listed in Archaeology Magazine's Top Ten Discoveries for 2009

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

- Archaeology Magazine Names Excavations at Las Capas to List of Top Ten Discoveries in 2009: For years, archaeologists in the American Southwest have wrestled with a frustrating puzzle: How did ancient farmers grow corn in the cactus-studded Sonoran Desert as early as 2000 B.C.? Some form of irrigation was clearly necessary, but until 2009 no one had ever seen evidence for one of these primeval watering systems. Now at the site of Las Capas outside Tucson, archaeologist James Vint of Desert Archaeology Inc. and his colleagues have excavated an enormous network of canals and fields stretching over as many as 100 acres and dating to 1200 B.C. It is the oldest documented irrigation system in North America.

- Arizona State University's First Native American Archaeologist Honored at Commencement Ceremony: In the United States, most of the archaeology is about Native American cultures. Yet nationwide, there are only about 15 Native American doctorate-level archaeologists involved in the interpretation of their archaeological past. Today, William "Rex" Weeks joins their ranks as the first Native American to receive a doctoral degree with a specialization in archaeology from Arizona State University's highly competitive anthropology program. His inspiring success story was shared during the commencement ceremony.

- Southwest Symposium Seeks Venue for 2012 Conference: Responsibilities include retaining a conference facility and hotel, setting the program theme, identifying major paper and poster sessions and their coordinators, creating a program, and organizing a reception for participants. The conference organizers will also edit the conference proceedings volume. The Southwest Symposium currently has a publication arrangement with the University of Colorado to publish contingent on peer review.

- Coso Petroglyphs are a Little Known Californian Treasure: Everywhere you look, for a mile or so down what is known as Little Petroglyph Canyon, there are images pecked or scratched into the rock faces: stylized human figures in a variety of headgear, stick figures with bows and arrows, dogs or coyotes, bear paws with extra digits, all manner of abstract geometric patterns, zigzags and circles and dots, and hundreds upon hundreds of what looked like bighorn sheep, some small, some larger than life size. - New York Times

- Gila Cliff Dwellings Announce Winter and Holiday Hours: The Cliff Dwellings are open year-round. During the winter, visitors may hike to the dwellings between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, and while the gate to the dwellings closes at 4:00 pm, visitors have another hour in which to complete their hike. A guided tour of the Cliff Dwellings is offered daily at 12:00 p.m. The Monument is open year-round, including Christmas Eve (December 24), Christmas Day (December 25) and New Years Day (January 1). The Gila Visitor Center, however, will be closing at 12:30 p.m. on December 24th, and will be closed all day on December 25th and January 1st.

- Holiday Hours Announced for Anasazi Heritage Center: The Bureau of Land Management’s Anasazi Heritage Center will be closing at noon on Thursday, Dec. 24 and will remain closed on Christmas Day. The Center will reopen on Dec. 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Heritage Center will also be closed Jan. 1, 2010, and resume its seven
day a week 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. schedule through February.

- Ancient Ceramic found in Cave in the Manti-LaSal National Forest: A pot discovered under a rock in one of the canyons in the forest in early December may be between 800-1000 years old. "We will be doing a lot of study on this, but it appears to be Anasazi or Fremont in origin," said Charmaine Thompson, the archaeologist for the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

- UCLA Honored for Research at Historic Cemetery: UCLA's Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and a research associate have won the Governor's Historic Preservation Award for high-tech mapping efforts at the Marquez Family Cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon. - LA Times

- Autry Center Plans to Close Southwest Muesem: Last Saturday, 12/12/2009, the docents had their annual holiday gathering at the museum. John Gray made a surprise appearance, and announced to our group that the Southwest Museum site at Mt. Washington would be closing to the general public. The reason he gave was that they needed space for artifact restoration and conservation. He said that after 12/31/2009, the bookstore area will be closed and used to do work on the bead-work portion of the collection. Any public events now taking place at the museum will cease. - Griffithparkwayist@blogspot.

- US Army Continues to Threaten Sacred Native Site: The Comanche Nation and the U.S. Army have been battling over a proposed training/service center for the Fort Sill complex that was to be built on Medicine Bluff, a sacred site of not just the Comanche, but also the Kiowas, the Wichitas and the Apaches. Last year, the Army changed locations after a federal Judge blocked construction and ruled that all four bluffs had to be visible for the spiritual well-being of the Comanche people. The Army can still appeal the ruling, and the Comanche administration believes they will appeal in an attempt to drag out the litigation until the tribe runs out of money.

- North American Megafauna May Have Survived Longer than Currently Believed: Extinct woolly mammoths and ancient American horses may have been grazing the North American steppe for several thousand years longer than previously thought. After plucking ancient DNA from frozen soil in central Alaska, a team of researchers used cutting-edge techniques to uncover "genetic fossils" of both species locked in permafrost samples dated to between 7,600 and 10,500 calendar years.

- Mayans Working to Save Cultural Heritage Featured on the Archaeology Channel: An association of Tz’utujil Maya people from Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, struggle to establish a cultural center and archaeological site museum at the nearby lakeside site of Chuitinamit, once home to the Pre-Hispanic Maya King Tepepul and now badly looted. Including a tour of the museum, this film documents their accomplishments thus far and current endeavors in the face of artifact looting and natural catastrophe in the form of Hurricane Stan, which struck in 2005.

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Hypothesis About the Introduction of Maize to the Southwest

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

- New Hypothesis Suggests Maize Was Passed from Group to Group by Ancient Southwestern Hunter-Gatherer Populations: An international group of anthropologists offers a new theory about the diffusion of maize to the Southwestern United States and the impact it had. Published the week of Dec. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study, co-authored by Gayle Fritz, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues, suggests that maize was passed from group to group of Southwestern hunter-gatherers.

- University of Arizona Anthropology Department Reorganizes to Become a School of Anthropology: This fall, the University of Arizona's prestigious anthropology department, already ranked among the top five in the country, became even stronger. Under the UA transformation plan, the department reorganized into a school, adding more depth to its world-renowned archaeology program and increasing ways faculty and students can be engaged in the community.

- Save America's Treasures Announces 9.5 Million Dollars in Grant Awards, Including Several Southwestern Projects

- New Visitation Rules in Place for Moon House: As I hiked down the trail, I was approaching one of the last, best backcountry Anasazi sites in the Southwest, but I was still unprepared for what I found. It's that sense of self-discovery that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in its Monticello, Utah, field office seeks to preserve with new January 2010 rules for visiting Moon House. - Durango Herald

- San Juan Basin Archaeology Society Celebrates 30 Years of Stewardship: After a promise not to be pot hunters, the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society was granted its charter by the Colorado Archaeological Society in 1979. It is now the largest chapter in the state, with more members than Denver and other cities on the Front Range. - Durango Herald

- A First Hand Account of a Passport in Time Project: For five days last May, I worked as a volunteer archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Southern California's Cleveland National Forest. Through the service's Passport in Time (PIT) program, I located and photographed sites where the native peoples of 12,000 years ago, the Diegueños, carved stone tools and weapons, where 7,500 years ago their descendants ground seeds and nuts on rocks and where more-recent descendants produced pottery. - Washington Post

- Tour Opportunity with El Malpais National Conservation Area Just Keeps Improving: "Where else can you find 2 great kivas by a Chacoesque Great House? Where else can you find continuous presence from AD 655 to AD 1158? Where else can you visit what may be a pivotal great house for the region 2 days before winter solstice with only a 5 minute drive from I-40 and a 5 minute walk from pavement? Saturday, December 19th shows as high as 50F and sunny in 1 forecast model. AND we've just got OK to show Steve Lekson's fall lecture at Silver City, NM along with "Chaco" a film with mostly native interviews. Come for the films, come for the discussion over lunch, come for the Casamero walk, or come for all 3. Meet: Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at exit 85 on I-40 at 10:00 AM. Car-pool: 35 paved miles west on I40. Walk: 1 mile round trip. BLM El Malpais NCA: 505.280.2918

- Imperial Valley Archaeologist Jay Von Werlhof Passes: Von Werlhof is revered locally for his nearly 40 years of contributions to anthropology and archaeology. An Imperial Valley College instructor for 19 years before his retirement in 1992, von Werlhof taught anthropology, Indian studies and archaeology while supervising the museum during its early years.

- More of the Life and Contributions of Jay Von Werlhof

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Monday, December 21st Dr. Stephen Nash, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, will present the monthly Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Lecture. His talk is entitled "Fast Approaching Zero: Tree-Ring Dating at Mesa Verde National Park". Duval Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. 7:30 p.m.

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

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Randy McGuire Named Distinguished Binghamton Professor

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

- Randy McGuire Named Distinguished Professor at Binghamton University: McGuire, who earned his PhD from the University of Arizona, has had his work published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Catalan. His nomination notes that he “brings innovative thinking about archaeological theory and a creative integration of new theory into the practice of archaeology, making his research impactful, unique and world-renown.” McGuire’s work on Marxian and Marxist approaches in archaeology, his particular interests in history and power, and his ability to excel in both theory and practice lent a key voice in bringing these concerns back into American archaeology.

- Enjoy a Cool Hike and a Learning Experience at a Chacoan Great House Site (Grants):
Winter gives a fine opportunity to experience Casamero, a Chacoan style great house, while feeling the power of nature Chacoans faced without today's conveniences. Which conveniences did they have? How did their conveniences help them build in such a grand style in such a harsh climate? Who located its construction in a fashion that would make a Feng Shui master smile? What pushed its abandonment? Come stroll amid the mysteries of a striking mixed stone construction, search for the great kiva(s), marvel at the enormous owl eyes of the Mesa, & enjoy a discussion over optional lunch in Grants. BLM’s El Malpais National Conservation Area presents the last part of “Walking with the Ancestors” on Saturday, December 19th, 2009. Meet at the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at exit 85 on I-40 at 10:00 AM. Drive 35 paved miles. Walk 1 mile round trip. Too much snow? then instead, films and a discussion are planned. 505.280.2918

- Arizona Dept. of Transportation Launches Historic Roads Website: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), has started a multi-year project to tell the story of Arizona's past as viewed through the state's historic roads. The state's historic roads include all state routes and US highways in Arizona developed between 1912 and 1955, excluding the Interstates. The project is called, "Exploring Arizona's Historic Roads".

- Ancient Mammoths Now on Display near Waco: A site where dozens of prehistoric mammoths died in a landslide and flooding some 68,000 years ago has opened to the public in Waco, Texas. The fossils were discovered in 1978 by two men hunting for snakes. They took one of the bones to a Baylor University museum official who identified it, triggering an archaeological dig. - The Daily Record.Com

- National Park Service Grant to Help Restore Japanese-American Internment Sites: A National Park Service grant program is giving new hope to Coloradans who want to restore the site in southeast Colorado where Japanese-Americans were forcibly detained during World War II.

- New Exhibit on Navajo Weaving Shares Stories of Life and Myths (Boulder): Dreams, Schemes and Stories, a Navajo textiles exhibit on view at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History through Feb. 4, invites visitors to venture into Navajo life on the resettled reservations of the late 19th century through the weavers’ art. Dreams is the second of three installments in Navajo Weaving: Diamonds, Dreams, Landscapes, the museum’s first major showing of Navajo pieces from the Joe Ben Wheat Southwestern Textile Collection. Weaving Memory: Monotypes, by Melanie Yazzie, associate professor of art and art history at CU, is also on display. That showing concludes on May 30. - Boulder Weekly

- Tohono O'odham Now Own Ceramic Technologies Integral in Defense and Aerospace: After Advanced Ceramics Research was acquired in June by defense giant BAE Systems Inc. in a $14.7 million stock deal, Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing was sold to the San Xavier Development Authority, an arm of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and founders Anthony Mulligan and Mark Angier.

Editors Note: Our thoughts, condolences, and sympathy are with the family and students of Binghamton Anthropology Professor Emeritus Richard Antoun.