Friday, January 29, 2010

Arizona Legislator Sponsors Bill to Terminate Historic Preservation Property Tax Exemptions

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

- Arizona Legislator Sponsors Bill to Terminate Historic Preservation Property Tax Exemptions: Owners of historic homes in Arizona would have to pay property taxes just like anybody else to help pay for public schools and community colleges. That's if a state senator has her way. Sen. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, wants to eliminate a 34-year-old property-tax classification for historic residences that cuts a homeowner's property taxes in half. - Arizona Republic

- KAET Interview with Arizona State Parks Director Assesses the Legislature's Sweeping Damage to State Park System and Possible Means of Future Funding: State parks are in a life or death battle for their existence as state lawmakers look for ways to cut the budget. Renee Bahl, Executive Director of Arizona State Parks, will talk about the dire situation.

- Additional Footage of Jan 15th Public Meeting on Arizona State Parks Provided by Arizona Heritage Alliance:

- National Trust for Historic Preservation Sponsors Rally for Arizona State Parks: What you’ve heard is true: the Arizona State Legislature is devastating parks funding, forcing the closure of all but nine state parks. By the end of March, seven of Arizona’s eight state historic parks will be shuttered. Among parks that will close their doors to visitors are such historic icons as the 1882 Tombstone Courthouse, the Yuma Territorial Prison, and the 1904 Arts & Crafts Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff. - Ms Word Document

- The Center for Desert Archaeology Moves to New Offices in Downtown Tucson: On Jan 27th, the Center has moved from its old location at 300 East University into the Historic Bates Mansion complex at Toole and Stone. The Center's new address is 300 N Ash Alley, Tucson AZ, 85701.

- Defense Attorney in 4-Corners Looting Case Seeks Informant's Records: A defense attorney is seeking an address book, recordings and other information in an attempt to challenge the integrity of an undercover operative key to a multistate investigation into illegal artifact trafficking. Walter Bugden, a Salt Lake City lawyer, is representing Durango, Colo., antique dealers Carl Lavern Crites and Marie Crites and two other indicted co-defendants rounded up during a June 10 raid that federal agents coordinated across Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

- Casa Grande Ruins Music Festival to be Held Tomorrow: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument was created to preserve the culture of an ancient desert tribe - the Hohokam. Last year, the monument organized a music festival to celebrate and explore the connection of modern tribes to their Hohokam roots. The festival begins at 9 a.m. Jan. 30 at the monument, outside Coolidge. American Indian artists and craftsmen will demonstrate skills. Merchants will offer a selection of jewelry, wood carvings, gourd art, basketry, pottery, flutes and other musical instruments. There will be storytellers and a flute booth for the kids. - Arizona Republic

- Desert Diamond Casino and the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance Adopt Southwestern Indian Art Fair: The Southwest Indian Art Fair has been resurrected because Desert Diamond Casino stepped up to sponsor the annual event. The Arizona State Museum, which has hosted the event for 16 years, announced in October that it was canceling the fair this year due to $478,000 in state budget cuts. The museum also made other changes, including cutting jobs and pay, closing on Sundays and charging $5 admission for some visitors. - Arizona Daily Star

- Damage from Heavy Rains Temporarily Closes Gila Cliff Dwellings: Heavy rains have forced the closure of New Mexico Highway 15 between the Gila Visitor Center and the trailhead for the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The approach to the West Fork Bridge has washed away; Lower Scorpion Campground, Upper Scorpion Campground, TJ Corral, Woody’s Corral and the trailhead to the Cliff Dwellings are all closed until further notice. The Gila Visitor Center remains open, but anyone considering visiting the area should use extreme caution. Continued rain and snow have caused numerous mud and rock slides along Highway 15 and many road dips are running with water. Travel at present is not advised.

- Southwestern Cave Providing Detailed Ancient Climatic Data: UA researchers report that the Southwest's climate had rapid shifts between wet and dry periods 11,000 to 55,000 years ago. Ice Age climate records from an Arizona stalagmite link the Southwest's winter precipitation to temperatures in the North Atlantic, according to new University of Arizona research.

- Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Sponsoring Advanced Section 106 Training Class in Tucson, on March 10, 2010: The Advanced Section 106 Seminar focuses on the effective management of complex or controversial undertakings that require compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Taught in a small, interactive setting, this seminar encourages group discussion and problem solving. Designed for experienced Section 106 users, the seminar focuses on the challenges of seeking consensus and solving adverse effects to historic properties. The class is taught by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation staff who are engaged both on a daily basis and have practical hands-on experience with Section 106 issues.

- Lecture Opportunity (Glendale): The Agua Fria Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society is offering a free lecture on Preservation Archaeology, on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 7:00 PM at the Glendale Public Library Auditorium, 5959 West Brown (south of Peoria Ave). Membership is not required. Refreshments will be served. For the past 26 years, Holly Young has worked in archeological repositories in Arizona. Currently the Curator of Collections at the Pueblo Grande Museum, she developed that institution’s repository and collections policies and procedures. Her areas of expertise include the curation and management of archeological collections and archives, the preservation of museum collections through preventive conservation, material culture research and interpretation, and the archeology and cultural history of the Southwestern United States.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tubac): Trade Beads in the Southwest is Topic of Santa Cruz Valley AAS Program February 11. Bead historian Steve Ellis will give a presentation to the Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society on February 11, 2010, 7 PM, at the North County Facility at 50 Bridge Road in Tubac. His topic will be “European Glass Trade Beads in the West.” The presentation is free and open to the public.

- University of Arizona School of Archaeology Announces New Masters Program in "Applied Archaeology:" The School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona offers a Master’s Degree with a track in Applied Archaeology. Applied Archaeology is an emerging field of study within Anthropology that creates and uses knowledge in the context of application. These applications include collecting information about archaeological sites for use in cultural resources management, recovering archaeological data from threatened sites to mitigate the adverse effects of land modifying projects, managing historic properties to comply with historic preservation legislation, assisting Indigenous groups with identification of traditional cultural properties and heritage management, and creating a sustainable cultural environment by using the tools of preservation archaeology. All of these applications produce knowledge that is significant in the discipline of Anthropology.

- Ancient India Featured at the Archaeology Channel:
Rooted in 5000 years of continuous development, a unique civilization continues to prosper in India. To address a need for wider appreciation of this vast country, with its diverse cultures and deep history, we bring you Timeless India, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

Thanks to Mike Jacobs, Gerald Kelso, and Vincent Murray for contributions to today's newsletter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Arizona State Park Closures a Direct Threat to State's Cultural Heritage

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

- Arizona Leads the Nation in the Draconian Cuts to State Parks: An oversight board voted unanimously Friday to close 13 of Arizona's state parks in response to budget cuts, leaving two-thirds of the parks shut in the most aggressive cuts to such facilities in the nation. The Arizona State Parks Board is closing some of the state's iconic Old West landmarks, including the Tombstone Courthouse in one of the West's most storied towns, and the Yuma Territorial Prison, which housed hundreds of Old West outlaws and was portrayed in the film "3:10 to Yuma." The decision also closes parks such as Red Rock State Park near Sedona that draw tens of thousands of tourists a year. - San Francisco Gate

- Arizona State Park Closures a Direct Threat to State's Cultural Heritage: Charles Adams, a professor of archaeology at the University of Arizona, warned that closed parks would become magnets for vandals and thieves. Adams expressed particular concern for the Homolovi Ruins, an archaeological treasure that was brought into the parks system in part to protect it from theft. "There is great concern in the archaeological community as some of these close," Adams told the board. "They are extremely vulnerable." As the meeting concluded, members of the parks staff received word that Gov. Jan Brewer's budget proposal released Friday would make further reductions to the parks budget, which could make Arizona the first state in the nation to close its entire parks system. - Arizona Republic

- An Account of the 4 Corners Looting Case and the "Inside Man" from Preservation Magazine: What Milette didn't know was that Thomas Hoyt's real name was Todd Swain. And that he wasn't an artifact collector but a National Park Service special agent who investigates illegal archaeological looting on public lands. Thanks to a tip received at the U.S. attorney's office in Spokane, Swain, in partnership with the FBI, had already begun investigating Milette, recording many hours of conversations. That night, after leaving Milette's house, Swain and an FBI agent met with a federal prosecutor to plot their strategy. Even the slightest misstep, they knew, could bring the case against Milette to an end. - Preservation Nation.Org

- Petroglyphs Vandalized Near Yuma: Authorities are offering up to a $1,500 reward for information leading to the identification and prosecution of those responsible for vandalism at the Sears Point archaeological site in Yuma County. Arizona Bureau of Land Management rangers discovered the vandalism late last year at the large rock art site located on BLM-administered lands. They say the damage includes rolled boulders and fractured petroglyphs.

- Desert View Watchtower Undergoing Maintenance and Stabilization: The iconic tower marking the eastern entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is getting serious repairs to a roof and windows that leak, damaging its famous murals. The 70-foot Indian Watchtower at Desert View, now commonly called the Desert View Watchtower, will receive nearly $2.1 million in masonry work and roofing, projected to be done at the end of the year. - Arizona Daily Sun

- Registration for American Rock Art Research Assocaition 2010 Meetings Now Open: Del Rio, Texas will be the setting for the 37th annual conference of the American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA), to convene March 26th – 29th, 2010. Del Rio is located on the Texas/Mexico border, and is the portal to the Lower Pecos River style of rock art.

- Registration and Call For Papers Open for 2010 Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation: The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation is excited to hold its 2010 annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. From April 21 through April 24, we will explore regional landscapes and hear from local landscape experts, as well as students and faculty from the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning. There is a call for Papers, Summaries of Works-in-Progress, and Posters. Student scholarships are available. Please visit the website below for more details.

- Crow Canyon Announces Summer Development Program for Educators: Educators who teach kindergarten through 12th grade from throughout the United States will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the field of Southwestern archaeology during two professional development programs conducted in July and August 2010. The programs, hosted by the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, provide stipends to cover all expenses, including travel and living costs.

- Deer Valley Rock Art Center Announces the Return of the "Petroglyph Pathfinders" Summer Camp: Do your kids like to explore, dig in the dirt, collect clues and create?The Deer Valley Rock Art Center is pleased to host another season of its popular summer camps, Petroglyph Pathfinders. The center offers one-week action-packed camps for children ages 8 to 11 at a real archaeology site.

- Cappadocia, Turkey is the Newest Feature on the Archaeology Channel: Cappadocia in Turkey is situated at a crossroads in both space and time. Its very visible and unique archaeological record is highlighted by Cappadocia, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel. This documentary highlights Cappadocia, the high plateau region of central Anatolia in Turkey’s heartland. Settled for over 8 millennia, this region features dramatic volcanic landscapes and many caves used in ancient times. The vast array of heritage sites includes Göreme with its rock houses and open air museum, Medieval fortresses, Christian underground cities of the 7th and 8th centuries, and fortified caravansarais along the silk road. Cappadocia illustrates the rich history of early Christians, Sufi mystics, and the Seljuk Turk empire.

Thanks to Carrie Gregory and Doug Kupel for contributions to today's newsletter.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Arizona State Parks Board to Recommend Closure of Most of Arizona's State Archaeological and Historical Parks

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

- Arizona State Parks Board to Recommend Closure of Most of Arizona's State Archaeological and Historical Parks: According to the agenda posted at the link below, it may be too late to prevent the closure of a number of state parks that conserve and protect critically important heritage resources. Nevertheless, it is vitally important to write the Arizona State Parks Board at the link below. Remind the stewards of these heritage resources that even though an archaeological park may be closed, the need to secure and monitor these parks will be even more critical after the gates have been locked. - Contact Arizona State Parks - List of Park Closures

- Nominations for the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission Awards in Public Archaeology Now Being Accepted: The GAAC is sponsoring its 24th annual "Awards in Public Archaeology." The Commission is a statutory board that advises the State Historic Preservation Officer on issues of relevance to Arizona archaeology. The Awards are presented to individuals, organizations, and/or programs that have significantly contributed to the protection and preservation of, and education about, Arizona's non-renewable archaeological resources.

- Workshop in Archaeoastronomy Scheduled for March 11-12 at Pueblo Grande: The purpose of the CAASW is to advance the study and practice of archaeoastronomy of the American Southwest. The CAASW is committed to recognizing significant contributions to knowledge and the importance of research, professional standards and excellence in the study of archaeoastronomy, effective dissemination and presentation of archaeoastronomical knowledge, and innovation and originality of approach. To continue to build upon the success of the 2009 conference, a two-day technical workshop has been scheduled.

- Yale Seeks Dismissal of Peruvian Claims to Machu Picchu Artifacts: Yale University says a lawsuit by Peru seeking the return of thousands of Inca artifacts removed from the famed Machu Picchu citadel nearly a century ago should be dismissed because a statue of limitations expired. Peru rejects the argument, saying Yale never owned the artifacts and that its claim is not subject to a statute of limitations under Peruvian law. Peru also says Yale did not assert ownership of the artifacts until late 2008. "The artifacts are of immense cultural and historical importance," Peru's attorneys wrote in recently filed court papers. "Yale's mere retention of the artifacts establishes nothing." - Associated Press

- Lecture and Book Signing (Albuquerque): According to archaeologist Stephen H. Lekson, much of what we think we know about the Southwest has been compressed into conventions and classifications and orthodoxies. This book challenges and reconfigures these accepted notions by telling two parallel stories, one about the development, personalities, and institutions of Southwestern archaeology, and the other about interpretations of what actually happened in the ancient past. Location: Bookworks - 4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107-3157

- Lecture Opportunity (Irvine, CA) Pacific Coast Archaeological Society's January 14th meeting will feature Dr. Matthew Des Lauriers speaking on "Rediscovering Huamalgua: The Island of Fogs. Archaeological, Ethnohistoric, and Ethnographic Investigations on Isla Cedros, Baja California, Mexico." Meeting information: Thursday, January 14, 20, 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA. Meeting is free and open to the public.

- Lecture Opportunity (Las Vegas): January Meeting: On January 14th Heidi Roberts of HRA, Inc. will be talking about her company’s recent work at Corn Creek Dunes, on the Desert Wildlife Refuge. The lecture will be held at 7 P.M. on the West Charleston Campus of College of Southern Nevada. A field trip out to Corn Creek is planned for Saturday, January 16th, from approximately 8 A.M.-Noon. Sign-ups for the trip will occur after Heidi’s talk, and a meeting location for the trip will be announced as well. Please note: for the spring season there is a new meeting room. All meetings will be held in the ‘I’ Building (The Library Building), Room I-201. This is next to the previous building (the K, or Engelstad Building) from last fall.

- Black Mesa Residents Win Appeal Against Peabody Coal: Peabody Western Coal Company’s Black Mesa Coal Complex has suffered a major setback as an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of the Interior vacated a permit for the massive coal-mining complex. The judge vacated the permit in response to one of several appeals filed by Navajo and Hopi residents as well as a diverse coalition of tribal and environmental groups. The permit, issued by Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, allowed Peabody to operate and expand the Black Mesa mine and the Kayenta mine under a single permit. - Center for Biological Diversity

Thanks to Gerald Kelso for contributing to today's newsletter.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Agreement to Protect Ancient Places in Nine Mile Canyon Signed, but Far from Complete

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

- Agreement to Protect Ancient Places in Nine Mile Canyon Far from Complete: An agreement aimed at protecting ancient rock art, housing ruins, granaries, graves and artifacts in Nine Mile Canyon is visionary or toothless or everything in between, participants say, and could have happened at least three years ago if the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Utah hadn't resisted.

- Arizona Budget Problems Complicate Opening of Mesa Grande: Workers finished installing a new trial through the Mesa Grande Ruins that will someday become the backbone of the pre-historic site's development as a tourist attraction. But the timing of the next step, the installation of an audio interpretation system and shade structures to protect against erosion, remains in doubt as authorities brace for a legislative dive into monies earmarked for heritage projects.

- Visiting a Place of the Past - Romero Ruin: Part of the landscape at Catalina State Park is in ruins. Not to worry. We're talking about an archaeological site — not environmental damage. The Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail at the park north of Tucson winds past the scant remains of ancient dwellings built by Indians known as the Hohokam . The three-quarter-mile loop route also takes visitors to the crumbling walls of a house built by rancher Francisco Romero in the mid-1800s.

- Travel Guide to Historic Southern Arizona: If you had visited southern Arizona back in the 1880’s, you wouldn’t have found the place nearly as hospitable as it is today. Restless Apaches, armed incursions from Mexico, the rough landscape and summer temperatures that exceeded 115 degrees made life rough around these parts. Times have changed for the better, and if today you’d like to re-enact a modern day version of Cowboys and Indians, this is the place to do it.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tubac): Archaeologist Jeremy Moss will give a presentation to the Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society on January 21, 2010, 7 PM, at the North County Facility at 50 Bridge Road in Tubac. His topic will be “Prehistoric Agricultural Adaptation in the American Southwest.” The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information about the Santa Cruz Valley AAS Chapter and its activities, call Alan Sorkowitz at 520-207-7151 or inquire via e-mail at

- Lecture Opportunity (Florence): The Apache Kid was a highly respected First Sergeant of Scouts with the United States Army. Unfortunately, in 1887 he and other scouts were involved in a fracas at the army post at San Carlos. He was arrested, tried in court in Globe, and unjustly found guilty of assault with intent to commit murder. A free program on this piece of Arizona history will be presented at the Pinal County Historical Museum by Doug Hamilton. If you are interested in learning about this area’s history, this is a way to do it. Come and learn the details of this exciting Arizona tale. The free program is at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11 as part of our continuing Speakers Series. Come early so you have time to explore this unique museum before the program begins. The museum is located at 715 S. Main St. in Florence. For more information please call 520-868-4382. - Tri Valley Central