Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Suicides Continue to ComplicateFour-Corners Looting Prosecutions

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

Suicides Complicate Blanding Looting Case

For 90 tense minutes last month, Sheriff Mike Lacy in Utah tried to prevent yet another person connected to the theft of Native American artifacts from committing suicide. Two defendants had already taken their own lives after federal authorities charged 24 people in June with looting Native American sites in the West. Now a despondent relative of a third defendant had called Lacy. The sheriff of San Juan County kept the caller on the phone until deputies could arrive and make sure everything was OK. But there was still another suicide to come. - LA Times

More on the Suicide of Ted Gardiner

A suicidal man who shot and killed himself during a confrontation with police Monday was the informant who helped federal officials in a case involving stolen Indian artifacts in the Four Corners region. A lover of Native American culture, the work Ted Dan Gardiner, 52, did for the FBI was work he did voluntarily, his son Dustin Gardiner said. He wanted to protect a history that was important to him. - Deseret News

Join the Center for Desert Archaeology at Our Next Archaeology Cafe (Tucson)

The Center for Desert Archaeology and Casa Vicente invite all to the next meeting of Archaeology CafĂ©, a casual, happy hour-style discussion forum dedicated to promoting community engagement with cultural and scientific research. Join us Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 6:00 p.m for Steve Lekson's presentation on "Where Did the Mimbres Go, and Where Did Casas Grandes Come From?" The cafe will be held at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ. The event is free and open to the community—all are welcome. Guests are encouraged to support our host, Casa Vicente, by buying their own food and drinks. - Center for Desert Archaeology

William Lipe to Present and Discus the Archaeology of Lake Powell (Cortez, Co)

Two million visitors per year fish, play or soak in the waters of Lake Powell, but the area once was the heart of the most rugged and least populated part of the American Southwest. Archaeologist William Lipe, professor of anthropology at Washington State University, will be in Cortez, Colo., on Friday to present memories of Glen Canyon, a place transformed forever when the man-made lake flooded the area.

New Book on Pueblo Revolt Dismisses Traditional Western Concepts of Native Histories

Historical, archaeological and anthropological portrayals of Native American experiences, especially during colonial periods, have focused on the decimation of indigenous populations through rampant disease, cultural extinction and military conquest. But a new book by anthropologist and archaeologist Michael Wilcox argues that we've got the story all wrong. In The Pueblo Revolt and the Mythology of Conquest, Wilcox, an assistant professor of anthropology, argues that the real story of Native peoples in the Americas as reflected in New Mexico has a lot more to do with cultural brutality than disease. And it is infinitely more compelling than the lessons we're taught in school.

Single State Legislator Torpedoes Plan to Save Arizona State Parks

A single legislator is blocking a plan to ask voters to permanently fund the state parks system with a surcharge on vehicle license fees. Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, refuses to schedule a hearing on HCR 2040 in the Appropriations Committee, which he chairs, and will not agree to have the measure withdrawn from his committee.

Lecture Opportunity (Irvine)

The Pacific Coast Archaeological Society's March 11th meeting will feature Dr. Gary Stickel speaking on “Ice Age Man in Malibu: The Clovis Culture Discovery at the Farpoint Site.” Meeting information: Thursday, March 11, 2010, 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA. Meeting is free and open to the public. For information:

New Exhibit on Perry Mesa Opens at Pueblo Grande

Phoenix’s Pueblo Grande Museum is thrilled to announce the opening of a new exhibit featuring an exploration of a stunning geographic and cultural landmark in central Arizona. Landscape Legacies: The Art and Archaeology of Perry Mesa will be opening on March 5, 2010. Visitors can explore the interaction of the environment and people that form the cultural landscape of Perry Mesa through the photographer’s lens, and through the scientific examination of a changing archaeological landscape.

Grand Canyon Hosts Third Annual Alternative Spring Break

Grand Canyon National Park will host the third annual Alternative Spring Break program sponsored by the Student Conservation Association (SCA), in partnership with American Eagle Outfitters. Grand Canyon is the only site hosting an SCA Alternative Spring Break program this year. The program gives college students the opportunity to spend their spring break volunteering in one of America’s iconic national parks. Students will work with park and SCA staff on a variety of projects directly leading to the preservation and protection of Grand Canyon’s natural and cultural resources. The two one-week sessions begin on March 15. For more information, please contact Kassy Theobald, Restoration Biologist, Grand Canyon National Park, at 928-638-7857 or

Grand Canyon National Park to Celebrate Archeology Day

On Saturday, March 27, Grand Canyon National Park will celebrate Archeology Day. This event provides park visitors with the opportunity to learn more about native peoples who inhabited the Grand Canyon long ago. Visitors can gain a greater understanding of what archeologists do and how their work informs an understanding of the past. Archeology Day will feature a series of special, family-friendly activities at Grand Canyon Visitor Center between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., including opportunities to make clay pinch pots and split-twig figurines and to “sift for artifacts.” There will also be two special evening programs associated with the event: Vanishing Treasures archeologist Ian Hough will share new archeological research in Grand Canyon on March 26, and Park Guide Jennifer Onufer will share her experiences on an archeology trip down the Colorado River on March 27. For more information, please contact Libby Schaaf, Supervisory Park Ranger, at 928-638-7641.

Save America's Treasures and Preserve America Remain on the Federal Budget Chopping Block

As Hillary Rodham Clinton was leaving the White House, she asked Laura Bush first lady to first lady to continue one program if nothing else - the historic preservation program Save America's Treasures. Mrs. Bush said she knew about the project and pledged to see it through. Now, the grant program Clinton created that helped restore the original star-spangled banner, Rosa Parks' bus, President Lincoln's summer cottage in Washington and hundreds of sites across the country is on the current administration's chopping block.

Farming on the Gila in Ancient and Modern Times

Long before the city of Coolidge was established, the Gila River Valley flourished with then inhabitants the Hohokam natives (sic). The Hohokam culture was the way of life in this area from approximately 300 B.C. to 1450 A.D. when the tribe up and left the area and the remains of their presence in the dust. The reason for their move is still unclear but resulted in the name Hohokam, which is a Tohono O’odham word that translates into ‘those who have gone.” - Coolidge Examiner

Archaeology Month in Northern Arizona

Throughout the month of March, Flagstaff area national monuments will host several activities in honor of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month. In the Flagstaff area, more than 3,000 archeological sites have been recorded to date. Some of the artifacts found in the park are more than 1,000 years old. Through a combination of archeological information and the oral traditions of present-day tribes, park rangers are able to help park visitors learn more about how the Ancestral Pueblo people lived and how their descendants continue many of the traditions and life-ways today.

"Finding Clovis" is the Latest Feature on the Archaeology Channel

The search for the first Americans remains a high-profile quest sparking lots of debate. You can get familiar with some of the recent thinking on the subject, with a focus on South Carolina’s Topper Site, by watching Finding Clovis, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

Dept of Agriculture Seeking Compromise to Protect Native Religious Rights and Prevent the use of Effluent at Snowbowl, Arizona Senators Outraged

A federal agency is pressing the city of Flagstaff to offer potable water for snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl that does not come directly from reclaimed wastewater. In addition, Snowbowl could get government aid to cover the $11 million in higher costs for the water over 20 winters. Arizona's two U.S. senators are blasting the plan as a waste of taxpayer money and a violation of court decisions in favor of making snow at Snowbowl with treated effluent. - Arizona Daily Sun

Employment Opportunity (Az Army - National Guard - Phoenix)

The Environmental Branch, Facilities Management Office (FMO) at the Arizona Department of Emergency & Military Affairs / Arizona Army National Guard is seeking an archaeologist for their facilities statewide. My understanding is that the job announcement is not yet available, but it will be posted very shortly -- within the next few days. Here is what you can do if you are interested in obtaining the position: A. Visit and register or log on or log in (get in the system as a registered user) B. Complete your registration in the database and create or upload your curriculum vitae or resume and make sure it is active in the system. C. Send and email cover letter to Major John Ladd <>. Attach a copy of your digital CV or resume, so as position supervisor, he knows of your interest in the position D. The Arizona Department of Administration (DOA) selection process will be conducted, including official application, in-person and phone interviews, reference checks, and background checks.

Thanks to Cherie Freeman, Carrie Gregory, Brian Kenny and Michael D Mauer for contributions to today's newsletter.