Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Clovis News - Atlatls, Linguistic Evidence, and Mitochondrial DNA

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

Melting Glacier Reveals Clovis Era Atlatl Dart

Global warming is turning out to be a savior for archaeologists like Craig Lee from the University of Colorado at Boulder, who are finding ancient relics in recently melted ice patches. Lee's lucky strike is the oldest known atlatl dart, an early wooden spear-like hunting weapon, in the Rocky Mountains.
http://tinyurl.com/atlatl1 - Discovery News

New Linguistic Studies Illuminate Migrations Across Bearing Sea Land Bridge
Research illuminating an ancient language connection between Asia and North America supports archaeological and genetic evidence that a Bering Strait land bridge once connected North America with Asia, and the discovery is being endorsed by a growing list of scholars in the field of linguistics and other sciences. The work of Western Washington University linguistics professor Edward Vajda with the isolated Ket people of Central Siberia is revealing more and more examples of an ancient language connection with the language family of Na-Dene, which includes Tlingit, Gwich'in, Dena'ina, Koyukon, Navajo, Carrier, Hupa, Apache and about 45 other languages.
http://tinyurl.com/2vq982e - Seattle Times

North America's First Peoples More Genetically Diverse Than Thought, Mitochondrial Genome Analysis Reveals
ScienceDaily (June 29, 2010) — The initial peopling of North America from Asia occurred approximately 15,000-18,000 years ago. However, estimations of the genetic diversity of the first settlers have remained inaccurate. In a report published online in Genome Research, researchers have found that the diversity of the first Americans has been significantly underestimated, underscoring the importance of comprehensive sampling for accurate analysis of Mitochondrial DNA.

Reminder - Join the Center for Desert Archaeology on July 8th for a Special Presentation with an International Perspective on Heritage Preservation
The Center for Desert Archaeology and the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation invite you to a special evening with Center member and distinguished guest Ian George, who will share an overview of England’s Inherited Landscape. Mr. George serves as Inspector of Ancient Monuments for English Heritage in the West Midlands. His presentation will take us on a journey through time to some of the most treasured features of England’s historic landscape. English Heritage is a national organization whose purpose resonates with that of the Center—championing special places, advising the government, sharing heritage widely now, and protecting it for the future. The program will be held in the Copper Hall of Tucson’s own landmark, the historic Hotel Congress. Admission is free. Guests are welcome to mingle and enjoy a no-host bar before and after the presentation, which will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Mesa Verde Plans for Building of New Visitor's Center
Mesa Verde National Park officials are making plans for a September groundbreaking ceremony for the new visitors center and curatorial facility. The park took the first step toward construction of the multimillion dollar project at a pre-bid meeting last week
http://tinyurl.com/35f2xgj - Durango Herald

Exploring History and Identity in the Old West
Was Kit Carson hero or villain? Or both? The answer would seem to be a foregone conclusion for a predominantly-Navajo audience, among whom the famous “Indian fighter” is often remembered for his role in the Long Walk of 1864, when thousands left their fertile homeland on a forced march to the bleak Bosque Redondo.

New Mexico Archaeology Camp Provides Teens with Archaeological Education
A homestead site dating to around 1918 was recently discovered west of Hobbs and provided a perfect opportunity for Smith to allow youth interested in archeology to help excavate the site. The week-long Junior Archeology Camp had seven students. They learned the techniques to excavate the site during two days of classroom training and excavated portions of the site.

The Story of Prescott's Infamous Smoki
Like most legends, the story of the Smoki People is a combination of fact, fiction, rumor and speculation. "I always thought we were honoring the Native Americans," Prescott resident and bank employee Irene Winter said.
http://tinyurl.com/36kq8tw - Part I - Prescott Dailt Courier
http://tinyurl.com/33a7xx5 - Part II - Prescott Daily Courier

Tour Opportunities from the Archaeological Conservancy
The Archaeological Conservancy still has space available on three of its fall tours:
"Best of the Southwest" September 18 - 28, 2010. Experience the cultural and scenic diversity of the American Southwest. Our trip explores Native American cultures, both past and present, in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. "Effigy Mounds of the Upper Mississippi Valley, September 25 - 29, 2010. In what is now Wisconsin, prehistoric Native Americans constructed about 20,000 earthen mounds, more than in any other area of comparable size. We will visit the best surviving example of these fascinating constructions, with an emphasis on the sites of the Effigy Mound culture which created mounds in the shapes of mammals, birds and reptiles. "Oaxaca" October 29 - November 8, 2010. Join us during one of the most unusual festivals anywhere, Day of the Dead. On this day, people prepare home altars and cemeteries to welcome the dead, who are believed to return to enjoy the food and drink they indulged in during life. For more information you may request a tour brochure at (505) 266-1540 or visit the link below.

Historic Archaeology of the Great Lakes Region on the Archaeology Channel
The early history of the North American colonial frontier takes on more meaning when archaeologists recover direct evidence left behind at key sites. The search for such evidence can be very trying and may require both persistence and endurance, as demonstrated by In Search of Fort St. Joseph, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

Thanks to Adrianne Rankin for contributing to today's newsletter.