Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ground Grains - What the Locals Ate 10,000 Years Ago

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

What the Locals Ate 10,000 Years Ago
ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2010) — If you had a dinner invitation in Utah's Escalante Valley almost 10,000 years ago, you would have come just in time to try a new menu item: mush cooked from the flour of milled sage brush seeds. five summers of meticulous excavation, Brigham Young University archaeologists are beginning to publish what they've learned from the "North Creek Shelter." It's the oldest known site occupied by humans in the southern half of Utah and one of only three such archaeological sites state-wide that date so far back in time. - Desert News

Cactus Genes Connect Modern Mexico to Its Prehistoric Past
ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2010) — In prehistoric times farmers across the world domesticated wild plants to create an agricultural revolution. As a result the ancestral plants have been lost, causing problems for anyone studying the domestication process of modern-day varieties, but that might change. A team led by Fabiola Parra at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) has managed to trace a domesticated cactus, the Gray Ghost Organ Pipe (Stenocereus pruinosus) to its living ancestor that can still be found in the Tehuacán Valley in Mexico.

New Foundation Practices Preservation in Central Arizona
While some people look at an old building or an abandoned site and see an eyesore, Gem Cox and other members of the Florence Heritage Foundation see an opportunity for history to come alive. “Our mission is to preserve our heritage and historic icons — buildings, sites and history,” said Cox, who serves as the president of the Florence Heritage Foundation, which was formed in 2009 and incorporated this year. Cox said that witnessing the degradation of many historic sites in the area helps to motivate the foundation.

Former Arizona State Parks Archaeologist Marilyn Mlazovsky Passes
Former Cultural Resources Manager for Arizona State Parks, Marilyn Mlazovsky, M.A., passed away on August 15, 2010. Marilyn was an archaeologist and often attended conferences and workshops throughout the state. With over 25 years in the cultural resources arena, she came to Arizona from the US Forest Service in California and Utah where she managed the USFS Heritage and Paleontology programs for a number of Forests. Marilyn also worked with the USFS International Forestry Section on a multi-government, multi-disciplinary team in Micronesia. She was a great fan of the Phoenix Symphony and can be remembered with donations to that organization. - From Ann Howard, AZ State Historic Preservation Office.

Rosetta Stone Releases Navajo Language Tutorial Software
Rosetta Stone, creator of the renowned language learning software, on Tuesday released its Navajo version, the first large-scale language revitalization project for the dialect. Navajo, traditionally an oral language, still is spoken by more than 100,000 people, making it the most common American Indian language north of Mexico. Yet use and fluency among the younger generations is on a decline with about 50 percent of Navajo age 17 and younger unable to speak their native language at all, according to data from the 2000 U.S. Census.

Congratulations to Tucson's Menlo Park Nationhood and Mesa's Fraiser Fields Historic District, Both now listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Video Link about Revitalizing Piman Agriculture (from Tom Wright)
Here's a link to a short video about some traditional Pima agricultural practices as currently being revitalized in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community: Archaeologists should pay special attention to Jacob Butler's comments about "rock mounds" and "rock spirals" starting at about 2 minutes, 40 seconds into the video. Think about the features he uses in his garden, and then imagine what they would look like after about 1000 years. Anybody who has recorded Hohokam rockpile fields, in the Northern Tucson Basin or elsewhere, will have a pretty good idea of the result. Also watch his use of a digging stick at 4:55, and the "double-dug" garden at 6:30.

Lecture Opportunity (Glendale)
The Agua Fria Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society is offering a free lecture on Archaeological Findings During Light Rail Excavations, on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 6:00 PM at the Glendale Public Library Auditorium, 5959 West Brown (south of Peoria Ave). Membership is not required. The speaker, Hoski Schaafsma, is a Ph.D. student in Archaeology at Arizona State University. He participated in the Light Rail archaeological excavations near Sky Harbor Airport. His presentation will feature photographs of a major Hohokam field system that was discovered. For more information contact Sandy Haddock, (480) 481-0582,

Arizona Archaeology Expo Scheduled for 2011
Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month has been sceduled for march 1 – 31 with the Archaeology Expo Scheduled for March 26th and 27th. The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is pleased to announce that the theme for the 2011 celebration of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month (AAHAM) is: “Arizona Through Time: Stories of Stone.” The Expo will be held at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center (DVRAC) (3711 W. Deer Valley Road, Phoenix, 85308. The first Expo Planning Meeting will be held at the DVRAC on October 5, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. More detailed information will follow soon. SHPO will be sending out participation forms in late September for the AAHAM statewide Listing of Events brochure and for the Archaeology Expo.

Can the Wiki System Help to Save Antiquities?
The field of archaeology and the timeworn Middle East would not seem the obvious places to look for a wiki revolution. But next month in Jordan, officials who oversee that country’s vast store of antiquities will begin an experiment aimed at bringing 21st-century tools to the task of protecting ancient sites, which is an especially pressing need in neighboring Iraq, where looting is once again on the rise.

Cambodian Archaeology on the Archaeology Channel
The rich cultural history of Cambodia has generated an impressive archaeological record that until recently received little world attention. Raising awareness of this country’s remarkable legacy and the challenges posed for those exploring it is our motive in selecting Gold Diggers and Temple Rescuers: A Cambodian Expedition to be the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel.

Training Opportunity (Mt Pleasant, SC)
"Effective Interpretation of Archeological and Cultural Heritage Resources" a 5-day workshop that will enhance interdisciplinary communication skills for using a team
approach to develop and produce effective public interpretation and education programs and products.

Employment Opportunity (Tucson)
Harris Environmental Group, Inc. is seeking an archaeological Project Director to direct compliance projects for federal, state, and commercial clients. Archaeological experience in the Southwestern United States is required. Candidates must meet Secretary of Interior standards, including a graduate degree in archeology, anthropology, or closely related field plus at least one year of full-time professional experience or equivalent specialized training in archeological research, administration or management; at least four months of supervised field and analytic experience in general North American archeology, and demonstrated ability to carry research to completion. Compensation package will be commensurate with experience. For more information on Harris Environmental Group, see To apply, please send resume and letter of interest via email to Lisa Harris, President, at

Thanks to Gerald Kelso and Adrianne Rankin for contributions to today's newsletter.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Craig Child's New Book Dives Head-First into Southwest Archaeology's "Underbelly"

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

Craig Child's New Book Dives Head-First into Southwest Archaeology's "Underbelly"
Childs' "Finders Keepers" is a fascinating book, full of swashbuckling pothunters, FBI raids, greasy museum curators who don't really care and many, many other characters (including ghosts). "This is a book about the underbelly of archaeology, from both a personal and a global perspective," he explains. But it is not a simple moral tale, as he suggests: "To say the archaeologist is right and the pothunter is wrong seems instinctive, but why? And is it true?" - Los Angeles Times

"Collectors" Reflect on the Blanding Raids, One Year Later
The nation's largest and longest-running Indian artifact show opened last year under a cloud of fear and uncertainty as a federal investigation into the sale of Native American artifacts intensified throughout the Four Corners region. Since then, suicide has claimed the government's informant and two defendants, the prehistoric Indian art market has bottomed out, some collectors' lives have been turned upside down and several federal indictments have resulted only in probation for some of those accused of plundering artifacts from federal lands. - Santa Fe New Mexican

(Related Story) Colorado Artifact Dealer Pleads Guilty
A Grand Junction man has pleaded guilty to selling an ancient American Indian artifact that was taken from public land by a Utah state archaeologist. Robert B. Knowlton, 67, originally was indicted for illegally selling three artifacts. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to two misdemeanor charges related to the sale of a Cloud Blower pipe from Blanding, Utah, to a government informant. - Durango Herald

Arizona Site Stewards Make Rare Find Near Flagstaff
Site Stewards Christine Stephenson and Rich Rogers and myself (Bern Carey) were out monitoring sites with Dr. David Wilcox of the Museum of Northern Arizona during February 2009. Rich Rogers happened to see a small piece of pottery exposed at the bottom of a gully created in a slope of volcanic cinders. Upon closer examination it appeared that what was being exposed by erosion of the volcanic cinder slope was a prehistoric pot.

Luke AFB Construction Project Requires Archaeological Mitigation
Archaeologists hired by Luke Air Force Base will excavate seven sites where hundreds of Native American artifacts have been found to clear the way for construction of the military's largest solar array. Base officials were aware of the artifacts sites before recently launching a project to install more than 50,000 solar panels manufactured by SunPower Corp. The panels, paid for by Arizona Public Service Co., would generate power that the utility company would sell to its Valley customers. Luke would receive a fixed electricity rate for providing land for the panels. - Arizona Republic

History of an Intertribal Conflict at Laguna Pueblo
New Mexico author Erna Fergusson in 1955 noted that all is not harmony in an Indian pueblo, as many whites mistakenly believe. She was referring to bitter factionalism within the Native villages that has undoubtedly been part of daily life since prehistoric times. Upheavals at Taos, San Ildefonso and Isleta have been studied and written up by anthropologists. Less well-known is the case of Laguna, where the interference of whites living in the pueblo contributed to a permanent split between traditionalists and progressives. - Santa Fe New Mexican

Help Promote Historic and Cultural Resources through the "America's Great Outdoors" Initiative.
Many of you are already familiar with the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, which seeks to reconnect all people-- but especially youth-- with nature, including cultural and historic resources. As an initial step, the government is soliciting examples of creative ways in which local communities are already doing this successfully. If you have examples of local (non-federal) programs and projects that are successfully educating and engaging communities in history and culture via the “great outdoors” please submit them online through the web site that has been set up for this purpose.

Self-Expression: From Newspaper Rock to Facebook
an you read these headlines, still posted on Newspaper Rock for all the world to see a millennia after they were etched in stone? Self expression is one of our most fiercely defended American values, a newly released survey of Americans has found, and that truth has extremely deep roots these ancient etchings suggest.

Dwindling Green Pastures, Not Hunting, May Have Killed Off the Mammoth
ScienceDaily (Aug. 17, 2010) — A massive reduction in grasslands and the spread of forests may have been the primary cause of the decline of mammals such as the woolly mammoth, woolly rhino and cave lion, according to Durham University scientists.

Training Opportunity in Oral History, September 23 (Tucson)
The Cienega Watershed Partnership Oral History Work Group is sponsoring an oral history training workshop on September 23, 2010, in Vail, Arizona. The workshop will be instructed by Jim Turner and will focus on the basic techniques from organizing the work and conducting interviews to evaluating results. The work shop is supported by a grant from the Bureau of Land Management and is part of the Oral History Work Group's focus to collect, manage and disseminate oral histories in southeastern Arizona. To register, contact Shela McFarlin, Maximum of 30 registrants. A bag lunch is required for the 9 to 3 workshop. Cost: $5.00.

Great Kiva Research to be the Topic of Cortez Colorado Archaeology Society Meeting
The Hisatsinom chapter of the Colorado Archaeology Society will hold its monthly meeting at the Cortez Cultural Center on Tuesday, September 7, at 7:00 p.m. Linda Wheelbarger will provide updates on her ongoing investigations of the Point Site outside of Farmington. The 2009-2010 San Juan College field school excavations at the Point Site revealed a great kiva estimated to be nearly 16 m in diameter. Great kiva research will be presented through the perspective of chronology, distribution, architectural features, masonry styles, associated ceramics types, Puebloan traditional context, and Puebloan continuity.
The Cortez Cultural Center is at 25 North Market Street in Cortez. For more information on the program or Hisatsinom, the Montezuma County chapter of the Colorado Archaeology Society, please contact Diane McBride at 560-1643.

Opportunity to Tour the TJ Site (Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument)
The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument will offer a ranger-guided tour of the TJ Site on Saturday, September 4, 2010. Visitors to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument have the unique opportunity to explore the TJ Site, an unexcavated surface pueblo that is usually closed to the public. This free tour of the TJ site will be offered on Saturday, September 4th at 11:00 a.m. and will last approximately 1 ½ hours. The tour is limited to 20 people and reservations should be made in advance by calling the Gila Visitor Center at (575) 536-9461.

Astronomy Evening to be Held At Gila Cliff Dwellings
Saturday, September 4, 2010, Take advantage of New Mexico’s magnificent dark skies by attending the season’s second astronomy evening at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument on Saturday, September 4th beginning at 7:00 p.m. - MS Word Document

Mesa Museum Seeks Volunteers
The Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa is recruiting volunteers to serve as gallery interpreters once a week. Training in archaeology, paleontology, geology, interpretation techniques and customer service will be offered 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays in October and Nov. 1 in the theater at the museum, 53 N. Macdonald.For more information, call (480) 644-2760, e-mail
Http:// - East Valley Tribune

Unique Symposium to Examine the Meaning of Night in Ancient Mesoamerica (Washington DC) Pre-Columbian Society Symposium, “Under Cover of Darkness.” The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C., is accepting registrations for its 17th annual symposium, to be held on Saturday, September 25, at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center in downtown Washington, D.C. This year’s symposium, Under Cover of Darkness: The Meaning of Night in Ancient Mesoamerica, covers a topic that has been largely understudied to date. Presenters include Linda Brown of George Washington University; Cecelia Klein of the University of California at Los Angeles; John Pohl of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA; Kent Reilly of Texas State University at San Marcos (moderator); Keith Prufer of the University of New Mexico, and Marc Zender of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

Employment Opportunity (Phoenix)
Desert Archaeology Inc. is seeking archaeological personnel for upcoming projects in the Phoenix metropolitan area. An archaeological testing and data recovery project is expected to begin sometime in September and last from two to four weeks. Further work may include monitoring projects, cultural resources surveys, and other archaeological testing/data recovery projects. Experienced field technicians are sought, but entry level archaeologists will be considered. Some supervisory positions may be available. Wages will be competitive and commensurate with experience. There will be no lodging or per diem associated with this local Phoenix work. If you are interested, please email a cover letter, resume, and references to Kathy Henderson at or fax to 480-967-9211.

Thanks to Cherie Freeman and Adrianne Rankin for contributing to today's newsletter.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Legal Battle over Geronimo's Remains Continues

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

Legal Battle over Geronimo's Remains Continues

Descendants of Geronimo say they aren't giving up their legal effort to find out once and for all if the venerable Apache chief's remains are ensconced at Yale. A Washington judge late last month dismissed a suit demanding that Yale's Skull and Bones society turn over a skull and other remains that, according to legend, are inside the club's building in Connecticut. - UPI.Com

Sacred Objects Repatriated to Northern California Tribe
White deerskins, condor feathers and head dresses made of bright red woodpecker scalps are among more than 200 sacred artifacts that are once again in the possession of a Northern California Indian tribe. The Yurok Tribe celebrated the items' return this past week — among the largest repatriation of Native American sacred objects ever — from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian. - Earthlink

Hiking Opportunity with El Malapis NCA
BLM's El Malpais NCA hosts a ranger-led 2 mile hike, "Ancient Graffiti -
Sacred Altar", on 8/28/10 to the Aldridge Petroglyph Panels. Come to
Grants, New Mexico and delve into the wonders and wisdom of the ancestor's
creations. Info at 505.280.2918. - MS Word Document

Lecture Opportunity (Phoenix)
Arizona State University’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center will kick off its fall season of events with a free lecture at 1 p.m., Sept. 4, titled “Hopi Pőnawit ~ Along Ancient Trails and the Cultural Landscape of the Hopi People.” Speaking will be Micah Loma’omvaya, a Hopi tribal member of the Bear Clan from Songoopavi Village on Second Mesa, Ariz. Loma’omvaya earned a B.A. degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1997 and has worked in the field of anthropology since the age of 17.

Lecture Opportunity (Tubac)
The Center for Desert Archaeology’s Southwest Field Representative Andy Laurenzi will give a presentation to the Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society on September 9, 2010, 7 PM, at the North County Facility at 50 Bridge Road in Tubac. His topic will be the expansion of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. The presentation is free and open to the public.

UKTV Documentary Examines Possible Clovis Connection to Solutrean Europe

Ancient Armenia is the latest Topic on the Archaeology Channel
Built more than 2000 years ago as the grand capitol city of Armenia, Tigranakert succumbed to the Mongol invasion of the Thirteenth Century and came to light again only in 2005. We are pleased to bring this underappreciated story to the world in Tigranakert: An Armenian Odyssey, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel

Thanks to Terry Colvin and Cherie Freeman for contributing to today's newsletter.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Arizona Legislature Sweep of Heritage Funds Imperils San Xavier del Bac

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

Arizona Legislature Sweep of Heritage Funds Imperils San Xavier del Bac
The mission known as "The White Dove of the Desert" shimmers with the unworldly glow of a mirage in the dry flatlands south of Tucson. San Xavier del Bac, with its asymmetrical towers, elegant curves and exuberant decoration, is the best example of Spanish colonial architecture in the nation. It's such an important window into the past that it was one of the original listings when the National Register of Historic Places was established in 1966. | - Arizona Republic

Center for Desert Archaeology Researcher Featured on the History Detectives
The August 16, 2010, episode of “History Detectives” will feature Center Preservation Fellow Aaron Wright. Aaron asked the team to investigate the authenticity of an inscription in Phoenix’s South Mountain Park. The inscription includes the name of Fray Marcos de Niza, and is dated 1539.

In Memory of Jo Anne Medley
We are sad to inform you all that Jo Anne Medley, a fourteen-year veteran of the State Historic Preservation Office staff, passed away Wednesday, August 4, 2010. We will all miss her deeply not only as a professional colleague but as a good friend and wonderful individual. - MS Word Document

El Malpais Hike Scheduled for August 14, "Chaco Migrants Meet Mountain Mogollons" Dittert Archaeological Area, Grants, New Mexico
Some say this site is a Chacoan outlier. Others say it is closer to Mogollon country and influence. Come find out about two great ancestral cultures of the southwest, and decide for yourself if this is where they met, whether they got along, and why they chose this place. Modern interpretations are in dynamic flux. In the late 1200s drought was pervasive as was the likelihood of political upheaval. The Dittert site was built atop a Chaco era site (Pueblo 2), and may have been the last mansion in this area during Pueblo 3 times. - MS Word Document.

Yet Another Light Sentence in 4 Corners Looting Case
A Utah man who once bragged about taking American Indian artifacts from federal lands avoided jail time Thursday after a federal judge said he decided to show leniency after reading letters from the man's two daughters. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson said he planned to give Aubry Patterson, 57, prison time but changed his mind after reading the letters, which said Patterson was an "amazing father" who had a hard life but always "provided for us and put food on the table." Patterson's teary daughters accompanied him to court. - Washington Examiner

Steve Jobs Wins Right to Demolish Historic California Mansion
If the long saga of Steve Jobs and the Jackling House were a screenplay, we would be at the climactic moment. The billionaire computer king has won his long battle for permission to tear down the historic 1920s mansion he detests. Preservationists who fought him in court for six years have dropped their lawsuit, leaving the town of Woodside free to issue a permit for the 17,000-square-foot home built for copper baron Daniel Jackling to be razed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kewa Pueblo Looks to Redevelop Historic Trading Post

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

Kewa Pueblo Looks to Redevelop Historic Trading Post
Ray Tafoya's mind races with all kinds of ideas about how his pueblo can turn an old trading post into the cornerstone of a redevelopment that could bring jobs, business and tourists to this enclave west of Interstate 25. As he drives from the center of the village here north toward the burned-out 1920s adobe building that will be rebuilt with a $1 million federal grant, he rattles them off.

Drug Wars in Mexico May End Popular Kino Mission Tour Program
The escalating shootouts between Mexican drug gangs in Sonora have created another casualty. Kino Mission Tours, which for 35 years has taken thousands of people on weekend trips to get to know and appreciate the history and culture of northern Sonora, is on the brink of discontinuing the tours.

Results from the Arizona Historic American Landscapes Survey
As the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS), sister program to HABS and HAER, celebrates its 10thanniversary, I thought you would be interested in seeing what has been going on in AZ. The American Society of Landscape Architects members are people you can talk to about documenting landscapes and the possibility of getting volunteers to help with documentation that will be archived at the Library of Congress. Their expertise is currently in built landscapes, but HALS is available to all historic and cultural landscapes. Feel free to share this with others.

Santa Fe Antiquities Dealer's Remains Believed to be Found in Panama
Two weeks ago, Panama authorities and investigators found bones they think are Icelar's in a shallow grave on a Bocas del Toro property near the body of another American missing since March, Cheryl Lynn "Cher" Hughes. Hughes' husband identified her body.

Planning Meeting for the Arizona Centennial Celebrations in Southern Arizona
The Arizona Centennial Commission and Arizona Historical Advisory Commission cordially invite you to the Southern Arizona Centennial Summit on Tuesday, August 10, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Randolph Golf Course Club House, Copper Room, 600 S. Alvernon Way, Tucson This summit will give elected officials, business and community leaders the opportunity to hear first-hand about signature projects, signature events and official sanctioned events being planned by the Arizona Centennial Commission, in collaboration with the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission and its Centennial Legacy Projects

ASU Archaeologist Helps Model Human Impact on Land
Computer modeling is broadening the scope of archaeology by not only providing a better understanding of the past but also by predicting what might occur in the future. That topic, as related to human-environment interaction, is at the core of “Living in the Past and Looking Toward the Future,” an Inside Science News Service article featuring Arizona State University archaeologist Michael Barton.

Calling All Crow Canyon Interns
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is searching for our former interns! We want to know where you are and how you’re doing! If you or someone you know was an intern at Crow Canyon (in education, field, lab, zooarch, or envarc), please contact Alicia Holt at 800-422-8975 x 135 or Share your story with us!

Visit Your National Parks for Free, August 14-15
U. S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced that the National Park Service will waive entrance fees on August 14 and 15 to encourage all Americans to visit our national parks. The entrance fees being waived at the 146 sites usually charge for admission range from $3 to $25. There are 246 other parks that do not have entrance fees so you can plan a free visit year-round. The fee free waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions.

Publication Announcement from Left Coast Press
"Indigenous Archaeologies: A Reader on Decolonization" Edited by Margaret Bruchac, Siobhan Hart, and H Martin Wobst August 2010, 400 pages, $34.95 (Paper). Relationships with indigenous peoples has become a key issue in the practice of archaeology worldwide. Collaborative projects or projects directed and conducted by indigenous peoples themselves have become a standard feature of the archaeological landscape, community concerns are routinely addressed, oral histories incorporated into research. This reader of original and reprinted articles – many by indigenous authors – is designed to display the array of writings around this subject from around the globe, many difficult to access in standard academic settings. Cases range from Australia to Arctic Russia, from Africa to North America. Editorial introductions to each piece serve to contextualize these works in the intersection of archaeology and indigenous studies. This is ideal course text in both subjects, as well as a valuable reference volume.

Thanks to Carrie Gregory and Beth Grindell for contributions to today's newsletter.