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.