Fail-safes Fail: Archaeological Disaster in Eastern Arizona
“It was like walking a coastal beach and seeing the different seashells scattered on the sand,” Pasqual recalls. “The whiteness of the bones was in clear contrast to the rich, brown soil.” Bones — including skulls, ribs, femurs, jaws, and fingers — from at least 10 ancient adults and adolescents were ripped from their graves, broken and scattered by bulldozers and backhoes. The devastation occurred in late April 2011 when the Arizona Game and Fish Department started construction on a public fishing pond. http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2012-11-29/news/desecration-unearthed-native-burial-site-causes-uproar/
University of Colorado Endowment Fund Created to Honor David Breternitz
David Breternitz’s career at the University of Colorado was fieldwork, fieldwork, and more fieldwork in the Fremont, Mesa Verde, and Dolores districts (and in various parts of Africa!). In three seasons in the Fremont, thirteen summers at Mesa Verde, and eight more at Dolores, Breternitz trained hundreds of future academic, federal, and contract archaeologists. He reached many others as MC of the SW at the Pecos Conference. Dave died March 2012. In his honor, Dave’s friends established a CU endowment to support graduate student fieldwork in the Southwest. If you’d like to commemorate Dave’s extraordinary record of teaching and research, consider a contribution to the David Breternitz Endowment for Archaeological Field Research. We think Dave would approve. To make a contribution, click on: http://www.cufund.org/breternitz or mail your tax deductible gift to: David Breternitz Endowment, CU Foundation, 1305 University Ave., Boulder, CO 80302.
Tuesday’s Archaeology Café – Tucson
Pat Gilman will present “Mimbres Beyond the Mimbres Valley Homeland: Frontier? Rural living? Periphery?” Dr. Gilman (University of Oklahoma) shares her current thinking on what Mimbres people were doing “out there” beyond the core Mimbres villages. Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Ave. We gather after 5:00 p.m., and presentations begin by 6:15 p.m. Outdoor seating is open and unreserved, but limited. Be ready to share tables and make new friends! http://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/event/archaeology-cafe-tucson-mimbres-beyond-the-mimbres-valley-homeland/
Genetic Evidence Points to Common Ancestry of Northern Europeans and Native Americans
Using genetic analyses, scientists have discovered that Northern European populations — including British, Scandinavians, French, and some Eastern Europeans — descend from a mixture of two very different ancestral populations, and one of these populations is related to Native Americans. This discovery helps fill gaps in scientific understanding of both Native American and Northern European ancestry, while providing an explanation for some genetic similarities among what would otherwise seem to be very divergent groups. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121130151606.htm
4,000 Looted Artifacts Repatriated to Mexico
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned more than 4,000 pieces of stolen and looted cultural artifacts to the government of Mexico at a repatriation ceremony today at the Consulate of Mexico in El Paso, Texas. The items were recovered in 11 separate investigations by special agents of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Douglas, Ariz.; San Diego, Calif.; Chicago; Kalispell, Mont.; Alpine, Del Rio and Laredo, Texas; and one in Mexico City, in coordination with Mexican law enforcement agencies. http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1210/121025elpaso.htm
Should San Diego Excavate its Royal Presidio?
The San Diego Royal Presidio is the most significant archaeological site on the entire West Coast and the City of San Diego is just using it to grow grass!” laments Paul Chace, Ph.D., a local archaeologist who has taken it upon himself to promote the study and development of this historic site located on the hill in Presidio Park overlooking Old Town. http://www.lajollalight.com/2012/11/28/archaeologists-call-for-move-to-unearth-fortress-below-san-diego-royal-presidio-transform-into-cultural-center/
Touring Cliff Dwellings within the Ute Mountain Park
At the small tribal visitor center near the Ute reservation town of Towaoc in the high Colorado desert, I climbed into an aging Ford van with four others. We’d come to Ute Mountain Tribal Park for an unusual, intimate look at cliff dwellings cut into the sandstone canyons here. The series of stone rooms were built more than 800 years ago by what are now known as Ancient Puebloans (sometimes referred to as Anasazi), ancestors to modern-day Pueblo and Hopi people. Despite the popularity of such sites, we seemed to be alone as we traveled 20 miles of gravel road up the Mancos River Canyon with our guide, Rick Hayes. http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/travel/181447071.html
Explore the Homelands of the Ancient Sinagua from the Verde Valley
Cicada song echoes off the limestone walls, and cool, moist air blows off Beaver Creek to provide comfort from the sun. People walk along the path, preferring to catch patches of shade provided by cottonwoods and Arizona sycamores towering out of the rich soil. The journey from the visitor center takes but minutes — a few hundred yards. The view opens, and high above, set in a cavernous natural alcove on the cliff face, it rests. Layers of rock, dried, red mud and lumber once housed the first people in this valley of rich soil meandering through Arizona high desert. http://azdailysun.com/lifestyles/b77dab35-fcec-591a-85c9-78bbc3e04c8d.html
Christmas Celebration at Besh-Ba-Gowah
The annual “noche las luminarias” at the Besh-Ba-Gowah pueblo archaeological park in Globe, AZ, is Sunday, December 23, 2012 – complete with hot cider, coffee and cookies, live music and photos with Santa. Admission is free. The ruin walls are decorated with more than 1,600 luminaries for the Holidays. http://copperarea.com/pages/?p=1068345
Can Archaeology Provide Insight on Human Behavior and Climate Change?
After the record-breaking heat waves of summer 2012 and other weather disasters this fall, the threat of climate change continues to confront us. What will be the consequences of more warming of our atmosphere and oceans, and how should society prepare for them? What can we learn from the history of past weather extremes and climate changes? In particular, how did human societies respond to past climate changes that included droughts, hurricanes, forest fires and crop failures? http://azstarnet.com/news/science/climate-mediterranean-cultures-change/article_333f0032-4112-581c-981b-ed8a2482cdeb.html
Ted Danson to Host WNPA Gala
Actor and director Ted Danson, of “Cheers” and “Becker” fame, will be the featured presenter when the Western National Parks Association celebrates its 75-year partnership with the National Park Service on March 9, 2013, at Westward Look Resort, according to a news release from the Parks Association. The association has headquarters in Oro Valley and 66 affiliate parks in 12 Western states, the news release said. http://azstarnet.com/news/blogs/northwestnews/actor-ted-danson-to-headline-wnpa-gala-speak-at-tucson/article_50729d74-3b3e-11e2-a696-0019bb2963f4.html
Lecture Opportunity – Santa Fe
As part of the Mother Earth Father Sky Lecture Series, Southwest Seminars is pleased to present J. Michael Bremer, on Monday, Dec 3 at 6pm at Hotel Santa Fe, owned by Picuris Pueblo, to discuss Fire in the Jemez Province. He is Forest Archaeologist for the Santa Fe National Forest, U.S. Forest Service and Senior Researcher, Village Ecodynamics Project. The lecture series is held annually to honor and acknowledge the work of The New Mexico Environmental Law Center. Admission is $12 at the door and includes refreshments. For information contact Connie Eichstaedt at 505 466-2775 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Solstice Tour Opportunity – Tucson
From 8 a.m. to noon on Friday December 21, 2012, archaeologist Allen Dart will lead Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s “Winter Solstice Tour of Los Morteros and Picture Rocks Petroglyphs Archaeological Sites” in northwestern Tucson metro area. Los Morteros is an ancient Hohokam Indian village site that includes a ballcourt and bedrock mortars, and Picture Rocks has an extensive array of prehistoric petroglyphs that include a solstice and equinox marker, dancing human-like figures, whimsical animals, and other rock symbols made by the Hohokam between A.D. 650 and 1450. LIMITED TO 32 PEOPLE. $15 ($12 for Old Pueblo Archaeology Center and Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary members). Reservations required. 520-798-1201 or email@example.com.
Thanks to Cherie Freeman for contributing to this week’s newsletter.