Learning to Throw an Atlatl March 27th, 2015

A Glorious Morning

By Kate Sarther Gann, Content Editor, Archaeology Southwest Magazine   My daughter proved herself apt at hunting (fake) small mammals with a throwing stick. My neighbor’s son, who attended with his archaeologically famous grandparents, mastered atlatl throwing. My mother and I shaped, drilled, and strung a stone pendant. My husband, Preservation Archaeologist Doug Gann, enthusiastically […]

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Salmon by O'Sullivan 1874 March 25th, 2015

Grant Award News: NEH Fuels SPARC

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist   On March 23, we were thrilled to learn that the Salmon Pueblo Archaeological Research Collection (SPARC) project would be funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The total project funding is $300,000. The project will preserve and make accessible incomparable legacy data from the important excavations […]

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John Lloyd Stephens March 17th, 2015

Reporting Archaeology: Lost and Found

Victor Castillo, University of Arizona   Over the past few days, news all over the world has been reporting the alleged discovery of a “lost city” in the jungle of the Mosquitia in eastern Honduras. According to the original reporting from National Geographic, members of an expedition surveyed and mapped several earthworks, plazas, and mounds, […]

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Petoglyph Vandalism March 11th, 2015

Cedar Mesa and Preservation Archaeology

Bill Doelle, President & CEO   My number of waking hours in Bluff, Utah, was just slightly more than the 16-hour round-trip drive from Tucson to attend the annual Celebrate Cedar Mesa Weekend. It was well worth the effort. As the program rolled out to some 300 attendees, I was thrilled to see that it […]

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Silver City Hands-On Crowd March 4th, 2015

Shoot, Grind, Chop, and Burn!

By Karen Schollmeyer and Allen Denoyer One of the most exciting components of Archaeology Southwest’s growing Hands-On Archaeology program is the inclusion of public activities specifically geared toward residents of southwest New Mexico’s Upper Gila area. This area is the focus of our Preservation Archaeology Field School, and some of our research and preservation projects […]

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Checking Specimen Identifications February 24th, 2015

Learning from Broken Bunny Bones

Karen Gust Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist A few years ago, when I was a graduate student, a bright young undergraduate came into the lab to ask about volunteering to help with animal bone analysis, or zooarchaeology. I will never forget the look of horror on his face when I poured a bag of broken animal bones […]

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George McJunkin February 23rd, 2015

George McJunkin and the Discovery That Changed American Archaeology

Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist On August 27, 1908, the small town of Folsom (population ~250) in northern New Mexico was hit by a cloudburst and drenched with a rapid and heavy rain. This storm caused some of the worst flooding ever recorded in the area. First-hand accounts in newspapers describe a harrowing night: water violently […]

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Comb Ridge February 9th, 2015

What Does Protection Really Mean?

Josh Ewing, Executive Director, Friends of Cedar Mesa Cedar Mesa and the landscape surrounding it are full of sacred places. Around almost every bend is another site where even the most detached type-A personality, like me, can connect with people and events far in the past. It’s places like this that provide opportunity for contemplation […]

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Cliff Dwelling at Walnut Canyon February 6th, 2015

What I’m Doing This Week: Doug Gann

Doug Gann, Preservation Archaeologist and Digital Media Specialist This week’s tasks involve all my favorite things: ancient architecture, 3D modeling, Autocad, LIDAR scans and photogrammetry. Through the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Study Unit (CESU), I’ve been tasked with digitally documenting three backcountry cliff dwellings near Flagstaff at Walnut Canyon National Monument. I’ve done plenty of […]

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Allen Floating the Pithouse Roof February 6th, 2015

What I’m Doing This Week: Allen Denoyer

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert Yesterday and today, I’ve been repairing our pilot pithouse at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley, Arizona. In these pictures, volunteer Katie Bubnekovich is soaking the roof and I am floating it with a hand stone.

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Bates Mansion February 5th, 2015

AZ Residents: Call to Action!

Demion Clinco, Former Representative LD2, Arizona House of Representatives, and Archaeology Southwest Board Member   ARIZONA HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDIT BEING CONSIDERED BY STATE LEGISLATURE Arizona State Representative Karen Fann of Prescott has introduced “HB2337: Historic Preservation Tax Credit.” HB2337 would create both an individual and corporate income tax credit for up to 25% of […]

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Ranch House February 5th, 2015

What I’m Doing This Week: Andy Laurenzi

By Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative This week I am wrapping up our work on the historic townsite of Feldman, Arizona, on the lower San Pedro River. Using funding by ASARCO, LLC, we are working in partnership with the University of Arizona Drachman Institute to provide an architectural documentation of the historic ranch house and […]

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Archaeological Data February 3rd, 2015

What I’m Doing This Week: Lewis Borck

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow This week, I’m doing data entry and synthesis for the Edge of Salado project, guest-editing the forthcoming Archaeology Southwest Magazine issue on the Gallina Branch, writing a research grant, writing a book review, and participating on the University of Arizona School of Anthropology’s Southwest Archaeology professor search committee. I’m […]

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Faunal Remains February 3rd, 2015

What I’m Doing This Week: Karen Schollmeyer

Karen Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist   This week, I am finishing up faunal analysis (animal remains) from Jakob Sedig’s excavations at Woodrow Ruin in the Upper Gila area. He had a field project there in 2012–2013 for his dissertation work. It’s interesting because it’s just a few miles from our field school at Dinwiddie, but from […]

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Oil and Gas Facilities near Chaco February 2nd, 2015

What I’m Doing This Week: Paul Reed

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist   This week, I’m continuing to advocate for protection of the Greater Chaco Landscape. We’re pleased to announce the completion of a short film by EcoFlight, in cooperation with the Partnership for Responsible Business and Archaeology Southwest. The film chronicles several recent flights over the Greater Chaco Landscape and […]

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Grand Gulch, by Adriel Heisey January 8th, 2015

From the Editor’s Desk

By Kate Sarther Gann, Content Editor, Archaeology Southwest Magazine   Thoughts on Archaeology Southwest Magazine 28(3 & 4), “Tortuous and Fantastic: Cultural and Natural Wonders of Greater Cedar Mesa”: No doubt about it, this issue is a whopper. The biggest we’ve ever done, in terms of length, scope, and visual impact. Issue editor Bill Lipe, […]

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Oil and Gas Facilities near Chaco January 2nd, 2015

Preserving the Greater Chaco Landscape

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist   Together with the Partnership for Responsible Business and EcoFlight, I was fortunate to be involved in two flights over the San Juan Basin and the Chacoan landscape. In October and again in November, I flew with Bruce Gordon (EcoFlight) and a number of other folks. The flights were […]

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Tumamoc Hill. Aerial photograph by Henry Wallace December 21st, 2014

Help Create a New Preservation Partnership for Tumamoc Hill

A 2,000-Year-Old Hilltop Village next to Downtown Tucson Most people living in Tucson have no idea of the cultural history embedded at Tumamoc, the large mesa behind Sentinel Peak (aka “A” Mountain). Some 2,000 years ago, the ancient desert farmers of the Early Agricultural period built a huge trincheras settlement on the top of this hill. Traces of their homes […]

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John Powers Greets Visitors December 4th, 2014

Putting the People Back in Camp Naco

By Bill Doelle, President & CEO Camp Naco saw more than 500 visitors in the two days after Thanksgiving as part of the annual Bisbee Home Tour. That’s more people than were ever stationed there at one time! The association of Archaeology Southwest with Camp Naco started a decade ago when Becky Orozco, now of […]

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Ponsip Akeri December 3rd, 2014

Return to the Ojo Caliente Valley

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist   This past week I was fortunate to go along on a SiteWatch visit with folks from the Ojo Caliente vicinity in New Mexico. We visited several sites up and down the Ojo Caliente Valley. To orient readers, the area lies north of Española, New Mexico, along the route […]

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Dalton Point: Photo vs. Illustration November 17th, 2014

Draw, Scan, Make, and Model: Complementary Approaches to Understanding Stone Tools

Lance K. Trask, Scientific Illustrator and Archaeology Southwest Member There has been a shift from publishing scientific illustrations of artifacts to publishing photographs. Although there are a number of reasons for this, the primary one is that technical illustrations are a unique art form, and there are increasingly fewer people trained in or practicing that […]

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The Hohokam Platform Mound at Marana November 2nd, 2014

A Unique Preservation Opportunity

 Doug Gann, Preservation Archaeologist and Digital Media Specialist  We have a chance to preserve an intact ancient place, as well as a pristine stretch of Sonoran Desert. Some 700 years ago, a dynamic agricultural society flourished in the lowlands of the desert southwest, with large villages settled in places where permanent sources of water could […]

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Rock Art Consultation November 1st, 2014

Creepytings versus Rock Art and Banksy, Part 2

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow   Read this first part of this post here. View examples of Creepytings’s graffiti at www.modernhiker.com. The second argument that bloggers and commentators have rolled out to defend Creepytings’s actions is that we shouldn’t view her work any differently from the rock art that is speckled across much of […]

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"No Loitering" by Bansky November 1st, 2014

Creepytings versus Rock Art and Banksy

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow   One of the things I like best about studying human behavior is exactly how confusing human behavior can be. What we do as archaeologists, anthropologists, sociologists, human geographers, and/or historians is much less like the frequently used jig-saw puzzle analogy and far more like a drunken game of […]

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Steve Nash and Carmen Carrasco October 27th, 2014

Exegesis of a Southwestern Archaeologist, Part 2

By Steve Nash, Anthropology Department Chair, Denver Museum of Nature & Science Read Part 1 here. Neanderthals and Tree-Rings Sometime in mid-August 1988, I flew to Tucson on a direct flight from Chicago. I picked up my personal belongings—everything packed into a backpack and an old travel trunk—at the baggage carousel, and went to the […]

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Honeybee Reconstruction by Rob Ciaccio October 15th, 2014

Enough with that word!

By Kate Sarther Gann, Communications Coordinator   I’m on a mission. My colleagues at Archaeology Southwest have heard this one before. They seem to appreciate my stance, so I’ve decided to continue evangelizing through this post. There is a word—so common in professional and academic archaeological writing—that I systematically eradicate from every piece of archaeological […]

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Modern Toilet Paper and Straw October 8th, 2014

Of Poop, Toilet Paper, and Worms…

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist   I visited Scott Michlin at KSJE for my regular monthly show last month. You can listen to our conversation here. The agenda this time—ancient poop! Quite literally, we discussed the importance of ancient feces—coprolites, as they are known—for archaeological studies. We discussed a recent analysis of ancient excrement […]

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Lab Space September 26th, 2014

Rooms of Our Own

Karen Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist   As one of the newest Archaeology Southwest staff members, I still marvel at how peaceful, inviting, and singular our workplace is. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Archaeology Southwest library lately, researching older excavations in the Upper Gila area. Before starting this project, I hadn’t realized the […]

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Pithouse Interior Flooding September 12th, 2014


By Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert   On September 8, 2014, southern Arizona received heavy rains from a hurricane (Norbert) moving up along the Baja California of Mexico. Previous rains had caused some damage to our pilot pithouse experiment, but Monday’s storm dropped around 4 inches of rain in Oro Valley, melting […]

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Flooding in Phoenix September 11th, 2014

Flooding Down in Arizona

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   For those of us living in central and southern Arizona, Monday was a record-breaking day of rain. Many parts of the Phoenix metro area received more than 3 to 5 inches within a 24-hour period. To put that in perspective, the Phoenix area typically gets about 9 to 10 […]

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Bowl of Soup August 21st, 2014

Food and Fertility

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   I was on Scott Michlin’s radio show for my monthly visit in July. You can listen to our conversation here. The topic was a recent study that discussed an ancient baby boom among the Pueblo people of the Southwest. Tim Kohler and […]

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Mixing Adobe with Max July 24th, 2014

The Science of Playing in the Mud

Jacqueline Fox, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student For many, the lure of archaeology is its interdisciplinary nature. Incorporating hard science into social theory has provided us with a continually growing understanding of past lives and ancient places. Although the Preservation Archaeology Field School exposed us to many of the processes that make this discipline the […]

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Staff and Students at Feature 301 July 11th, 2014

All Us and No Them

Will Russell, Field Supervisor In less than a week, we’ll all be home. Our other homes. The ones before we made this one. We finished backfilling yesterday and were blessed with cloud cover, making the heat and dust bearable. In the distance, over the Black Range, we could see rays of sunlight piercing the grey […]

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Riley and Chris July 10th, 2014

Learning Lithics at Mule Creek

By Stacy Ryan For me, the words “Mule Creek” have always brought to mind the obsidian from this area, which people in the past used to make stone tools, and which was widely distributed. For this reason, Mule Creek is an especially interesting place to teach students about flaked stone technology. During the field school […]

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Excavation Unit Photo Shoot July 9th, 2014

Connections and Reflections

Erin Verbeck, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student I am a junior at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) studying anthropology and political science. This is my first time in the Southwest, and I am continually surprised by how vibrant and beautiful the landscape is—not to mention how hot it is! As a native of Minnesota, where we […]

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Shaping a Digging Stick July 8th, 2014

Building Blocks for Understanding the Past

Andrew Finn, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student Throughout my time here at the Preservation Archaeology Field School, I have vastly expanded my knowledge of preservation archaeology and archaeology as a whole. I have always been very interested in the technology used by the ancient groups that we are learning about, and through the experimental archaeology […]

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Puddled Adobe Experiment July 7th, 2014

The Interpretive Process: A Student’s Perspective

Aaron Trumbo, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student At this year’s Preservation Archaeology Field School, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to excavate within a pueblo room block that is currently threatened by a road cut. The road has already destroyed much of this pueblo, but we are digging within two never-before-excavated rooms that are […]

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Preparing an Excavation Unit July 2nd, 2014

Attributes of the Successful Archaeologist: A Field Study

Izzy Starr, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student In every field of study, it seems as though there are certain sets of traits that tend to fare better than others. At the Preservation Archaeology Field School, I have had the opportunity to observe archaeologists at work, and now I have some speculations as to the characteristics […]

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Overlooking Pueblo Bonito July 1st, 2014

A Community of Learners

Christopher Davis, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student Over the course of three weeks, I have learned a great deal about Southwestern archaeology and the close-knit community of people who study it. But I have also learned more about myself, as an aspiring archaeologist. Upon arrival, I plunged into an endless realm of new knowledge branching […]

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Chert Projectile Point June 30th, 2014

A Lesson Quickly Learned

Maxwell Forton, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student A lesson quickly learned: not every excavation is going to unearth the find of the century. All too often, a unit is going to fail to meet your hopes and expectations. My group’s excavations atop the hill overlooking the Dinwiddie site failed to yield the preserved architecture that […]

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Paul Reed Leading Chaco Tour June 28th, 2014

Seeing is Believing: The Importance of Field Trips

Danielle Gilbert, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student Preservation, excavation, and education are just a few of the goals of the Preservation Archaeology Field School, and after only three weeks in the field, I feel that I have a new appreciation and understanding of these concepts. I have seen and learned many things through working at […]

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Mule Creek June 27th, 2014

Field School Proverbs

Selena Soto, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student Hi all! This is my third week here at the Preservation Archaeology Field School in New Mexico, and it has been an exhilarating experience so far! I have never been on an archaeological dig before, so I have been soaking in all of the knowledge and all of […]

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Excavations at the Dinwiddie Site June 26th, 2014

Archaeology in the Southwestern and Eastern United States

Alex Covert, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student I participated in a field school in Virginia last summer, and that experience was quite different from the one I’m having in New Mexico this summer. Through these two experiences, I have realized that archaeology varies greatly depending on where one is working. In Virginia, the program took […]

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Field School Aerial June 25th, 2014

A Dilemma Solved

Madisen Dancer, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student When I was accepted into the Archaeology Southwest/University of Arizona field school this past March, I was delighted. I was also ready to tackle a problem I had been considering since deciding to change my major to geography: how might archaeology and geography complement each other? Before coming […]

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Experimental Archaeology Lessons June 24th, 2014

Archaeology and You

Kaelyn Olson, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student One of the strangest things about my first time in the Southwest is being surrounded by experienced graduate students and archaeological professionals. Initially, I felt as if I was completely out of my league. They spoke in code, using terms like, “sherds,” “lithics,” and “screens,” and the only […]

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Perforated Plate Sherd June 19th, 2014

Even the Smallest Piece

Will Russell, Field Supervisor     One of the highlights of teaching is the look of discovery and excitement on a student’s face. Recently, I was wiping sweat from my eyes and filling out paperwork amidst a cloud of dust shaken from the screens when I heard Andrew say, “Hey, Will, take a look at this!” […]

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Religious Statue in a Basin June 13th, 2014

Rusty American Dream

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow   Ahhhhhhh, the scent of green chiles, sage, piñon, dust, ponderosa…and a vehicle full of sweaty, tired folk who have lost all sense of societal norms. It must be field school season again. This year, my job is to lead the survey portion of the Preservation Archaeology Field School. […]

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Digging the Foundation Trenches June 12th, 2014

Slow and Steady, the Ancient Way

Riley Duke, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student Hello, Archaeology Southwest blog readers! So far, my time at the Preservation Archaeology Field School has been nothing less than fantastic. I have spent the majority of my time either in the field excavating or with staff members working in experimental archaeology. My excavation group and I are […]

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Shell Bracelet Fragment June 11th, 2014

From the Book to the Field

Hannah Zanotto, Preservation Archaeology Field School Student After a week in the field, I am finally gaining the experience I have been searching for since my first archaeology lecture on my first day of college. Three weeks ago, I graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Anthropology. As an undergraduate, I spent countless […]

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Atlatl Team June 10th, 2014

Celebrating World Atlatl Day

Allen Denoyer and Karen Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologists The end of our students’ first full week in camp coincided with World Atlatl Day (June 7). This summer, field school students are rotating through experiences in experimental archaeology, as well as the more traditional excavation and survey course components. They have been working hard making their own […]

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Arizona State Museum Pottery Display June 9th, 2014

Prelude to Fieldwork

Leslie Aragon, Field Supervisor Last week, we kicked off the 2014 Preservation Archaeology Field School. Students arrived in Tucson from all over the country, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, and spent a few days learning about Preservation Archaeology and Salado culture. At the Himdag Ki museum in Topawa, Arizona, students met members of the Tohono O’odham […]

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Danielle and Kaelyn June 3rd, 2014

Teaching and Research at the 2014 Preservation Archaeology Field School

Karen Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist   Our 2014 Preservation Archaeology Field School in the Upper Gila area has just begun, and we are off to a great start. Over the coming weeks, our students and staff will be writing blog posts summarizing some of our research and their learning experiences here in Mule Creek, New Mexico. […]

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Camp Naco Officer's Quarter May 27th, 2014

Engaging the Complexities of the Borderlands

By Bill Doelle, President & CEO   Last Friday, some fresh eyes came to Camp Naco, and they helped me to see some things in new ways. Since 2006, I have worked with Becky Orozco, instructor of Anthropology and History at Cochise College, to preserve the historic adobe buildings at Camp Naco. I know the […]

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Pueblo Bonito Artifact May 21st, 2014

Turquoise Trade among Ancestral Pueblo Groups

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins Scott Michlin welcomed me back to his radio show last month, and I came bearing tales of turquoise (click here to listen to our discussion). Sharon Hull (University of Manitoba, Department of Geological Sciences) and her colleagues recently finished a study of turquoise […]

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Still Life with Trowels May 6th, 2014

Posts from the Edge

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow   I thought I’d bring those of you who are not on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter up to date on posts I made from the field. I’ll share a wrap-up blog post soon with details about the final two weeks and a summary of what we learned over the […]

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Atari 2600 May 5th, 2014

Atari Archaeology and Other Garbage

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   If you’ve been following the news over the last couple of weeks, you may have seen a story or two about a documentary film crew and a team of archaeologists heading to the New Mexico desert near Alamogordo to excavate the remains of the legendary Atari graveyard within the […]

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Peter and Steven Nash May 2nd, 2014

Exegesis of a Southwestern Archaeologist, Part 1

By Steve Nash, Anthropology Department Chair, Denver Museum of Nature & Science Kiathuthlanna Black-on-White, Yoruba Ibeji, and Me On July 7, 1967, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a photograph under the caption “Chicago Twins Meet Yoruba Twins” to honor the opening of a new temporary exhibit on Yoruba twin statues, or ibeji, at the Field Museum […]

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Paul at Walnut Canyon April 14th, 2014

Archaeological Documentation on a Slippery Slope, Part 1

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   Recently, I was fortunate to assist my colleague Doug Gann with a project at Walnut Canyon National Monument, near Flagstaff, Arizona. The work took place at two small cliff dwellings about halfway down a very steep ravine above Walnut Creek. The project […]

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Fran Reaches for an Artifact April 10th, 2014

A View from the Edge…of Salado

By Kathryn Turney, Project Intern I have had the pleasure of being an intern for the Edge of Salado project since February of this year. It has been fun, challenging at times, and very rewarding. It has been a good learning experience, in terms of how to meet the project’s research goals while still providing […]

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O. W. Randall’s inscription, 1849. April 7th, 2014

The Quest to the O. W. Randall Rock

By Randy Craig Randall   When I was in college, I became interested in our family history. I vividly recall one conversation with my paternal grandfather, whom we called “Daddy Jack.” One evening at their home in the piney woods around Nacogdoches, Texas, I asked him to tell me what he knew about the Randall […]

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Rock-Bordered Canal near Goat Hill April 3rd, 2014

Tracking Canals in the Safford Basin: A Tale of Fate 34 & 54 Years in the Making

By James A. Neely, Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin This story begins in the summer of 1994, when I accompanied Kyle Woodson—one of my graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin—into the field to get him started on excavations for his master’s thesis project at the now well-known site of Goat […]

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Ken and Cherie March 19th, 2014

Exploring the Edge, March 8–9, 15–16

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow   We have been working in the Coyote Mountains for three weeks now as part of our Edge of Salado investigation. I can say, without any doubt, that it has been one of my favorite settings to work in. Each site is nestled within a box canyon eroded from […]

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Matt Peeples Leads a Tour of Valencia March 12th, 2014

Not Exactly a Vacant Lot!

By Stephen Darling, Archaeology Southwest Member since 2013 This past Saturday morning, March 8, my wife Anne-Marie, my friend Steve Cox, and I attended Archaeology Southwest’s 2014 Annual Members’ Gathering, which featured a walking tour of the Valencia site. Owned by Pima Community College and Pima County, the Valencia site is protected from any future […]

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Romero Ruin March 6th, 2014

Heighten Your Awareness on March 29

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   March is Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month for the State of Arizona. Setting aside a month to celebrate archaeology highlights the importance of our shared past, as well as the social and economic impacts of archaeology in the state. Of course, there are tours, events, and lectures on archaeology […]

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Scorpion in a Shovel March 4th, 2014

Exploring the Edge, March 1–2

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow Preparations for Edge of Salado research (click on that link to learn more) have been underway for the past month:   Excavations began two weekends ago in the Sulphur Springs Valley:   And we often had company! We continued this past weekend in the Coyote Mountains at a platform […]

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Mudding the Pithouse February 20th, 2014

A Visit to the Steam Pump Ranch Pithouse

Today’s guest author is Nanette Weaver, Arizona Site Steward Regional Coordinator for the Lower and Middle San Pedro River valley. Have you ever stood looking at the vague outline of a Hohokam pithouse and tried to visualize what the whole house looked like? I know that I, for one, as a Site Steward, have wished […]

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Footprints outside Avellino Eruption February 11th, 2014


By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   There have been some interesting archaeological news stories in the last couple of months revolving around the discovery of incredibly preserved human footprints. These stories, coming one right after the other, really got me thinking more about other known instances of footprints in the archaeological record, what those footprints […]

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Site Graffiti February 6th, 2014

Something There is That Doesn’t Love a (Painted) Wall

By Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative (With a nod to poet Robert Frost!) It’s always fun introducing new site stewards to a site, especially on field trips with experienced site stewards. Nanette Weaver and Bob Sherman, the new regional site steward coordinators for the lower and middle San Pedro River area, have been promoting tours […]

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Pueblo I Vessels on House Floor February 3rd, 2014

The Marginal Middle or the Path to Chaco?

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   On January 20, Scott Michlin welcomed me back to his morning radio show on KSJE, the San Juan College radio station in Farmington, New Mexico. Continuing my chronological foray into ancient Pueblo history, I discussed the Pueblo I period (A.D. 750–900) in […]

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Volcanic Hill with Terraces under Rainbow January 30th, 2014

From Above: Images of a Storied Land

By Adriel Heisey, Photographer   I grew up in a land cloaked in verdure, where time and the elements have long since softened every bold edge, so the desert’s nakedness will always turn my head. Even now, after living here a quarter century, when I fly through this land laid bare by climate and natural […]

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Reconstructed Pueblo Grande Dwellings January 21st, 2014

From Durango to Durango and from Las Vegas to Las Vegas, Part 2

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   In my previous post on the 14th biennial Southwest Symposium, I shared what I learned about the Fremont area. A number of other papers at the conference focused on the Virgin River area, which is the subject of today’s post. Sometimes considered a branch of the larger Ancestral Pueblo […]

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Vegas, Baby January 20th, 2014

From Durango to Durango and Las Vegas to Las Vegas, Part 1

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   Several of Archaeology Southwest’s staff members attended the 14th biennial Southwest Symposium at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, held from January 9 to 11. Because it focuses on current research in the Southwest, this conference is one of my favorites. This year’s theme was “Social Networks in the […]

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Tanque Verde Red-on-brown jar January 7th, 2014

Tanque Verde Brown and the Temper of Sand

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Fellow   In the not-so-distant past, I organized a meeting of the minds to discuss problems and interesting phenomena associated with precontact southern Arizona pottery (“precontact” meaning “before the arrival of Europeans”). As I prepared for “Edge of Salado,” Archaeology Southwest’s upcoming investigations into why some people engaged with the Salado […]

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IMG_5422 December 31st, 2013

Flight of the Phantom

By Doug Gann, Preservation Archaeologist and Digital Media Specialist As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to wrap up 2013 with a little cautionary tale about the use of unmanned flying cameras, commonly called “drones” in the media. In the Pretty Rock blog post, I illustrated how a revolution in generating three-dimensional data […]

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Broken Flute Cave December 16th, 2013

Going Back to the Past: The Basketmaker Roots of the Pueblos

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   Scott Michlin welcomed me back to his morning show morning radio show on KSJE, the San Juan College radio station in Farmington, New Mexico, this past Monday. For December, I spoke about the Basketmaker era in the northern Southwest. I framed it […]

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Pinedale Polychrome Bowl December 12th, 2013

A Dream Comes True

Deb Huntley, Preservation Archaeologist   When I was a kid growing up in the Denver area, I loved going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS). There, I could see fantastic nature dioramas, rooms full of dinosaur skeletons, and Egyptian mummies. Now that I’m back in Colorado, my son and I frequent the […]

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Stout Hotel in Gila Bend December 2nd, 2013

Stout’s Hotel: A Place of the Past with a Future?

By Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative   Over the past several years, I’ve traveled to the Town of Gila Bend on numerous occasions to meet with town officials, promote the Great Bend of Gila National Monument, tour Gatlin National Historic Landmark, rendezvous with others on the way to the Sentinel Plain and lower Gila River […]

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Blog Wordle November 28th, 2013

Back to Basics, Part 3: Broad Research Themes

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   The archaeological culture areas I described on Wednesday are really just a means of conceptualizing similarities and differences among people living in different parts of the Southwest. These constructs do not represent cultures in the way we define them today, and regional designations were not static. Other, very important […]

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El Paso Polychrome November 27th, 2013

Back to Basics, Part 2: Archaeological Cultures in the Southwest

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   On Monday, I wrote about how archaeologists define culture areas, which represent geographic zones in which people were living in generally similar ways and across which people were connected through shared history and practices. Before we look at the three main culture areas of the Southwest, I should say […]

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Map of Southwest Archaeological Cultures November 25th, 2013

Back to Basics, Part 1

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   As I reviewed recent posts, I thought we should take a moment to break it down for those who are interested in learning what Southwest archaeology is about, at the most basic level. This week, in three successive posts, I’ll try to summarize a bit about what we know […]

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Aztec West with Snow November 21st, 2013

News from the North: A Burial from Salmon Pueblo and Some Thoughts on the Great Drought

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   Host Scott Michlin recently welcomed me back to his morning radio show on KSJE, the San Juan College radio station in Farmington, New Mexico. I’m on with Scott every month to discuss interesting topics in local or national archaeology. For November, I […]

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Peanut Butter Cup November 4th, 2013

This Post Is Not about the Borg or Peanut-Butter Cups—Or Is It?

By Kate Sarther Gann, Communications Coordinator, with Jeff Clark, Preservation Archaeologist   One of the most rewarding aspects of serving as the content editor of Archaeology Southwest Magazine is the continual opportunity to learn new things directly from the finest scholars. I have been fortunate to have Tobi Taylor, the previous content editor, and Emilee […]

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Cliff Valley Cache October 30th, 2013

Faces of Salado?

By Katherine Dungan, Preservation Archaeologist In 1972, a cache of truly remarkable items—a large, wooden human figure and a slightly smaller stone human figure accompanied by animal effigies, textiles, and wooden objects—was recovered from a cave in the Cliff Valley, along the Upper Gila River in New Mexico. The objects are described in a 1978 […]

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Car Seriation October 23rd, 2013

The Archaeologist’s Gaze

By Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeology Fellow   Dating techniques are one of first things students learn about in archaeology courses in the United States. Archaeologists—and people more generally—have two primary ways of marking time: absolute (chronometric), or a computed numerical age, and relative, or a sequence of events. One relative dating method is seriation, which […]

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Matt and Kellam assessing a site. October 22nd, 2013

An Archaeologist’s View of “Digger” Shows

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   Host Scott Michlin recently welcomed me to his morning radio show on KSJE, the San Juan College radio station in Farmington, New Mexico. I’ll be on the air with an archaeology update each month. For the month of October, I spoke about […]

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Tour of the Mule Creek Obsidian Source October 8th, 2013

Student Research at the Dinwiddie Site: Raw Material Sources

Deb Huntley, Preservation Archaeologist   Students attending the 2013 Archaeology Southwest/University of Arizona Preservation Archaeology Field School completed several interesting and valuable research projects covering a wide range of topics, from experimental ceramics and flaked stone studies to magnetometer surveys. A course requirement, these projects contribute to our long-term research in the Upper Gila region […]

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Pueblo_Bonito_Model_First_Draft October 1st, 2013

Pretty Rock: Creating Virtual Interactive Models of Places of the Past

By Doug Gann, Preservation Archaeologist and Digital Media Specialist   Things have been quiet on the Virtual Southwest project as we fine-tune our models and programming, so I thought I’d take a moment to share a bit about some new tools for documenting and sharing archaeological landscapes that we are utilizing in an upcoming exhibit […]

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Map of Possible Migration Routes September 26th, 2013

Routes to the New World

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   Recently, I was a guest on the Scott Michlin Morning Program at KSJE, the San Juan College radio station in Farmington, New Mexico, where I discussed recent findings regarding migrations to the New World. (Listen to the broadcast here.) The researchers used […]

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Barrel cactus blooming September 12th, 2013

Back to the 70s—Enjoying an Archaeological Preserve

By Bill Doelle, President & CEO   Back to the 70s—I am talking temperatures, desert temperatures. Last weekend, daytime temperatures around Tucson kept to the high 70s for much of the day. For me, that means that hiking in the desert is once again possible. My time is always limited, so I don’t even need […]

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Walking along the Colorado River September 5th, 2013

Paradise by the Antiquities Act

By Bill Doelle, President & CEO   Paradise is defined many ways. For me, spending last week away from a cell phone and the rest of the electronic world was paradise. My personal paradise was at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It can’t get much better than that! Grand Canyon National Park is the […]

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Chile Ristras September 3rd, 2013

Red or green?

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   Red or green? It’s the state question of New Mexico—referring, of course, to the color of the chile sauce you want on your dinner. Synonymous with New Mexican cuisine, chile peppers are part of New Mexican identity. Even the road signs welcoming you to New Mexico are marked with […]

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Rudd Creek Pueblo August 22nd, 2013

Journeys and Crossroads

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   Earlier this week, I drove up to Springerville, Arizona, to give a talk at the Casa Malpais Museum hosted by the Little Colorado Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society. My presentation focused on migration and cultural diversity in the Upper Little Colorado region in the centuries before the Spaniards […]

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Canyons of the Pajarito Plateau August 21st, 2013

Movement Is Life

By Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative   “Movement is life. Movement is seen everywhere… Movement was characteristic of our ancestors, who moved across the landscape like the clouds across the sky.” —Tessy Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo, quoted on the Bandelier National Monument website Last week, I experienced mind-numbing deep preservation at the New Mexico Archaeological […]

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Screening for artifacts August 20th, 2013

Open Pueblo

Deb Huntley, Preservation Archaeologist   On Saturday, August 10, around 100 visitors—including journalists, archaeologists, and local community members—took advantage of relatively cool temperatures and toured excavations in progress at Goat Spring Pueblo. Located in the mountains near Magdalena, New Mexico, on the Cibola National Forest, this ancestral Piro village (also known as Bear Mountain Pueblo) […]

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Camp Naco Officer's Quarters building C2 August 11th, 2013

No New Ruins — A Plea from a Stubborn Optimist

By Bill Doelle, President & CEO   Sometimes, archaeologists can prevent ruins. Yes, I said prevent, not preserve. Camp Naco is teaching me life lessons about just how hard it can be to prevent ruins. After working with a devoted team of ruin preventers for the past eight years, it is time to start counting successes. Camp […]

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Puebloan bow and arrows July 30th, 2013

Zing! Bow-and-Arrow Technology in the Ancient Pueblo Southwest

By Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Salmon Ruins   The development and spread of bow technology across North America has sparked considerable archaeological debate for more than 100 years. Experts have proposed various ideas about how and why bow technology spread out of Asia between 4,000 and 2,000 years ago, including […]

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Casa Grande July 25th, 2013

The Casa Grande Community—In More Ways than One!

By Bill Doelle, President & CEO   Community. Just when cynicism seems at its most pervasive, I am glad to see that community spirit can still shine through. It certainly infuses the new legislation for the expansion of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. A bipartisan group of Arizona Representatives—Paul Gosar (R-4), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-1), Raúl […]

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Steam rising near Lake Mývatn July 22nd, 2013

An Arizona Icelandic Saga

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   A little more than a week ago, I was lucky enough to travel with ten other Southwestern archaeologists to the city of Akureyri in northern Iceland. We went there to take part in a collaborative research meeting with a group of climate scientists and archaeologists working in the circumpolar […]

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Rock Art Consultation July 21st, 2013

Tribal Consultation in the Kaibab National Forest and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Today’s guest author is Connie Reid, an Archaeologist with the Kaibab National Forest: “Sometimes you get homesick, but here you don’t. It feels normal and like you were back to where you were before. You have a sense of being. Everything is there and you can feel it. You don’t have any feelings of being out […]

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Kevin Bacon Networks July 18th, 2013

Of Ancient Networks and Bacon Numbers

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   Yesterday afternoon, many of us at Archaeology Southwest gathered around the first box off the truck, grinning over the new issue of Archaeology Southwest Magazine. It’s on its way to our members’ mailboxes now (if you’re not yet a member, join now). This issue is special to me because […]

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Mule Creek monsoons July 16th, 2013

Life with New Mexico’s Weather

By Trevor McLam, field school student from Washington State University As one might expect of a place that has been called the Great American Desert, the first thing one notices upon arrival is that it is hot. But it truly is a dry heat, which helps immensely. When we arrived in Mule Creek, it was […]

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Pueblo Bonito Overlook July 9th, 2013

Visiting Chaco Canyon

By Thatcher Rogers, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse The weekend field trip to Chaco Canyon began splendidly with an informative visit to Zuni. Due to purchasing a large number of zoomorphic figures associated with water, we were unfortunately deterred by rains from accomplishing our original goal of staying overnight at Chaco. After spending the night […]

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Mesa at Acoma July 8th, 2013

Archaeology Students on the Loose!

By Jay Stephens, University of Arizona After a long and hard five weeks of excavation and lab work, we were turned loose on a three day trip to Chaco Canyon and the pueblos of Acoma and Zuni. It is difficult to summarize all of the amazing landscapes and sites that we saw over the long […]

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Mule Creek Point June 28th, 2013

Experimental Archaeology at Mule Creek

By David Loome, field school student from Northern Arizona University/Coconino Community College As students at the Preservation Archaeology Field School at Mule Creek, we are exposed almost every day to the tools and technology used by people in the past. By analyzing and studying artifacts like stone tools and pottery, we can gain important insights […]

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Gila Bend Sunrise June 27th, 2013

Summer Solstice Sites in Southwestern Arizona

Introduction by Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative Of the several rewarding elements of my job, meeting and traveling with site stewards is certainly one of the most enjoyable. As our first line of defense in our collective efforts to safeguard ancient sites, site stewards have been monitoring sites for many years and, apart from some […]

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Young Man with a Trowel June 25th, 2013

Sharing Archaeology with the Community, Part I

By Dorothy Kilgore, field school student from the College of Western Idaho On June 15, 2013, Archaeology Southwest field students and staff performed a community outreach day at the Gila Community Center in New Mexico. Stations included an artifact show-and-tell, a pottery-making station, an artifact-digging station, a stone tool-making station, and a video crew to […]

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Gila Cliff Dwellings June 21st, 2013

Gila Cliff Dwellings

By Heather Seltzer, field school student from SUNY Binghamton On Sunday, we took a break from excavating and lab work and headed to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. After being decently shook up on the long bumpy road, we piled out of the van. Before we went to tour the Mimbres-Mogollon site or see […]

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Julie at the stove June 12th, 2013

Meet Our Cook

By Emily Reed, field school student from the University of Connecticut Excavating the Dinwiddie site has been exhausting. With the sun beating down on us constantly while we pick-axe and shovel into the hard ground, we are all drained by the end of the day. Our thirty-minute ride from Dinwiddie back to Mule Creek usually […]

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mule_creek_panorama_feature June 11th, 2013

Field School Expectations

By Danny Beard, field school student from University of Colorado Boulder When you are itching with cabin fever in the middle of a snowy, cold Colorado winter’s day, the sunshine of the New Mexican summer starts to sound pretty enticing. I always try to avoid building up too many expectations, as sometimes they can be […]

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Road Show Evaluation June 10th, 2013

An Archaeology Road Show in Arizona’s Mogollon Highlands

By Doug Gann, Preservation Archaeologist and Digital Media Specialist   In a community such as Springerville, like almost every place in the Southwest with nearby water, archaeological evidence of ancient peoples is fairly common. The objects linking the past of these places to the present are usually encountered in the things left behind, most often […]

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Thatcher brushing soil June 8th, 2013

Archaeological Eyes

By Ely Rareshide, field school student from Rice University Before we put trowel to dirt at the Dinwiddie site, we first visited the Valencia site at Pima Community College, Desert Vista Campus, to train our “archaeological eyes.” Bill Doelle led us through the site and explained how to interpret the landscape and find surface artifacts. […]

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Screening through Soil June 7th, 2013

First Week in Mule Creek

By Linda Pierce, Deputy Director   I spent most of last week at our Preservation Archaeology Field School headquarters in Mule Creek, New Mexico, helping out with (and documenting) the start of the 2013 field season. It was a busy week, and by the time I left late Friday morning, it seemed everyone was getting […]

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Camp Naco - Noncommissioned officer’s quarters June 6th, 2013

Raise the Roof! (Preservation Archaeology-style)

By Bill Doelle, President & CEO   Finally, it is happening. The hard-luck adobe camp that was part of a “human fence along the border” right after World War I is getting some of the preservation treatments it has needed for two decades. A grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is ridding Camp Naco […]

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Field School Lab June 3rd, 2013

Settling into Camp

By Kathryn Turney, field school student from Pima Community College There is much more to Upper Gila Archaeological Preservation Field School than learning the basics of Preservation Archaeology. There are fun and informative field trips and lecture opportunities and a lot of hands on learning. Additionally, archaeology may mean living in the field, literally in […]

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Cliff Polychrome - Kinishba Pueblo May 30th, 2013

Not Just for Sherd Nerds

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   Although a holiday, this past Monday definitely was not a quiet day at Archaeology Southwest. The first full day of the Preservation Archaeology Field School kicked off with some introductory lectures and tours. I was fortunate to tag along for a behind-the-scenes look at the Arizona State Museum’s (ASM) […]

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Casa Malpaís May 29th, 2013

Art and Preservation Archaeology at Casa Malpais

By Doug Gann, Preservation Archaeologist   For the past twelve years, I’ve been helping a community in eastern Arizona’s Mogollon Highlands preserve, protect, and interpret a unique ancient place now known as Casa Malpais. Because they are located at cooler elevations in and around the White Mountains, the towns of these highlands have long been […]

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San Lucy Village Church May 17th, 2013

The Story of San Lucy Village

By Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative   This week we attended a meeting of the Four Southern Tribes Cultural Resources Working Group, hosted by the San Lucy District of the Tohono O’odham Nation and held at the San Lucy Feast House. At the committee’s invitation, we provided a brief overview of the legislation introduced by […]

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Washing Sherds May 10th, 2013

Celebrating Catalina State Park (and Getting Some Sherds Washed)

By Linda Pierce, Deputy Director   Last Saturday, a number of us at Archaeology Southwest were happy to take part in the 30th anniversary celebration for Catalina State Park. Encompassing 5,500 acres on the north side of Tucson, the park is a haven for Sonoran Desert plants and wildlife, and also protects a number of […]

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Sherd Inspection May 7th, 2013

Recent Field Visits for the Salado Preservation Initiative

By Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative   The next phase of the Salado Preservation Initiative began last month, when Bill Doelle, Jeff Clark, myself, and our new Preservation Fellow, Lewis Borck, headed to the field to visit several sites in the Sulphur Springs Valley, on the west side of the Chiricahua Mountains, and some sites […]

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Brigadoon effect May 6th, 2013

The Brigadoon Effect

By Bruce Hilpert, Archaeology Southwest Member and Volunteer Springtime for southern Arizona archaeology means… the Brigadoon Effect! Now you see it, now you don’t. As many of you probably know, vegetation can be an archaeologist’s friend or foe. Trees and creosotes can  hide site features—or they can reveal them as if by magic. Archaeologists call […]

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Clovis Point March 15th, 2013

An Archaeology Road Show

By Matt Peeples, Preservation Archaeologist   A few Saturdays ago, on March 2, 2013, Doug Gann and I traveled up to the Casa Malpais Archaeological Park and Museum in Springerville, Arizona, for a regional Archaeology Road Show. Supported by the Arizona Humanities Council, this event represented our take on the popular PBS program Antiques Roadshow. We invited […]

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Pueblo Room Blocks in Snow February 21st, 2013

From Above: Online, on Exhibit, and Now on Your Phone

I dread flying. I become so focused on the destination that the journey feels like a chore. There are absolute hassles, of course: rushing all morning to wait all afternoon, walking barefoot and beltless through security checkpoints, anxiously checking – and rechecking – IDs, tickets, flight times, gates…

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