Archaeology Making the News: A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology
– Trail of the Ancients Program a National Byway System “First”: The new Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway in southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado represents a first in the national system. “This is the first and only byway centered totally on archaeology,” said Lynn Dyer, tourism director for Mesa Verde Country and coordinator for the Colorado portion of the Trail of the Ancients. “There was a big issue of that made at the designation ceremony.” Dyer said New Mexico and Arizona are working to declare roadways near the Trail of the Ancients for National Scenic Byway status. Those state byways would include Canyon de Chelly and Navajo National Monuments. When those are officially designated, Four Corners tourism officials hope to have the Trail of the Ancients declared an All-American Road, the highest status available.
– Responsible Tourism at Homolovi Ruins State Park (Winslow): Just about five miles east of Winslow off Interstate 40 sits a lonely little park overlooking the vast Navajo Reservation lands to the north. Unlike the larger parks that are overrun with tourists Mesa Verde in Colorado or Casa Grande in Phoenix come to mind, Homolovi Ruins are situated on a quiet stretch of the interstate. Nearby Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest probably draw far more of the public’s attention than this windswept rise where 800 years ago Anasazi farmers took advantage of the soil enriched by overflows of the Little Colorado River.
– ASU Archaeologist Receives Grant to Study how Environmental Change Affected Ancient Peoples: A $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow an Arizona State University researcher to study how ancient peoples were affected by changes in their environment. Archaeologist Curtis Marean said he and a team of scientists suspect environmental change was a major influence on the evolution of modern humans. The team wonders what will happen to humans as global warming worsens.
– Earliest Canals in the New World? (Peru): Any archaeologist will tell you that agriculture is what really kick-started social development in the ancient world. So what about people who lived in arid climates? In Egypt and Mesopotamia they developed irrigation canals. New discoveries suggest at least one group in the New World had the right idea too. A team of researchers working in the Andean foothills of Peru has unearthed solid evidence of canals confirmed to be at least 5,400 years old. The find is the oldest of its kind anywhere in South America.
– Protections for Rock Art near Las Vegas hits EPA Regulatory Problems: VEGAS A developer’s plan to protect American Indian rock art etchings in the foothills west of Las Vegas has hit a snag. The Environmental Protection Agency is telling the U-S Army Corps of Engineers that the Howard Hughes Corporation isn’t going far enough to protect the environment and wildlife habitat around desert washes near Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The E-P-A says the proposed project does not comply with E-P-A guidelines.
– Pottery Brings a Renaissance to Mata Ortiz: For decades this dusty high-plains Mexican village of ranchers and railroad workers was rich only in burial sites and ruins left by the area’s long-dead Paquime Indians. But now almost every family in Mata Ortiz, a collection of 300 adobe houses and ranches several hours drive southeast of Tucson, Arizona, is making coil pots inspired by Paquime traders and artisans who once lived in a nearby city of two-story homes and open plazas. They disappeared in the 15th century.