Allegations of Artifact Dealing by Public Employees and Archaeologists Featured in Durango Herald
A federal informant named Ted Dan Gardiner visited a house in Fort Collins on July 17, 2008, hoping to secretly tape evidence of illegal dealings in ancient artifacts. He came back with hints that public employees – archaeologists and rangers for land-management agencies – are involved in artifacts dealing, in violation of federal law. The suggestion has rattled practitioners of the profession, who fear such allegations could cast a pall over the field. http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20101205/NEWS01/712059913/0/s/Illicit-gains
Update on Four Corners Looting Cases
The high-profile prosecution of a Four Corners artifact-selling ring is proceeding quietly. Half the defendants have avoided prison by taking pleas to reduced charges. Durango artifacts dealer Vern Crites was scheduled to enter a guilty plea in Salt Lake City last Tuesday, but a storm delayed the hearing, according to The Associated Press. http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20101205/NEWS01/712059917//article/20101205/NEWS01/712059917/Plea-hearing-for-Durango-dealer-postponed
Series of Rock Art Vandalism Episodes Reflects Troubling Trend
Three prehistoric rock art panels were vandalized with graffiti recently at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Both pictographs (paintings and drawings on rocks), and petroglyphs (drawings scraped and ground onto the surface of the rock) were severely damaged. The damaged rock art panels vary in size from three feet by six feet to eight feet by nine feet. Several panels were completely covered with maroon spray paint. http://www.mesquitelocalnews.com/viewnews.php?newsid=6744&id=8
Police Say Red Rock Glyphs Vandalized for Shock Value
Metro Police said ancient art vandalized at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was probably targeted because of the high-profile nature of the damage. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/dec/09/police-ancient-red-rock-art-likely-vandalized-shoc/
Public Outrage over Red Rock Canyon Vandalism
On Dec. 1, I opened the Las Vegas Review-Journal to find that one or more Neanderthal punks had tagged petroglyphs and pictographs in Red Rock Canyon, just west of Las Vegas. The word “anger” doesn’t get it done. http://www.lvrj.com/living/vandalism-of-prehistoric-artwork-causes-rare-rage-111746044.html
Robert Kelly Responds to New NAGPRA Regulations
Last winter, the Department of the Interior issued regulations for the disposition of ancient American Indian remains and funerary objects that cannot be affiliated with modern tribes. Unfortunately, these new rules will destroy a crucial source of knowledge about North American history and halt a dialogue between scientists and Indian tribes that has been harmonious and enlightening.
Center for Digital Antiquity Aims to Increase Access to Archaeological Data
Francis P. McManamon has spent decades protecting and promoting North America’s archaeological legacy. Now, in his role as executive director of the Center for Digital Antiquity, he is leading a pioneering effort in the field of archaeology: the development of an international repository of digital archaeological data sets, images, reports and other digital information. This repository, known as the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR), is largely the brainchild of archaeology professor Keith Kintigh, associate director of ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and professor K. Selcuk Candan of the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering.
Debates over Stabilization and Reconstruction of Spanish Missions Featured in High Country News
When Vint started working here, the Morales family was still using synthetic materials. Vint’s mentor in Mexico City recommended a switch to traditional materials. So the crew stripped layers of cement and latex paint off the church, scraping the walls down to the original adobe brick. Then they applied lime plaster, bright white and smooth to the touch. The work is funded by the Patronato San Xavier foundation. And the Tohono O’odham are proud of it, or at least accept it, say Nuñez and Vint. http://www.hcn.org/issues/42.21/debating-preservation-in-the-southwests-spanish-missions/article_view?b_start%3Aint=2&utm_medium=email&utm_source=wcn1
Wukoki and Hopi Place Names
Perched atop an isolated outcrop of red Moenkopi sandstone, the majestic Wukoki Pueblo at Wupatki National Monument stands like a solitary sentinel on the flat plains of the Colorado Plateau. This vast plateau encompasses parts of southern Utah and Colorado and northern New Mexico and Arizona; its southwestern Arizona boundary is formed by the San Francisco Volcanic Field, an area that includes the Sunset Crater volcano and an area also revered by Native Americans like the Hopi, Zuni and Navajo as a dwelling place of their deities. http://www.chieftain.com/life/local/article_f7e8f99a-000d-11e0-8884-001cc4c002e0.html
Old Bisbee Listed on National Register
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has confirmed that the Bisbee Residential Historic District has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Making use of a Historic Preservation Grant from SHPO in 2009, the City of Bisbee contracted with Ryden Architects, out of Phoenix, to survey and prepare the official submission to the Department of Interior. http://www.svherald.com/content/lifestyle/2010/12/04/old-bisbee-residential-historic-district-national-register
Utah Places 70 Years of Archaeological and Historical Documents Online
Two Utah government agencies have teamed up to provide online access to 78 years of published history and archaeology. The Utah Division of History and the State Library, both part of the Utah Department of Community and Culture, have added more than 47,000 new pages of government publications to the online site. http://history.utah.gov/publications.html. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50819222-76/utah-history-publications-online.html.csp
“Origin Stories: Narratives of North American Diversity, 1400-1700,” scheduled for April 22-23, 2011, at Southern Illinois University, has been canceled.
Training Opportunity (Brownsville, TX)
An upcoming National Park Service archeological prospection workshop will be held May 23-27, 2011, at the Mexican War Site of Fort Brown in Brownsville, Texas. The workshop is open to all archeologists and students, as well as those folks interested in forensic and cemetery investigations. Please pass this information on to your students, faculty, staff, and other interested individuals. http://www.nps.gov/history/mwac/pro_work/ARCH11TNG.pdf
Lecture Opportunity and Silent Auction for the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society (Tucson)
T. J. Ferguson will give the monthly Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Lecture. His title is Two Views on Zuni Migration: Traditional History and Archaeology. The lecture will be held today, Monday, December 20, 2010, at the Arizona State Museum at 7:30 and will be followed by a silent auction to raise funds for scholarships, as well as a holiday reception. Please note that tonight’s meeting is going to be held in the State Museum’s Pottery Project gallery.
Tour Opportunity (El Paso)
A Winter Morning Nature Tour will be from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, December 23, at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, 6900 Hueco Tanks Road #1, El Paso, TX 79938. During the tour we will highlight some of the park’s unique ecology, as well as prehistoric and historic water use. We might also see wildlife such as quail, lizards, jackrabbits, javelinas, foxes, coyotes, or even a bobcat! Participants should dress for cool weather, wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring water. The tour will be strenuous. Reservations are required for the tour. There will be a $5 entrance fee for participants ages 13 and older, in addition to a $1 activity fee for participants ages 5 and older. Call 915-857-1135 or 915-849-6684 for information and reservations.
Southwest May Be on Verge of Another Great Drought
An unprecedented combination of heat plus decades of drought could be in store for the Southwest sometime this century, suggests new research from a University of Arizona-led team. A 60-year drought like that of the 12th century could be in our future. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213151405.htm
Underwater Archaeologists Discover Frightening New Threat to Submerged Metals
The Halomonas titanicae bacterium was found in “rusticles”, the porous and delicate icicle-like structures that form on rusting iron. Various bacteria and fungi live within the delicate structures – first identified on the Titanic – actually feeding off the rusting metal. The find is described in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11926932
Thanks to Dan Garcia, Gerald Kelso, Brian Kreimendahl, and Adrianne Rankin for contributions to this week’s newsletter.