Market for Southwestern Antiquities Fading
It’s perfectly legal if the items come from private lands or from private collections predating federal antiquities law. Still, buyers at auction candidly say that they are worn down by government scrutiny and aren’t so keen on Ancestral Puebloan pieces. Ancient Southwestern pottery is still for sale and certified legal, but many say they don’t want to invite a hassle. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/50918714-78/says-auction-american-indian.html.csp
Another Blanding Looting Suspect Given Probation
A man who admitted to taking a bead from Native American ruins in San Juan County will not serve time in prison. U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart sentenced Brandon F. Laws to 24 months probation for a misdemeanor charge of trafficking in stolen artifacts Monday. Laws, 40, also must surrender all other tribal antiquities in his possession and is barred from visiting federal lands during his probation. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705363268/Blanding-man-gets-probation-in-Native-American-artifacts-theft-case.html?s_cid=rss-30
Archaeology Cafe (Tucson) – What Happened to the Mammoths?
Join the Center for Desert Archaeology at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson, Arizona, for Dr. Todd Surovell’s presentation of What Happened to the Mammoths? Pleistocene Extinctions in North America. Todd Surovell, an Associate Professor at the University of Wyoming, will answer the question, What Happened to the Mammoths? Approximately 13,000 years ago, North America lost more than 30 genera of Pleistocene megafauna, including mammoths, mastodons, camels, horses, and ground sloths. Debate continues as to the cause or causes of the extinctions, with the usual suspects being human hunting, climate change, disease, and even an extraterrestrial impact. In this presentation, Surovell will argue that only the overkill hypothesis—the idea that Pleistocene extinctions were driven by human predation of Ice Age mammals—can explain not only the North American extinction event, but also similar events worldwide. Our cafe program is free and open to the community—all are welcome. Seating is open and unreserved. Dress warmly; we may be seated on an outdoor patio with fireplace and heaters. https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/2010/08/31/what-happened-to-the-mammoths/
The Lost Story of Cosmos Mindeleff
To modern-day southwestern archaeologists, Cosmos Mindeleff is a rock star. But unlike a modern-day rock star, whose life is spent in the limelight and whose every move is documented in one fashion or another, Mindeleff’s life has remained a mystery. http://campverdebugleonline.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=29024
BLM and Mining Company Reach Agreement to Fund Preservation of Ancient Quarry in Nevada
Rodeo Creek Gold Inc. and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Elko District have reached a $1.5 million settlement that creates a special fund focused on the Tosawihi Quarries. Rodeo Creek Gold, a subsidiary of Great Basin Gold Ltd., will contribute the money over a 10-year period for the fund designated for the protection and preservation of the Tosawihi Quarry Archaeological District. Officials said it may be a record-setting agreement for the Elko BLM district and a precedent-setting agreement for the BLM and a mining company. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/dec/24/nv-tosawihi-quarries/
Pueblo County, CO, Seeks Federal Help Preserve Pinon Canyon
Pueblo County commissioners sent a letter this week to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, asking the little-known federal agency to intervene and oppose the Army in conducting further training at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. The maneuvers endanger historic artifacts on the 238,000-acre range northeast of Trinidad, says the letter, approved Thursday. The Army’s use of Pinon Canyon has “demonstrated a pattern and practice of repeated violations of the National Historic Preservation Act,” it says. http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/article_882d27f6-0a68-11e0-b096-001cc4c002e0.html
Related Story – Concerns Grow About Low Altitude Military Training Impacts on Ancient Places in Southeastern Colorado and Northwestern New Mexico
The scoping comment letter also asked that the requested EIS consider impacts to housing structures and archeological sites in the planned LATN area. “The sound from aircraft activity can cause archaeological resources and structures to vibrate,” it stated. “It can also cause contemporary structures to vibrate and windowpanes to shatter.” http://trinidad-times.com/incoming-governor-downplays-concerns-about-military-flights-p1303-1.htm
Petroglyph Vandalism Continues
Petroglyph panels at Agua Fria National Monument have been damaged by white paint and obscenities scrawled on nearby boulders, the Bureau of Land Management said this week. Although the petroglyph site, about 2 miles east of Cordes Junction, was relatively accessible, the damaged panels were not, said monument manager Rem Hawes. http://www.azcentral.com/travel/articles/2010/12/17/20101217agua-fria-petroglyph-panels-vandalized.html
Looking at Ancient Big Horn Sheep Through Petroglyphs
Without question, the bighorn (Ovis canadensis) is the most imposing animal in the deserts of North America. Mature rams are known to attain weights in excess of 200 pounds and their massive curled horns seem almost fictional. Equally impressive is their remarkable agility on rocky terrain that covers their mountain habitat. Bighorn appear to escape gravity as they bound up hillsides and leap about canyon walls. These characteristics were not lost on American Indians who, in ancient times, scratched and painted the bighorn’s image on boulders and rock walls throughout the Southwest. These petroglyphs and pictographs depict bighorn in a variety of ways — sometimes in herds, sometimes alone. They were portrayed as hunted animals — targets of bows and arrows. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20101219/COLUMNS08/12180346/1067/LIFESTYLES11/Petroglyphs+depict+bighorn+history+and+lore
Large Parking Lot in Ventura, CA, to be Closed to Test for Mission Period Deposits
A large parking lot in downtown Ventura will close indefinitely next week so archaeologists can search for possible artifacts dating back to the mission era. The property is a few blocks from the historic San Buenaventura Mission, constructed in the late 1700s, and could be home to mission era walls or other remnants of the time, said Charlie Watling, managing partner of Ventura Downtown Properties III LLC, which owns the roughly 20,000-square-foot lot. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/dec/29/ventura-parking-lot-to-close-so-archeologists
Digging Through Layers of Time – Archaeological Expo to be Held in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 8, 2011
This free archaeology expo for youth covers crossroads in Texas history. Youth can follow the trail of Texas history through interactive exhibits at an archaeology expo on Saturday, Jan. 8 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Austin Hilton, 500 East 4th Street. The expo is part of the Society for Historical Archaeology’s annual conference and is suggested for youth ages 9 years and older. For more information about the Expo, please call 512 247-8497 or visit www.texasbeyondhistory.net for a sampling of archaeological sites in Texas. The Expo will feature interactive activities, including digging in a mock site, making cornhusk dolls, and learning from trash. From plantations to shipwrecks, forts and trails, participants will learn about the rich history of Texas that can be found from clues left behind by Indians, the Spanish, French and more. Exhibitors will also offer opportunities to participate in local archeological projects. Teachers and leaders for youth groups will receive a CD with data sheets and lessons based on the displays in the Expo. Recommended parking is at the City Lot on Red River between 3rd and 4th Streets.
Photography Event Highlights Hopi Farming as Arizona’s Original Slow Food Movement
An exhibit of historic Hopi photos circa 1890-1970 will be unveiled by the Hopi Natwani Coalition at a unique one day expo on Saturday January 22 at the Moenkopi Legacy Inn. They will focus on the heritage of dry farming that has been the staple of Hopi life on the mesas for a thousand years. The photo exhibit will remain on public display at the Legacy Inn for the coming year. This will be the first in a series of programs hosted by Moenkopi Legacy Inn & Suites and the Natwani Coalition. Workshops and tours to Village gardens, personal corn fields, and meals in Hopi homes will be offered throughout the year. http://www.travelvideo.tv/news/united-states-southwest/12-20-2010/hopi-food-farming-exhibition-arizonas-original-slow-food-farmers
Archaeology Magazine Lists Its Top Ten Archaeological Discoveries of 2010
Decades from now people may remember 2010 for the BP oil spill, the Tea Party, and the iPad. But for our money, it’s a lock people will still be excited about the year’s most remarkable archaeological discoveries, which we explore (along with one “undiscovery”) in the following pages. This was the year we learned that looters led archaeologists to spectacular and unparalleled royal tombs in both Turkey and Guatemala. An unexpected find brought us closer to Pocahontas, and an underwater archaeological survey in the high Canadian Arctic located the ill-fated HMS Investigator, abandoned in 1853. http://www.archaeology.org/1101/topten/
Arizona History Conference Announced
The Arizona History Convention will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn and Pivot Point Conference Center April 28-30, 2011. The venue is new and unique, located in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. Highlights of this year’s conference include: Workshops on archive recovery, historic preservation, and how to get article manuscripts published. The Sixth Annual McFarland Forum on “The Lower Colorado, Its Past, Present, and Future.” A dinner and reception at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, a former US Army distribution center that supplied all of the military posts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas.
Lecture Opportunity (Glendale)
The Agua Fria Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society is offering a free lecture on “The Renaissance of Archaeological Parks and Museums in Asia” on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 6:00 PM at the Glendale Public Library Auditorium, 5959 West Brown (south of Peoria Ave). Membership is not required. Roger Lidman, Director of Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix, will share his observations and show slides about archaeological parks and museums in Taiwan and South Korea. He recently returned from a visit to the area and noted that a number of institutions have opened there in the last ten years. For more information contact Sandy Haddock, (480) 481-0582.
Lecture Opportunity (Sierra Vista)
Southeast Arizona archaeology is some of the most important in the country. Join archaeologist Eric Kaldahl for an informative and free talk about important Native American and Spanish archaeological sites from ancient Clovis times through the Spanish Colonial period at 1 p.m., Jan. 15 at the Ethel Berger Center, 2950 E. Tacoma St. For more information, call 520-417-6980. – Sierra Vista Herald.
Lecture Opportunity (Tubac)
Ethnologist Dr. Bernard Fontana will give a presentation to the Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society on January 13, 2011, 7 PM, at the North County Facility at 50 Bridge Road in Tubac. His topic will be “Mission San Xavier del Bac, The White Dove of the Desert.” https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/sat/fontana-1-11.doc
Travelogue – 5 Great Places to See Southwestern Rock Art
I often hear people saying the U.S. has a short history. Actually it’s as ancient as anywhere else. Before the Europeans took over this land there were hundreds of Native American cultures living here. One of the most evocative reminders of their civilizations is the rock art of the American Southwest. Here are five good places to see some. http://www.gadling.com/2010/12/24/five-great-places-to-see-native-american-rock-art/
Travelogue – Skiing Mesa Verde
Looking down on Cliff Palace, pink sunset painting rounded tower walls, we are transported 800 years into the past. Smoke rises from square holes atop roofed kivas. Women labor over stone metates, grinding corn into meal. Laughter and strange, foreign syllables echo from the sandstone alcove that houses the largest ruin in Mesa Verde National Park. Snow covers the ground. http://www.newwest.net/snow_blog/article/skiing_through_time_in_the_four_corners/C458/L41/
Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl and Doug Kupel for contributions to this week’s issue of Southwest Archaeology Today
The Center for Desert Archaeology wishes you and yours a happy New Year.