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Burning Down the (Pit) House

How to Protect Our National Monuments

Bears Ears and Monument Reviews

The Antiquities Act Is Challenged

International Tourism at Places Such As Mesa Verde in Decline


Did Ancient Southwestern Peoples Trade Turquoise for Chocolate?

Like Turquoise for Chocolate?
Talk about a sweet deal—prehistoric peoples of Mesoamerica may have traded chocolate for gems from the U.S. Southwest, a new study suggests. Traces of a chemical found in cacao—the main ingredient in chocolate—were found in several drinking vessels from various sites in Pueblo Bonito, a complex of sandstone “great houses” in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Ancestral Puebloan peoples built the complex, the epicenter of the ancient Chaco culture, in stages between A.D. 850 and 1150. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110329-chocolate-turquoise-trade-prehistoric-peoples-archaeology/

Save America’s Treasures Program is Victim of Budget Cuts
One of the first victims of Washington’s new tough-on-spending culture is a historic preservation program that saved the flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner” and preserved thousands of other fragile national treasures. A pet cause of then-first lady Hillary Clinton, “Save America’s Treasures” began in ’98 as a way to safeguard historical documents, films and artifacts such as the Montgomery, Ala., bus in which civil rights icon Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger. It died this month, the victim of raids by lawmakers who hijacked it to fund their own pet projects. http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/SE/20110331/NEWS/103310339

Michael Collins Discusses New Potential Pre-Clovis Finds on NPR’s Science Friday
When and how did humans first arrive in the Americas? For years, scientists have thought the first travelers arrived here at the end of the last ice age, somewhere around 13,000 years ago. And they got here by wandering over a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska. But now a new discovery of stone chippings and blades has some scientists rethinking when the settlers first set foot in the Americas because this new cache of stone tools from Texas predates the Clovis period by thousands of years, suggesting that people were here as long ago as 15,000 years ago. That’s about 2,500 years earlier than we thought.  http://www.npr.org/2011/03/25/134855884/Hunting-For-Traces-Of-Americas-First-Inhabitants?ft=1&f=1007

Did Ancient Tewa Peoples Seek a More Balanced Way of Life After Mesa Verde?
Scott Ortman is standing among the ruins of Arroyo Hondo Pueblo south of Santa Fe, explaining how the bits of broken pottery collected here aren’t just pretty relics of days gone by — they’re clues suggesting that people came here 700 years ago looking for a change and an escape from the status quo. http://www.santafenewmexican.com/local%20news/Tewa-sought-life-of-equality-in-N-M-

Archaeology Cafe (Tucson)
Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5, at 6 pm at Tucson’s Casa Vicente as Archaeology Café moderator Douglas Gann and National Park Service archaeologist Steve Baumann will share the ways that laser-based 3d modeling or LIDAR is being used to document the incredible inscriptions at El Morro National Monument. The Center for Desert Archaeology has partnered with the National Park Service in a multi-year study to examine the effectiveness of digital laser scanning (also known as LIDAR scanning) of stone inscriptions at El Morro National Monument. https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/2010/08/28/paso-por-aqui-with-lasers/

Archaeology May Provide Unique Perspectives on Climate Change
New Mexico State University researchers are combining forces with the Caada Alamosa Project, a joint project of the O’Toole’s nonprofit organization, the Ca ada Alamosa Institute; and a Las Cruces nonprofit group, Human Systems Research, Inc., to unearth the pieces left behind that will help shed light on the American Indians who lived on the land, and when and why they left.  “Archaeology – and its related studies – gives us the largest record we have of human interaction and reaction to a changing environment,” said Karl Laumbach, archaeologist with Human Systems Research, Inc. “There is not another record that will give you that. That is why it is so important.”

Tohono O’odham Rebury Human Remains and Fear More Excavations
The Tohono O’odham Nation will soon rebury the remains of nearly 200 of their ancestors, dug up in the late 1970s and early ‘80s by teams of archaeologists working on what was then known as the Anamax-Rosemont site. They fear further disturbance of their ancestors’ graves if permission is given to Rosemont Copper to dig an open-pit copper mine in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains – an area rich with archaeological evidence of Hohokam and other settlements. http://indiancountrynews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6681&Itemid=108

Little Known Museum Shares the Story of “Folsom Man”
Two of 75 souls who live in Folsom, New Mexico, are strolling into the tiny post office across the highway from a row of ancient, empty storefronts on a recent mid-March day. The sun is shining on range lands that are too dry too early. No vehicles are moving at this convergence of three two-lane highways that go to places you probably never heard of. This town has no store, no cafe, no gas station. http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/how_a_new_mexico_find_revolutionized_archaeology/C41/L41/

Crow Canyon Researching Puebloan Origins
The majestic remains of Mesa Verde stand as icons to the legacy of the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest. Anyone visiting them or the many other Pueblo sites that dot the picturesque desert landscape of the American Four Corners region and the southwestern states cannot help but walk away impressed. But who really built them, where did they come from, and what is their story? http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/april-2011/article/archaeologists-investigate-origins-of-great-pueblos-of-american-southwest

Albuquerque Church Listed on National Register
A church that’s a landmark in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill neighborhood is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The state Historic Preservation Division made the announcement this week. http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/03/albuquerque-church-listed-national-register

Saving a State Park Has Many Benefits
Attendance is up at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, and a wide range of attractions and improvements have been added since local residents took over operation from the state a year ago. The gift shop has new items and the park’s walking tour is easier with new signage and a guidebook. After avoiding being shuttered and abandoned behind a chain link fence, and after nearly a year of park management by a volunteer organization, results are impressive.  http://www.gvnews.com/news/article_47a27642-5da5-11e0-aa55-001cc4c03286.html

Lecture Opportunity (Cortez)
The Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society is pleased to present Marcie Ryan to discuss local geology in a talk entitled Between a Rock and a Hard Place:  Telluride’s Regional Geology on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 PM at the Cortez Cultural Center, 25 North Market Street, Cortez, CO.  In her discussion, Ms Ryan will focus on Telluride’s awesome scenery as a function of past and present geologic processes.  This discussion should enhance your appreciation of the spectacular local scenery we all enjoy. Ryan is a  geomorphologist (one who studies the arrangement and form of the Earth’s crust and of the relationship between these physical features and the geologic structures beneath) and lived and worked in Telluride for twenty years.  Questions welcome.  Contact Bob Bernhart @ 970-739-6772 with questions about the program. 

Lecture Opportunity (Tubac)
Archaeologist Dr. Eric Eugene Klucas will give a presentation to the Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society on April 14, 2011, 7 PM, at the North County Facility at 50 Bridge Road in Tubac.  This program is free to the public. The Santa Cruz Valley AAS chapter meets the second Thursday of each month.

Little Big Horn Artifacts and Documents Moving to Tucson
The National Park Service said it will remove thousands of historic objects and records from Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.Park Service officials Tuesday said the items will be kept in a storage facility in Tuscon, Arizona. Officials said the move is temporary until a more secure and permanent repository is established at the battlefield. http://www.kulr8.com/news/local/Park-Service-to-move-Little-Bighorn-records-to-AZ-118907239.html
Impressive Mexica Carved Monoliths Available for Online Browsing
INAH’s web page now offers details of 3 emblematic Mexica sculptures: Coyolxauhqui, Tlaltecuhtli and the Sun Stone (Piedra del Sol) can be admired on-line in an interactive site created by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).  The site named Historia en piedra. Tres monolitos Mexicas (History in Stone. Three Mexica Monoliths), presents high resolution images, video and animation that illustrate studies conducted by INAH specialists dedicated to archaeology and restoration.  http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=46036
Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl for contributing to this week’s issue of Southwest Archaeology Today.
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