New Craig Childs’ Essay Examines Looters, Collectors, Museums, and Archaeologists
Human bones lie bleached and scattered, a ribcage stove in here, shoulder and arm bones over there. It looks as if a war was waged between armies of skeletons in this remote canyon south of the Arizona border. All these bones were once in the ground, but then artifact-hungry diggers came and upended the graves. I came to northern Mexico thinking that archaeological sites down here would be less ravaged than those in my home territory around Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. I was partly right. The wilderness of Chihuahua and Sonora looks the way the rest of the Southwest did 40 years ago, a time when pothunting was in full swing but before the majority of sites were looted beyond recognition. North of the border, even these bones would have been taken, put on shelves or sold in curio shops. http://www.hcn.org/issues/369/17663#1303689632008041
Groundbreaking for New Home for University of Arizona Tree Ring Laboratory to be Held this Tuesday
After 75 years in “temporary quarters” under the University of Arizona’s football stadium, the world’s first laboratory dedicated to tree-ring research will have a new home. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Bryant Bannister Tree-Ring Building, named for the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research’s director emeritus, will be held on Tuesday, May 3 at 11 a.m. at the UA Highlands Commons. Attendance at the ceremony is by invitation only but is open to the media. http://uanews.org/node/39509
Colorado State University Fort Collins Anthropology Program Receives One Million Dollar Gift for Studies of Mountain Cultures and Enviroments
CSU’s Department of Anthropology has received a $1 million gift to study the role that Native Americans played in forming the cultural and ecological landscapes of the southern Rocky Mountains.The gift, which establishes the James and Audrey Benedict Mountain Archaeology Fund on the Fort Collins campus, also will help train a new generation of Colorado State University students as archaeologists by allowing for exploration of new mountain ranges in alpine country, one of the least understood cultural environments. http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20110428/UPDATES01/110428012/1002/rss
National Plans for Renewable Energy Production Presume that Cultural Heritage will be Expendable
From the front yard of his modest home in a quiet neighborhood in Blythe, Alfredo Acosta Figueroa turns his gaze to the northwest, to the Big and Little Maria and McCoy mountains rising out of flat desert. “You can see the creation story all around in these mountains,” said Figueroa, 73. The longtime Chicano activist and descendent of Chemehuevi and Yaqui Native American tribes unflinchingly finds himself at the center of a storm — a legal battle threatening to derail the state and federal governments’ multi-billion-dollar solar energy development plan for the California desert. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110424/NEWS07/104240322/Tribes-Solar-projects-tread-sacred-Indian-grounds?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Frontpage|s
Man who Volunteered to Monitor Archaeological Sites Sentenced to Six Month Jail Term for Stealing Petroglyph
A Nevada man has been sentenced to six months in federal prison for moving a 300-pound ancient rock art petroglyph from the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area to his Pahrump front yard. http://www.kmvt.com/news/regional/Nevada-man-gets-6-months-in-ancient-rock-art-theft-119943129.html
May is Colorado Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month
During May, communities across the state will host events honoring Colorado’s rich past during the annual Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month. This year’s theme is “Participate in Preservation,” and the entire month will feature plenty of free or modestly priced tours, exhibits, lectures, displays and events. http://www.gazette.com/travel/preservation-117165-historic-state.html
Anasazi Heritage Center Celebrates Colorado Archaeology Month with Tours, Lectures, and Free Admission Day Events
The Bureau of Land Management Anasazi Heritage Center invites local history buffs to help celebrate Colorado Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month with lectures, free admission days, and tours of the
museum’s stored collections. https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/sat/ahc_c_arch_month.pdf
Travelogue – Mesa Verde makes Learning Fun
The kids are climbing up a 32 foot ladder, squeezing through a tunnel, walking in toe holds carved into the sandstone. They’re having a blast and learning a little archeology, Native American culture and ancient history as they go. Who says learning can’t be fun? We’re at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, the nation’s largest archeological preserve with some 4,000 known archeological sites including 600 cliff dwellings where the Ancestral Pueblo people lived some 700 years ago. “This is a different kind of national park,”‘ Ranger Allison Langston tells our group. “Many national parks preserve national resources. Here we’re preserving cultural resources.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eileen-ogintz/mesa-verde-national-park_b_853422.html
National Register Watch
Congratulations to the Bisbee Residential Historic District, and Maricopa County’s Eisendrath Rose House for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. A special note of thanks and congratulations is also extended to the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center for their successful listing of B-29 #45-21847 (currently located 200 feet blow the surface of Lake Mead) on the National Register.
Lecture Opportunity (Irvine CA)
The Pacific Coast Archaeological Society’s May 12 meeting will feature Dr. Mark Q. Sutton speaking on “The Takic Expansions and a New Interpretation of Southern California Prehistory.” Meeting information: Thursday, May 12, 7:30 pm at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Avenue, Irvine, CA. Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information see http://www.pcas.org
A Number of New Offerings on the Archaeology Channel
The disappearing hutong neighborhoods of Beijing, a video tribute to Dr. Donny George and film festival clips are just the latest offerings of a new online and TV program offered to you by ALI. This batch of stories comprises the April 2011 edition of the Video News from TAC, available now on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel http://www.archaeologychannel.org as well as on cable TV in cities across the US.
Thanks to Gerald Kelso for contributing to this week’s issue of Southwest Archaeology Today.