Animal Rights Groups Claim Wild Horses Are a Species Native to North America
Animal rights groups are pressing a case in federal court maintaining that wild horses roamed the West about 1.5 million years ago and didn’t disappear until as recently as 7,600 years ago. More important, they say, a growing stockpile of DNA evidence shows conclusively that today’s horses are genetically linked to those ancient ancestors. The new way of thinking, if accepted, could affect hundreds millions of acres in the West where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management divides livestock grazing allotments based partly on the belief that the horses are no more native to those lands than are the cattle brought to North America centuries ago. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/06/wild-horses-nevada-blm-native-species.html
California Looting Case Highlights Problems with the Prosecution of Those Who Have Robbed Ancient Graves
A local man has been caught digging for Native American artifacts near Lone Pine and, through a plea agreement, is now banned for life from entering certain lands in that area. However, this is reportedly just one of 30-40 acts of looting allegedly committed by Norman E. Starks of Lone Pine. Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Reservation Tribal Preservation Officer Kathy Bancroft said that Starks has been seen digging in other areas since the January 2011 court decision. Starks could not be reached for comment. http://www.inyoregister.com/node/1464
Observe the Solstice from an Ancient Vantage Point at Salmon Pueblo
The public is invited to view Summer Solstice as it breaks into Salmon Pueblo on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Meet with Executive Director Larry Baker and Brooks Marshall to witness the solstice event at the Salmon Ruins Observatory, which is located in an interior room. Share in this unique phenomenon and an informative discussion of the research that revealed this solar and lunar observation feature as it was discovered in 2008. This event is free to the public. Participants should meet at the Salmon Ruins Museum parking lot at 7am. The program conclusion is scheduled for 8am.
Government Accountability Office Finds Smithsonian “Has a Long Way to Go” to Achieve Repatriation Compliance
Since the NMAI Act was enacted, in 1989, more than 21 years ago, the Smithsonian has offered to repatriate over 5,000 human remains, which account for approximately one-third of the total estimated human remains in its collections. The Smithsonian has also offered to repatriate over 212,000 funerary objects, but the extent of progress is unknown because the Smithsonian has no reliable estimate of the total number of such objects in its collections. http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11515high.pdf
Bison Bones Help to Illuminate Ancient Life in Texas
Deep in the Chihuahuan Desert not far from the Mexico border, archeologists are busy digging up the first bison bones ever found in this remote area of Texas, which they hope will shed light on the little-understood lives of the inhabitants of the region in prehistoric times. The discovery in the Nature Conservancy’s Independence Creek Preserve is considered significant because it came at a place where two very different cultures lived in close proximity. http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_18254117?source=rss
Guided Backcountry Hikes in the Mesa Verde Region Now Available
Mesa Verde National Park joins with its partner, the nonprofit Mesa Verde Institute, to provide visitors with new opportunities and experiences in the park for the summer of 2011. These ranger-guided hikes include a two-hour hike to Oak Tree House/Fire Temple, a two-hour hike to Square Tower House, and a day-long hike to Spring House. These spectacular Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings are not normally open to the public and represent a rare opportunity for participants to visit these archeological sites in small groups for reasonable fees. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/6/prweb8560330.htm
Follow Our Research Blog from the Center for Desert Archaeology and University of Arizona Field School in Preservation Archaeology
Thanks to Terry Colvin, Gerald Kelso, and Brian Kreimendahl for contributions to this week’s issue of Southwest Archaeology Today.