Debate over World Heritage Sites Highlights How the Past Is Used in the Present
Right at the outset, ICAHM co-president Dr. Willem J.H. Willems of Leiden, Netherlands, put the core issue on the table. “Archaeology is the study of the past,” he said in his April 9 keynote, but “the past doesn’t exist anymore. Heritage is about the use of the past in the present.” And that’s where it gets interesting. And risky. Too many countries are rushing to use the past—their heritage sites—for present purposes. Willems sharply criticized the way that sites are proposed and awarded World Heritage inscription. According to the World Heritage Convention, an international treaty, sites should be awarded a place on the list based on solid scientific and academic reasoning. Not happening, said Willems. The World Heritage Committee has been approving too many applications based on economic and “radically political” expediency. http://worldheritagematters.blogspot.com/2012/04/archaeologists-blast-hasty-world.html
Memorial Service for Dave Breternitz
A memorial service for Dr. Breternitz been scheduled for June 1st, at 3:00 pm, at the auditorium in the Dove Creek High School, Dove Creek, Colorado. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center provides the following remembrance of one of southwestern archaeology’s most beloved and respected scholars. http://www.imakenews.com/crowcanyon1/e_article002396057.cfm
Visitor’s Center for Mesa Grande Opens This Fall
While the ancient Hohokam settled into villages across the Salt River Valley, it was a temple mound in present-day Mesa that they chose as one of their most important cultural centers. Generations of modern settlers recognized the value of the ruins and preserved the site, but an imposing wall has kept the public from learning the marvels surrounding the Mesa Grande platform and its builders. But the centuries-old story behind the ruins will finally emerge this fall, when a visitors center debuts and establishes the first regular access. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/mesa/article_6e874ef2-8b4b-11e1-88c1-0019bb2963f4.html
Arizona State Museum Scholars Explain What Happened to Artifacts from the Blanding Looting Raids
Operation Cerberus Action unfolded on June 10, 2009, when federal authorities arrested 24 people in the rugged Four Corners region of Arizona on charges of trafficking in stolen Native American artifacts. The investigation was aptly named: the two-year probe carried with it the specter of Cerberus, a mythical, multiheaded canine said to fiercely guard the underworld. The world that agents from the FBI and U.S. Bureau of Land Management uncovered was one of cutthroat artifact collectors and black marketeers who had plundered countless ancient sites, destroying the archaeological record and spiriting away precious antiquities. http://alumni.arizona.edu/communications/article/1068
KNAU Examines Betatakin
At Navajo National Monument up in northeast Arizona, soaring rock alcoves provided shelter for Pueblo people in the thirteenth century. Many alcoves also hold springs, lush with plants. Today on Land Lines, we visit a well-known site, Betatakin–set like a jewel in one of those alcoves. “The name for this place is Talastima, place of flowers, or corn tasseling. This is where we came from,” says Lloyd Masayumptewa, a Hopi and a park archaeologist. http://www.knau.org/post/land-lines-betatakin
The Southwest Is Said to Be Home to Some of the World’s Most Significant Examples of Ancient Art
The word comes from the Greek petra, meaning rock, and glyphe, meaning drawing or engraving. Far from being ancient graffiti, petroglyphs, according to archaeologist and rock-art expert David S. Whitley, are nothing less than windows onto the emergence of human creativity and religion. Among his Top 5 sites in the world where you can peer through those windows, Whitley singles out two in the United States. Right up there with the world-famous cave paintings of Lascaux, France, he puts Horseshoe Canyon in Utah and the Coso Rock Art District at, of all places, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in eastern California. http://www.cowboysindians.com/Cowboys-Indians/June-2012/Best-Of-The-West-2012-Petroglyphs/
Ancient Rock Art in Nevada Offers Opportunities to Visit Places of the Past
There’s a mystery to be solved in the Great Basin Desert. The clues date back thousands of years and are found in the form of petroglyphs and pictographs — rock art left by people living on the shores of Lake Lahontan, an ancient lake that once covered portions of northwest Nevada, northeast California and southern Oregon. Rock art can be found throughout Nevada, but a good place to start your exploration is seven miles east of Fallon at Grimes Point Archaeological Area and at nearby Hidden Cave. http://www.rgj.com/article/20120419/LIV08/304190024/Prehistoric-artists-left-mysterious-marks
New Mexico Historic Preservation Conference Scheduled for May 3 to May 5
The annual statewide preservation conference is happening here in Santa Fe! We would love to see you there, at the La Posada Spa & Resort, for this special, centennial year event. Take a look at our website: www.nmheritage.org, where, under the Conference Tab, you’ll find all of the information including registration form–which must be printed out and mailed/emailed–as well as the preliminary program for the event. On Saturday we will hold our Awards Banquet at La Posada–and it is open to the public as well as members. Baker Morrow, noted New Mexico Landscape Architect and professor at UNM as well as author and recipient of the 2008 NMHPA Stewart L. Udall Cultural Landscape Preservation Award, will be our key note speaker. He will be speaking about Cabeza de Vaca’s mesmerizing life after his North American ordeal–“Whatever Happened to Cabeza de Vaca?” Prior to the event he will be signing his new book, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, The South American Expeditions, 1540-1545 at the No Host Bar & Social Hour. Need additional information? Email us at email@example.com.
Lecture Opportunity – Cortez, CO
The Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society is pleased to present Dr. Scott Ortman on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 PM at the Cortez Cultural Center to discuss the mysteries of the abandonment of the Mesa Verde area and the formation of the Rio Grande pueblos. Scott poses solutions to these classic problems in his new book Winds from the North: Resolving One of the Great Mysteries in American Archaeology. Despite a century of research, there is no consensus amongst researchers on how, or even if, these two events are related. Scott is currently an Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, the Lightfoot Fellow at Crow Canyon archaeological Center and holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Arizona State University. Contact Bob Bernhart @ 970-739-6772 with questions about this, or any, program.
Lecture Opportunity – El Paso
Join us for the Growing Up at Hueco Tanks slideshow presentation from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 5 at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, 6900 Hueco Tanks Road #1, El Paso, TX 79938. Irma Escontrias-Sanchez, Granddaughter of Silverio and Pilar Escontrias, will give a slideshow talk on Escontrias family history in the park’s outdoor amphitheater. The Escontrias family ranched at Hueco Tanks from 1898 to 1956. Participants should dress for cool weather. Reservations are required. There will be a $2 fee for participants ages 5 and above. Call 915-857-1135 or 915-849-6684 for information and reservations.
Lecture Opportunity – Santa Fe
On April 30 Adriel Heisey – Aerial Photographer, Pilot, and Author of In the Fifth World: Portrait of the Navajo Nation; Under the Sun: A Sonoran Desert Odyssey; From Above, Images of a Storied Land. Adriel will present The Rio Grande from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. Lectures presented at 6pm at Hotel Santa Fe by Southwest Seminars as part of the annual Ancient Sites Ancient Stories II Lecture Series to honor and acknowledge the important work of The Archaeological Conservancy. $12 at the door. 505 466-2775
Lecture Opportunity – Sedona
The Annual Verde Valley Distinguished Speaker Series is co-hosted by the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society. The distinguished speaker this year is Dr. William Lipe who will speak on Tuesday, April 24 the Glen Canyon Project — the archaeology before the filling of Lake Powell. The free talk will be at the Sedona Creative Life Center, 333 Schnebly Hill Road, in Sedona, beginning at 7:00 PM. William D. Lipe is an archaeologist with expertise in the North American Southwest, archaeological method and theory, and cultural resource management.
Lecture Opportunity – Tucson
On Saturday May 5, 2012, archaeologist Allen Dart will present Archaeology and Cultures of Arizona” at Pima County Public Library’s Woods Memorial Branch, 3455 N. First Ave., Tucson. 2 to 4 p.m. Dart will summarize and interpret the archaeology of Arizona from the earliest “Paleoindians” through Archaic period hunters and foragers, the transition to true village life, and the later prehistoric archaeological cultures (Puebloan, Mogollon, Sinagua, Hohokam, Salado, and Patayan). Discussion also covers connections between archaeology and history, and an overview of the Native American, European, Mexican, African, and Asian peoples who have formed our state’s more recent history. For event details contact Librarian Sarah Batchelder at Tucson telephone 520-594-5445 ext 3 or Sarah.Batchelder@pima.gov; for information about the presentation subject matter contact Allen Dart at Tucson telephone 520-798-1201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayan Archaeology and the International Archaeological Film Festival Are the Latest Topics on the Archaeology Channel
In the latest installment of the Video News from TAC, we present a description of the last monument erected at a Mayan city, highlight ongoing field research at a long-occupied prehistoric site in Florida, and conclude our preview series of film clips from the upcoming ninth installment of The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival. See these stories in the April 2012 edition of this monthly half-hour show, available now on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel (http://www.
Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl for contributions to this week’s newsletter.