Peabody Coal, the Black Mesa Archaeological Project, and Repatriation Problems
In 1967 Peabody Energy needed to clear land it was leasing on the Navajo reservation to strip mine coal, but ancient Indian dwellings and graves were in the way. So, as required by law, it hired a team of archeologists and they dug up roughly 1.3 million Navajo, Hopi and ancient Anasazi artifacts – including the remains of 200 Native Americans – which have been warehoused at two universities ever since. The warehousing of human remains is a particular affront to many Navajos and Hopis, who believe the spirits of their ancestors cannot rest until their bones are properly buried. “Digging them up was a violation of natural laws. They were never meant to be in a museum,” Norris Nez, a Navajo medicine man, said through a translator. http://bit.ly/1exRFNZ – High Country News
Colorado Sets Aside Public Lands for Repatriation of Native Remains
After years in limbo, hundreds of Native Americans’ remains will be going home. On Friday, state and federal officials joined tribal representatives at the State Capitol to sign a “Memorandum of Understanding” allowing for human remains housed in various museums and universities to be re-interred on public lands in Colorado. “These are people’s remains that we honor, by finding a place to bury them that is appropriate,” said Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, who oversees Colorado’s Commission of Indian Affairs, at the December 13 ceremony. http://bit.ly/JStkV1 – Denver Westwood
There Is Still Time to Support the SAT Newsletter
Thanks to our generous donors, we are well on our way to this year’s goal of funding Southwest Archaeology Today. We know there is no shortage of archaeological news available through a variety of social media channels, but we hope you will agree that the SAT newsletter continues to serve an important and unique service in keeping the southwestern archaeology community informed and connected. Your tax-deductible donation can help ensure that this free service continues through the new year.
http://bit.ly/JTcSUB – Archaeology Southwest
The Pueblo Pintado Chapter – A Gateway to Chaco Canyon
Many Navajo chapters have the look of places that have seen better days. Pueblo Pintado’s best days may have been around 1000 A.D. The 10-year-old Tsé Yi’ Gai High School and the even newer, LEED-certified community school are impressive, much-needed structures. But they pale in comparison to the Chacoan great house that sternly observes them from a nearby hill. From a distance, the ruin of Pueblo Pintado (“Painted Village” in Spanish) has a monolithic, Stone Henge-like quality. Upon closer inspection, you can see it was a huge, three-story complex of square rooms and round kivas, beautifully built of large and small sandstone slabs. http://bit.ly/1icnFb8 – Navajo Times
Southwestern Archaeology Community Defends Local Heritage from “Diggers”
In the first week of December, the archaeological community caught news that the National Geographic Channel’s “Diggers” was slated to film an episode in southern Arizona, and they did not hesitate to use this opportunity to continue the protests against the show and others like it. By banding together, archaeologists on the local level made a direct impact on the filming of the show. In a wonderful display of community action, archaeologists, historians, museum curators, government officials, and other cultural resource stewards made phone calls and wrote letters in an attempt to prevent the Diggers program to continue the plans to film. http://bit.ly/1c0JxOh – Archaeological Conservancy
Leave the Ruins Alone
Scattered about these ruins still lie broken pieces of painted pottery, chert flakes from which stone tools were made and corncobs filling granaries where the last dwellers left them. Under the dirt sleep the dead who made this world cohere. Yet no prehistoric sites in the United States are more fragile and vulnerable. A century and a half of looting and vandalism has severely damaged such monumental villages as Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde and the cave dwellings of Bandelier National Monument. By now, all that saves the still-pristine sites such as the one on the Navajo reservation is their obscurity and the difficulty of getting to them. With my fellow aficionados of the canyon country, I adhere to a rigid ethic: When you visit the ruins and rock art, disturb nothing, and if you write about them, be deliberately vague about where they are. http://nyti.ms/1c0rBql – New York Times
Gender and Ceramic Production Is the Topic for Tucson’s Next Archaeology Café
What do we really know about who was making pots in the Southwest in the distant past? On January 14th, (a week later than the usual cafe gatherings) ceramics experts Patrick Lyons and Suzanne Eckert provide some perspectives on what we know from the archaeological record, what we think we know through ethnographic analogy, and what we see cross-culturally in terms of gender and craft production, in the context of different scales of economic complexity. We gather after 5:00 p.m., and presentations begin by 6:15 p.m. Seating is open and unreserved, but limited. Share tables and make new friends!
Manhattan Project National Park Proposal Rejected
Hopes that the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act would become law this year were dashed when the U.S. Senate rejected a House of Representatives amendment attaching the bill to the National Defense Authorization Act. The House amendment passed in June, but was not included in the final text of the defense bill released late Tuesday night. http://bit.ly/1icpeFU – Los Alamos Monitor
Hayden Student Paper Competition Entries Due January 13
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and Arizona Archaeological Council sponor an annual Julian D. Hayden Student Paper Competition, named in honor of long-time southwestern scholar Julian Dodge Hayden. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $750 and publication of the paper in Kiva, The Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History. The competition is open to any bona fide undergraduate and graduate student at any recognized college or university. Co-authored papers will be accepted if all authors are students. Subject matter may include the anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics, and ethnology of the American Southwest and northern Mexico, or any other topic appropriate for publication in Kiva. http://bit.ly/195IpaS – Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society
Aztec Ruins Gains Support for Promoting World Heritage Site Status
This fall, Aztec Ruins National Monument received an $8,000 grant to better market its stature as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lauren Blacik, an Aztec Ruins park ranger, last week led an all-day meeting at City Hall for more than 20 members of the National Park Service, tourism officials and marketing specialists to brainstorm ways in which Aztec’s national park could improve its reach through improved marketing techniques. http://bit.ly/1dwkTrj – Farmington Daily Times
Lecture Opportunity – Cave Creek
On Jan 8 at 7:00 PM, The Desert Foothills Chapter of Arizona Archaeology Society will present featured speakers are Eric Polingyouma and Lance Polingyouma. Eric is the last of the highly respected Hopi “Blue Bird” clan. He is responsible for carrying on Hopi oral histories and an evolving migration story. Eric spent a large portion of his life examining and discovering migration paths from areas near or around Guatemala and Oaxaca. This often entails seeking shared symbolic traditions or possible Hopi clan symbols during his travels. Eric is director of the Hopi Migration Project, a program that brings the oral traditions of the Hopi to a general audience. Lance is the project recorder for the Hopi Migration Project. One of his tasks is translating oral histories into a more tangible format. He is a member of the Hopi “Sun” clan. The meeting is free to the public and will be held in the community room of the Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331 (near Dairy Queen).
Thanks to Brian Kreimendahl for contributions to this week’s newsletter.