Ritual Racing on Perry Mesa Is the Topic of Archaeology Southwest’s next Archaeology Café in Phoenix
On March 17, 2015, Will Russell (Arizona State University) will discuss ritual racing and the Perry Mesa Tradition. We meet in the Aztec Room of Macayo’s Central, 4001 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, near the Indian School light rail stop. Presentations begin after 6:00 p.m. It is best to arrive at about 5:30 p.m. in order to get settled, as seating is open and unreserved, but limited. Archaeology Café is free, but guests are encouraged to order their own refreshments from the menu. http://bit.ly/1BuqQEn – Archaeology Southwest
Can the Archaeology of Cedar Mesa Be Saved?
Many of us take credit for discovering the magic and wonder of Cedar Mesa, convinced it was vastly unexplored when we showed up. In some eyes, it still is a wonderland. But word of mouth and the Internet have hastened the end of its waning anonymity. Innumerable blogs and YouTube videos illustrate the area’s remote canyons and ruins and often tell you how to get there. To a growing cadre of Southeast Utah lovers, the situation no longer is tenable. http://bit.ly/1Eu325C – Durango Herald
Possible Pre-Clovis Stone Tool Found in Oregon
Archaeologists have uncovered a stone tool at an ancient rock shelter in the high desert of eastern Oregon that could turn out to be older than any known site of human occupation in western North America. The find was announced Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which controls the land on which the site was found. University of Oregon archaeologist Patrick O’Grady, who supervises the dig, says the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter outside Riley has not been fully excavated. But the tool, a hand-held scraper chipped from a piece of orange agate not normally found in eastern Oregon, was found about 8 inches (10 centimeters) below a layer of volcanic ash from an eruption of Mount St. Helens that has been dated to 15,800 years ago. The depth was about 12 feet (3.7 meters) below the surface. http://nbcnews.to/1wSoPBS – Associated Press via NBC News
How Old Is the Site of Earliest Human Presence in the Americas?
Editor’s note: The “what is the earliest pre-Clovis site” question seems to be continually addressed in the popular media, but the query is seldom presented with enough context and thoughtful analysis to place individual finds, as in the story above, into proper context. If you are interested in digging deeper on the topic, I recommend watching Frison Institute Director Todd Surovell’s January presentation at Archaeology Southwest’s Archaeology Café. Watch When the New World Was Colonized? via YouTube at http://bit.ly/1MiXXfU – Archaeology Southwest via YouTube
Chaco Canyon: So Much to Learn, So Much to Lose
In the fall equinox, at the tail end of monsoon season two years ago, dense, dark clouds rumbled into a quadrant of northern New Mexico’s pale blue sky. Above the two- and three-story ruins at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the skies were still bright. But the clouds, followed by virga and then by rain, meant the long drive out—14 of the 20 miles back to the highway are unpaved—would be a tricky one. Until then, we would watch the sky. And walk among the remains of the people who dwelled here in the San Juan Basin during ancient times. Between AD 850 and 1250, thousands lived in Chaco Canyon. They built deep, round kivas underground and monumentally tall structures, with sandstone pieces so elaborately chinked and fitted together that mud mortar has kept them standing for centuries. http://bit.ly/1C0U2og – Santa Fe Reporter
Mark Varien Recounts How the Past Informs the Present
Between Mesa Verde National Park and Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park and the Canyons of the Ancients and Chimney Rock National Monuments, it’s no secret the Four Corners is an archaeological treasure trove. Just how much of a treasure was the subject of a lecture Thursday evening at Fort Lewis College by Mark Varien, executive vice president of Crow Canyon Institute, as part of the Professional Associates’ Lifelong Learning Series. http://bit.ly/1x7LJ2G – Durango Herald
Jerry Howard on the Hohokam of the Phoenix Basin
It’s not what you’d expect to find sandwiched between a hospital, parking lot and condos. But right smack in the middle of north Mesa is a piece of prehistoric history. “We’re a little island against the urban sprawl here,” laughed Dr. Jerry Howard, archaeologist and the head Curator of Anthropology at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. http://bit.ly/1x7OPUl – Arizona Republic
Archaeology with Drones Starting to Reveal a Clearer Picture of the Archaeological Record
Beneath the barren New Mexican desert, there are remnants of an ancient Pueblo society that thrived some 1,000 years ago. John Kantner, an archaeologist from the University of North Florida, has surveyed the red sands for 20 years in search of ancient religious structures called kivas. Similar to small family chapels, kivas were circular rooms where members of the Chaco group went to perform ceremonies and rituals. Located under the household (sic), the small spaces were buried and filled with soil as centuries passed. http://theatln.tc/1DZY3Ex – The Atlantic
Excavation of California Channel Island’s “Lone Woman Cave” Halted
For months they worked together to reveal details of the cave where the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island may have lived, painstakingly removing bucket after bucket of sand — 40,000 in all. Navy archaeologist Steve Schwartz, who was helping lead the project, was impressed by one of the Cal State L.A. students taking part in the high-profile dig: Tom Holm, a filmmaker who was eager to weave the team’s archaeology lessons into a documentary based on the work. http://lat.ms/1GwkDux – LA Times
One of Tucson’s Main Streets is the Old Road to the Casa Grande
The street known today as West Miracle Mile began its life as the Casa Grande Road because it was the starting point from Tucson for people heading to the town of Casa Grande. The Casa Grande Valley, situated between the Gila and Santa Cruz rivers, was inhabited by Native Americans long before Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World. By 300 A.D., the Hohokam Indians built irrigation canals and planted crops including beans, corn, quash, tobacco and cotton. http://bit.ly/1A9Jg8Z – Arizona Daily Star
Event Opportunity – Coolidge
Mark your calendars and join Casa Grande Ruins National Monument for an exciting upcoming event. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument will provide a fun-filled day of hands-on archaeology activities for children and adults. Visitors can try their hands creating their own petroglyph, play traditional games, and more. Demonstrations and hands on activities will include flintknapping, traditional Native American calendar-stick and other games on the ground, coloring artifacts on coloring pages, grinding corn using an ancient metate and mano, and practicing bopping bunnies with rabbit-throwing-sticks. Visitors will also learn how to make their own petroglyphs, hand-built pottery, stone jewelry, cordage and agave rope, split-twig-figurines, and dance rattles that they may take home.
Lecture Opportunity – Montrose, CO
As part of the Chipeta Archaeological Society Lecture Series, we are pleased to present Dr.Carol Patterson on Wednesday, March 18th at 7:00 PM at the Baldridge Hall / Montrose United Methodist Church, S.1st Street and Park Avenue, Montrose, Colorado to discuss Cultural Affiliations with the Rock Art of the Colorado Plateau during the Formative through Historic Era. Dr. Patterson explores the cultural affiliation of three different Native American groups represented in the rock art of the Colorado Plateau We are a member of the Colorado Archaeological Society and our Lectures are free and open to the public. Contact Dr. Carol Patterson @ 970-252-8679 with questions about this, or any other program. http://bit.ly/1zszIrF – Chipeta Archaeological Society
Lecture Date Correction – Santa Fe
The Santa Fe Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America will present, on Tuesday, March 10th, a lecture by John Bailey from the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. The lecture will begin at 7:30 pm in the back room of the Pecos Trail Cafe. Contact Diane Lenssen @ 505-6704001 or Tim Maxwell @ 505-820-1299 with questions. http://bit.ly/1vZQsn4 – SFAS
Lecture Opportunity – Santa Fe
Southwest Seminars presents archaeologist Dr. Maxine E. McBrinn (changed from previously announced speaker, Dr. Patricia Wright) who will give the lecture Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and its Meaning on March 9 at 6pm at Hotel Santa Fe as part of the Ancient Sites Ancient Stories Lecture Series held to honor Picuris Pueblo. Admission is by subscription or $12 at the door. No reservations but seating is limited. Refreshments are served. Contact Connie Eichstaedt at 505 466-2775; email: southwest firstname.lastname@example.org http://bit.ly/YhJddr – Southwest Seminars
Lecture Opportunity – Santa Fe
Southwest Seminars presents archaeologist David Grant Noble, who will give the lecture Living the Ancient Southwest on March 16 at 6pm at Hotel Santa Fe as part of the annual Ancient Sites Ancient Stories II Lecture Series held annually to honor The Archaeological Conservancy. Admission is by subscription or $12 at the door. No reservations but seating is limited. Refreshments are served. Contact Connie Eichstaedt at 505 466-2775; email: southwest email@example.com http://bit.ly/YhJddr – Southwest Seminars
Lecture Opportunity – Tucson
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society (AAHS) is pleased to present Todd W. Bostwick on Monday, March 16, at 7:30 pm in the University Medical Center’s Duval Auditorium (1500 N Campbell Ave, Tucson 85724), who will present Archaeological Excavations at Ironwood Village: A Hohokam Ball Court Site in Marana. Mr. Bostwick will discuss the results of excavations in 2014 by PaleoWest Archaeology who uncovered a Hohokam village in Marana located on the east side of the Santa Cruz River that contained a previously unknown ball court. SFor more information please visit the AAHS website: http://bit.ly/1uhONZh, or contact John D. Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about this or any other AAHS program.
Event Opportunity – Tucson
On Saturday, March 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Tucson’s Vista del Rio Residents’ Association and Old Pueblo Archaeology Center present the free Vista del Rio Archaeology Celebration at Tucson’s Vista del Rio Cultural Resource Park, 7575 E. Desert Arbors St., where an ancient Hohokam Indian village is preserved. Children can learn about Arizona’s ancient peoples through demonstrations of traditional Native American pottery-making and arrowhead-making, grinding their own corn using metates and manos, learning to play traditional Indian games, practicing rabbit-stick throwing, and making hand-built pottery, cordage and stone-and-bead jewelry, split-twig-figurines, and dance rattles to take home. No reservations needed. http://bit.ly/1E4phfZ – Old Pueblo Archaeology
Thanks to Jim Bonk, Cherie Freeman, and Michael Mauer for contributing to this week’s newsletter.