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The Bears Ears Report

Seven Southwestern Archaeology Groups Advocating for Protecting Bears Ears Monument Status

Editorial: Interior Secretary Zinke’s Visit to Utah Likely a Defining Moment

Identification of a Powerful Matrilineal Descent Line at Pueblo Bonito

“Kennewick Man” Repatriated

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Oil Drilling Closes in on Chaco Canyon

Oil Drilling Closes in on Chaco Canyon
On January 25, the Bureau of Land Management leased nearly 850 acres of land for drilling in northwest New Mexico, netting close to $3 million. The agency offers leases on millions of acres of public land per year, but this latest sale was unusual. Not only was it the first time that the BLM has conducted a lease sale online rather than live in the New Mexico region, the sale had also been postponed three times over the last five years, because its lands are just 20 miles from Chaco Culture National Historical Park (also a UNESCO World Heritage site and an International Dark Sky Park). http://bit.ly/2kCki1Y – High Country News

BLM Sale on the Chaco Landscape
The Bureau of Land Management has auctioned oil and gas drilling rights in northwest New Mexico despite protest from Native Americans and environmentalists. The rights for drilling on four parcels totaling 843 acres in Rio Arriba and Sandoval counties sold for $3 million on Wednesday. Critics contend the parcels are too close to Chaco Culture National Historical Park and that development in an expansive stretch they refer to as “the greater Chaco area” could damage cultural resources. http://bit.ly/2kCxt3a – Durango Herald

Permanent Exhibit for Chaco Canyon Visitor Center Shelved
The new archaeological exhibit at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, scheduled to open this spring, was to be a thing of beauty. Housed in a spiffed-up visitor’s center, featuring hundreds of artifacts that likely hadn’t been on display in generations, it seemed a once-in-a- lifetime chance to see what the researchers of the late 1800s found when they pried open the long-sealed chambers of what is now the park’s main attraction, Pueblo Bonito. http://bit.ly/2kCzXhY – Santa Fe Reporter

University of New Mexico’s Field School at Chaco Canyon
The University of New Mexico Department of Anthropology is offering an exclusive opportunity to students from around the world. Through a partnership with Chaco Canyon National Historic Park, students can get hands-on experience excavating, researching and exploring the past through one of the great historical mysteries of the American Southwest. “Chaco is a massive complex of stone buildings, architectural innovation, social complexity like we’d never seen in the southwest up to that point a thousand years ago,” said Professor W. H. Wills, who leads the UNM Chaco Canyon Field School. http://bit.ly/2kCL5LT – UNM Newsroom

Yet More Chacoan Geomancy in the News
Constructing a building involves many geometrical shapes and patterns. In the absence of a proper mathematical calculation it is near impossible for anyone to build an architectural complex. However, the latest discovery may question the above statement. While studying the mysterious Sun Temple, researchers came across a few constructions that create equilateral triangles, 45-degree right triangles. http://bit.ly/2kCLMok – Tech Times

Editorial: New National Monuments Are Not Land Grabs
President Obama’s 2016 national monument designations have prompted Republican critics from Nevada to Maine to suggest that, under cover of the Antiquities Act of 1906, he exceeded his authority, orchestrating a massive federal land grab. These critics are ignoring the history and scope of the act and the positive effects of monument designations on nearby communities. The Antiquities Act gives presidents broad authority to protect objects and surrounding public lands with historical, cultural and scientific value to the nation. Sixteen presidents have used the statute since Theodore Roosevelt signed it into law and created the first national monument at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. In the short term, their actions have frequently generated controversy. http://lat.ms/2kCXHlV – Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Native Americans Should Be Provided the Right to Take the Lead on Bears Ears
For the first time in 200 years, Native Americans in Utah have won a political victory. Bears Ears is protected and we are overjoyed. Over 500 people joined us on Jan. 7 in Monument Valley, Utah, and tribal leader after tribal leader spoke for seven hours on the importance of Bears Ears to our communities. Yet we wonder, Why are Utah officials fighting us so hard? What has anyone lost, and what is the disagreement? http://bit.ly/2kCBdSg – Deseret News

Editorial: Bears Ears Is Worth Monument Status
The wailing, anger and protests by Utah and San Juan County politicians over the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument prove why the Antiquities Act is such a good idea. Historically, politicians don’t like federal parks and monuments designated in their states. That’s why presidents and Interior Department secretaries with a more national perspective are usually forced to act. While it may be difficult to believe now, Wyoming residents and officials fought Grand Teton National Park as hard or harder than Utah politicians have done with Bears Ears or Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The same happened with the Grand Canyon in Arizona and many other national parks. http://bit.ly/2kCAikw – Salt Lake Tribune

The Archaeological Conservancy to Protect Two Sites in New Mexico
The Archaeological Conservancy was awarded a $8,772.75 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the Bonderman Southwest Intervention Fund. The money will be used toward the New Mexico Archaeological Fencing Project. The Archaeological Conservancy will fence two extraordinary sites in northern New Mexico, the Holmes Group site and Garcia Canyon Pueblito. Fencing the cultural material is a crucial part of the preservation process. This provides protection from looters, prevents wildlife and livestock from entering the site, and blocks access for off-highway vehicles and other motorized equipment. http://bit.ly/2kCPzBV – Rudioso News

Lecture Opportunity – Queen Creek
Desert Foothills Chapter – AAS presents on February 8th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at no charge, Ph.D. Jesse Ballenger.  This talk reviews the amazing record of the Murray Springs site as well as the trade-off between water conservation and national heritage.  This site is located in southeastern Arizona near the San Pedro River and the site is unique for the massive quantity of large megafauna (i.e. mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths, bison, and saber-toothed cats) processing and extensive Clovis tool making.  Years later and despite its importance as a world-class landmark of human and environmental events, it became the receiving end of groundwater injections intended to protect the San Pedro Rover as a viable stream.  The meeting is held in the community building (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331 (near the Dairy Queen). http://bit.ly/2imIwP4 – Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society

Lecture Opportunity – Santa Fe
Southwest Seminars Presents Dr. Lawrence ‘Larry’ Loendorf, who will give a lecture Tributes to Bison: Archaeological Sites & Evidence of Bison Ceremonial Activities on February 6 at 6pm at Hotel Santa Fe as part of the Ancient Sites Ancient Stories Lecture Series. Admission is by subscription or $12 at the door. No reservations are necessary. Refreshments are served. Seating is limited. Contact Connie Eichstaedt at tel: 505 466-2775; email: southwest seminar@aol.com; website: southwestseminars.org

Lecture Opportunity – Sedona
The next monthly meeting of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society will be held on Thursday, January 26th, in the Community Room of the Sedona public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, at 7:00 pm. The evening’s program: Archaeological Sites in Libya,  will be presented by Spence Gustav. Spence is a retired petroleum geologist and worked for 35 years overseas, including Libya. He also has a BSc degree in Archaeology/Anthropology. Photographs of a range of sites in a wide variety of areas of Libya will be presented to show the status of these sites just prior to the Arab Spring. Many of the sites are well known to the outside world due to relatively easy access during recent periods of political stability. In addition, sites will be shown that were not frequently visited by westerners in the past and are now in essentially inaccessible locations. Please join us this month for this fascinating program. Admission is free. For additional information or questions, contact Nancy Bihler at 203-5822, or check out our website: http://bit.ly/2kgY6gk – VVC AAS

Lecture Opportunity – Tucson
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society (AAHS) is pleased to present Dale S. Brenneman, Bernard Siquieros, and Ronald Geronimo on Monday, February 20th at 7:30 pm in the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) Building, Room 103, just east of the Arizona State Museum (1100 E James E Rogers Way Tucson, 85721), who will discuss, “O’odham History in Spanish Written Accounts.” Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information please visit the AAHS website: http://www.az-arch-and-hist.org/, or contact John D. Hall at jhall@sricrm.com with questions about this or any other AAHS program

Editor’s Note: This week Archaeology Southwest sadly observes the passing of longtime volunteer and supporter Valerie Conforti. Valerie was a dedicated volunteer and a good friend to our organization for the past 30 years. Her wit, enthusiasm, and dedication will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

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