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Innovative Study of DNA of Domesticated Animals Used to Track Migrations from Mesa Verde

The Archaeological Backhoe Master and the Early Agricultural Period Footprints – 8/6/2017

New York Times Examines Three Threatened Monuments

The Pace of Vandalism at Our National Parks Continues to Grow – 7/24/17

Diné and Pueblo Youth Join to Fight Fracking of the Chaco Landscape


The Archaeological Backhoe Master and the Early Agricultural Period Footprints – 8/6/2017

The Archaeological Backhoe Master and the Early Agricultural Period Footprints
Not long after Dan Arnit made the biggest archaeological find of his career, he had to go build a parking lot. The news of his discovery—3,000-year-old footprints made by a family walking through ancient fields—had made it up the chain at the Pima County government in Arizona, which wanted to show off the oldest footprints ever found in the Southwest. But the archaeological site was a mess. Arnit was his team’s backhoe operator when he found the footprints, so he and his tractor got a new job: Build a parking lot for hundreds of eager visitors. Arnit doesn’t usually build parking lots anymore. He specializes in the delicate work of using heavy machinery to dig trenches at archaeological sites. http://theatln.tc/2ufVdm1 – The Atlantic

The Southwestern Archaeological Community Mourns the Passing of Steadman Upham
Steadman Upham, whose resolute commitment and passion helped propel the University of Tulsa’s community outreach and academic prestige during his 12 years as president, died Sunday. He was 68. Upham’s unexpected death from complications following a recent hip surgery devastated the TU community as news of what happened spread Monday. http://bit.ly/2uwsgOa – Tulsa World

Ancient Native Americans Domesticated Maize for the Highlands of North America
Genome sequences from nearly 2,000-year-old cobs of maize (corn) found in a Utah cave paint a portrait of the crop at the dawn of its adaptation to the highlands of the US southwest. That maize, researchers found, was small, bushy and — crucially — had developed the genetic traits it needed to survive the short growing seasons of high altitudes. The team’s study, published on 3 August in Science, is remarkable in how it tackles complex genetic traits governed by the interactions of many different genes, say researchers. It uses that information to create a detailed snapshot of a crop in the middle of domestication. Such insights could help modern plant breeders to buffer crops against global climate change. http://go.nature.com/2ux8iTi – Nature

Tribal Oral History Project Receives NEH Funding
Archaeology Southwest is pleased to announce that a team of affiliated researchers has earned a prestigious Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The $175,000 grant will help fund The Lower Gila River Ethnographic and Archaeological Project, an interdisciplinary humanities program directed by Preservation Archaeologist Aaron Wright. The three-year study will investigate the unique cultural landscape of the lower Gila River in southwest Arizona in light of the oral histories and perspectives of members of four culturally associated tribes. http://bit.ly/2ug9cbB – Archaeology Southwest

Constitutional Scholar Finds No Legal Provision for Rescission of National Monuments
The text, spirit, and 111 year history of the Antiquities Act of 1906 militate against presidential power to revoke a national monument proclamation made by a predecessor president. That conclusion does not disturb the Constitution’s separation of powers. If a President signs a bill passed by Congress, it becomes law. A successor president may not repeal the law by a proclamation renouncing his predecessor’s signature. The Antiquities Act works in the same way. A presidential proclamation declaring a national monument may not be unilaterally revoked by a successor president. That would require new revocation legislation passed by Congress and signed by the new President. http://bit.ly/2ug55MJ  – Bruce Fein via Huffington Post

Outdoor Retailers Flex Political Muscle in Public Lands Debate
As the heavyweight Outdoor Retailer trade shows decamp for Colorado, the outdoor industry is wielding a newfound power. Last month, as the trade show’s attendees wrapped their final stand in Salt Lake City after 20 years, thousands marched supporting public lands. Utah’s position on those lands — urging the federal government to downsize national monuments such as Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — triggered the departure of Outdoor Retailer. Outdoor Retailer arrives in Denver in January, the first of five biannual gatherings that will establish Colorado as the command post for all things outdoor recreation. http://dpo.st/2ugwG04 – Denver Post

Critical Thinking Exercise: Energy Company Uses Editorial to Present False Narratives about Fracking in Chaco
The “Frack Off Chaco” movement made headlines the last few weeks when a number of young people representing local tribes did a relay run to protest potential oil development near Chaco Canyon. While I admire their enthusiasm and am encouraged to see youngsters turn off their cells and get involved, there is another side to the story. If you Google “stop drilling in Chaco”, you will find numerous environmental websites decrying the crime. Leading the charge is the San Juan Citizens Alliance (SJCA), the Four Corner’s own Green Peace (sic). http://bit.ly/2uwNueA – Farmington Post

A Conversation with Sally Jewell
“My husband and I took an epic road trip from one Washington to the other,” she said, as she described stops that “steeped ourselves in the African-American story of the country,” including three national monuments established by President Obama. “But then we spent time in the desert Southwest, including Utah, Organ, (Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument), Rio Grande del Norte (New Mexico). We camped out — the only people at that point in the campground because it was winter. But beautiful stars, and actually hiking was spectacular there,” she said. http://bit.ly/2uwLIKq – Deseret News

Tribal Lands Threatened under Current President
During President Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure, tribal sovereignty, the power by which tribes govern themselves, was a prime concern. But under the Trump administration, that may change. There are several indicators of this shift, including proposed budget cuts to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and the de-prioritization of major land initiatives.  Within the first six months of President Donald Trump’s administration, the Department of Interior has renewed its interest of energy development and tribal land privatization. That differs starkly from Obama policies, which focused on both acquiring and consolidating land for tribal nations. One of the most ambitious efforts to that end, the Land Buy-Back Program, will not continue under Trump. http://bit.ly/2ux8WQD – High Country News

The Racism Underpinning the Ancient Aliens Hoaxes
Peruvian archaeologists are tired of debunking claims of extraterrestrial influence on human history. In 1968, Swiss author Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods? introduced the mainstream to the theory that the Nazca Lines, the massive geoglyphs in Southern Peru whose shapes are fully visible only from the air, were landing strips for “ancient astronauts.” Archaeologists calmly disagree, positing that they were astronomical designs that turned the desert itself into an observatory, or counter constellations matching the dark spaces in the Milky Way, or, more abstractly, cosmological figures meant to be seen by skyward deities, of which ancient Peru had many. http://theatln.tc/2ufU7GV – The Atlantic

Travelogue – Following the Trail of the Ancients
Arrive early afternoon and begin your adventure at the Colorado Welcome Center at Cortez. After a brief visit, continue to Mesa  Verde National Park. From A.D. 600 to 1300 the Ancestral Pueblo people made this area their home. Start at the new visitor center to view the park’s museum collection and video. The park has more than 5,000 archaeological digs with 600 cliff dwellings still visible. Next, travel to Anasazi Heritage Center for a greater understanding through hands-on exhibits and demonstrations of the Ancestral Puebloans. The museum also serves as the visitor center for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. http://bit.ly/2uwpTuK – Leisure

Lecture Opportunity – Santa Fe
Southwest Seminars Presents Dr. Caroline Jean Fernald, Executive Director of the Millicent Rogers Museum, who will give a lecture “Mesoamerican-Ancestral Pueblo Trade” on August 14 at 6pm at Hotel Santa Fe as part of the annual Native Culture Matters Lecture Series. Admission is by subscription or $15 at the door. No reservations are necessary. Refreshments are served. Seating is limited. Contact Connie Eichstaedt, tel. 505 466-2775; email: southwest seminar@aol.com; website: http://southwestseminars.org

Editor’s Note: See You at Pecos!
As usual, Archaeology Southwest will be stationed in the Bookseller’s Tent for this year’s Pecos Conference. If you have any comments, suggestions, or concerns to share about Southwest Archaeology Today, feel free to stop by our table.

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