Has Tucson Lost Its Birthplace?
City officials halted and then moved work for a $7 million project Monday after historic preservation activists complained that earth movers were grading a crucial archaeological site at or near Tucson’s birthplace. A private contractor was working Monday morning on a landfill remediation project at a site that is part of what activists hope will be the future Tucson Origins Heritage Park. The landfill, just west of the Santa Cruz River near downtown, lies near where the oldest known agriculture in the United States began around 2,100 B.C., or 4,100 years ago. http://bit.ly/2k4RJvA – Arizona Daily Star
Ancient Southwestern Forestry Practices Could Prevent Conflagrations on Our Forests
The best way forward from this impasse may be found, intriguingly, in New Mexico’s past. For millennia, people thrived in northern New Mexico’s fire-prone ecosystems. Their lessons could help resolve today’s urgent debate over smart logging. As land managers try to resurrect logging practices very similar to the methods used for centuries by Ancestral Pueblo people, the state could serve as a model for creating fire-safe communities throughout the West. http://bit.ly/2yMkMbJ – High Country News
Audiolink: Archaeology Southwest’s Allen Denoyer Interviewed on Rosie on the House Radio Program
Allen Denoyer, a Preservation Archaeologist for Archaeology Southwest will be with us. One of the things we will be doing with Allen will be teaching Rosie how to throw an atlatl during the broadcast! http://bit.ly/2kEbOYY – MP3 audio from Rosie on the House
Take a Moment to Marvel at Jonathan Bailey’s Amazing Photo-Essay on Bears Ears
Photographer Jonathan Bailey shares a few of the places that are now made vulnerable by the president’s illegal near-revocation. From Jonathan: “The images in this gallery share some of the areas in the Bears Ears threatened by the illegal actions that eliminated thousands of sacred places from the greater protections provided by the National Monument. The retraction of these protections is yet another broken promise to the tribes and a careless regression of respect. I am speaking on behalf of these places because I, like Archaeology Southwest and so many others, value them deeply. From the loving traces of mothers, fathers, and children, to the innovation and ingenuity of past populations, the Bears Ears is saturated with a history too fragile to mishandle.” http://bit.ly/2kcJXjx – Archaeology Southwest
Interesting Article on the Effects of Gravity on Archaeological Deposits
When archaeologists find archaeological evidences (e.g. stone artifacts, bone remains, textiles, wood, metals, mollusk shells, etc.), one of the first challenge is (or should be) understanding if the record arrives at that place due to anthropogenic or non-anthropogenic processes, namely, if it was deposited (intentionally or unintentionally) by humans or other agents such as non-human animals, water flow, wind, ice masses or gravity-driven processes. Burial processes (or vertical movements), if occur, must be also analyzed. All these aspects concern the spatial properties of the record (e.g. position, orientation, distribution). http://bit.ly/2k6BldS – Science Trends
Blogs Worth Reading: Kellam Thogmorton on the Archaeological Impacts of the U.S. Exit from UNESCO
I am taking a quick break from dissertation fieldwork (two more weeks of mapping, then I’m done! I hope!) to write a MAPA blog post on the recent announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). While this issue does not directly affect my dissertation project in the same way that, say, massive cuts to the National Science Foundation might, it will nonetheless hamper archaeological and cultural preservation efforts in the region I work. This region is sometimes referred to as the Greater Chaco Landscape, and it covers the northwest corner of New Mexico as well as portions of the adjacent states of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. http://bit.ly/2k7cRkO – MAPA
Encouraged by the Current Political Environment, Oil and Gas Close in on Chaco
An oil and gas lease sale that would sell off more than 4,400 acres in the Greater Chaco region in March is again raising tension between resource development and cultural preservation interests. On Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management’s Farmington field office announced the beginning of a protest period on the lease sale, which would offer 25 parcels covering 4,434 acres in northern New Mexico. The protest period runs until Jan. 4. http://bit.ly/2k9PTts – Durango Herald
Tribes: “Another Slap in the Face”
President Donald Trump’s decision to drastically reduce and break up a national monument in Utah wasn’t the only blow Native American tribes say they were dealt last week. The president’s proclamation on Bears Ears National Monument also contained a little-known plan that changes the makeup of a tribal advisory commission for the remote monument filled with canyons, plateaus, rivers and rust-colored rock formations. It adds a county commissioner who is among the minority of Navajos to support Republicans in peeling back protections for the land. The new commissioner will have the same authority as the group’s five other members, all representatives of tribes. http://nyti.ms/2kGirtM – Associated Press via the New York Times
Editorial: “A Pair of Fact-Free Bad Santas”
President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke came to the West last week like “Bad Santas” bearing a sack of coal for residents of Utah and Colorado. They came to announce a weakening of Teddy Roosevelt’s Antiquities Act and dramatic changes to our national monuments and our American heritage. As the Journal’s recent article (Dec. 4) – “Trump cuts, divides Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante”– stated, “Keeping Bears Ears and Grand Staircase at their current sizes is viewed as critical to handling the increasing visitation in southeast Utah.” http://bit.ly/2k7zg1t – Deborah Gangloff via the Durango Herald
Handy Index of Legal Challenges to the President’s Executive Orders
Here’s a breakdown of the 5 lawsuits filed against Trump that challenge his cuts to 2 Utah national monuments http://bit.ly/2k72TzX – Salt Lake Tribune
Entry Fees to Double at Casa Grande Ruins
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument announced that, effective January 1, 2018, the monument’s entrance fee will increase. The increase comes after extensive civic engagement from September 21 to October 22, 2017, and support from federal, state and county stakeholders. Outreach included scheduled questions and answer meetings, three local community events, print media, and social media. Generally, the public was in support of the fee increase. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument currently charges a per person entrance fee of 5 dollars ($5.00) for adults, ages 16 and over, for a 7-day pass. The new entrance fee, beginning January 1, 2018, will be 10 dollars ($10.00) per person, age 16 or older, for a 7-day pass.
Talk and Tour Opportunity – Tucson
For Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s December 21 “Third Thursday Food for Thought” dinner program at Picture Rocks Redemptorist Renewal Center, 7101 W. Picture Rocks Road, Tucson, archaeologist Allen Dart will lead a tour to the Picture Rocks petroglyphs and present “Celebrating the Solstice: Southwestern Rock Calendars and Ancient Time Pieces.” The presentation will present and discuss archaeological evidence of ancient southwestern U.S. astronomy and calendar reckoning revealed in petroglyphs, architecture, and settlement layouts. Tour at 5:30, dinner at 6, presentation 7:15-8:30 p.m. Reservation deadline 5 p.m. December 19. $15 dinner fee (tour and presentation are free). 520-798-1201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.