Commentary: Obliteration of Heritage Places Would Constitute a War Crime
A part of the Hague Convention of 1907, signed over a century ago, says that “all necessary steps must be taken” to spare “buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected.” Similarly, the Geneva Convention Protocol I, signed in 1949 and amended in 1977, renders unlawful “any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples.” Federal law in the United States says that violating these international conventions would constitute a war crime. Anyone who violates them could be imprisoned or, if death results from their actions, be sentenced to death. Members of the Trump administration should be on notice that they can be held liable under these provisions. https://lat.ms/2SZfmI6 – Sara C. Bronin in the Los Angeles Times
SIU Carbondale Repatriates Human Remains and Associated Burial Objects from Black Mesa Archaeological Project
From 1977 to 1983, Southern Illinois University Carbondale led a massive series of archaeological digs at Black Mesa, in Northern Arizona, where Peabody Energy leased land from the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe to strip mine for coal. Because Peabody was working on reservation land, it was required by the National Historic Preservation Act to search for, remove and preserve Native American remains and relics. As the mine grew, the project became one of the largest in the history of North American archaeological fieldwork, according to SIUC, employing hundreds of people, identifying nearly 2,500 archaeological sites across about 100 square miles of the mesa, and unearthing several million Navajo, Hopi and ancient Puebloan and prehistoric artifacts, some as much as 8,000 years old, as well as the 200-plus skeletons. http://bit.ly/39OqUUQ – The Southern Illinoisan
Coalition Urged BLM Head to Resign or Be Removed…
A coalition of 91 groups with ties to public lands sent a letter Monday asking that acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) head William Pendley immediately resign or face removal from his post. Pendley, a controversial figure over his past comments opposing federal land ownership, has been widely opposed by conservation, sportsman, public interest and environmental groups, who said “his actions betray BLM’s mission and demonstrate his lack of fitness to lead it.” The coalition’s letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who oversees BLM, comes as Pendley’s temporary delegation of power is set to expire on Friday. Interior has been criticized for using temporary orders to fill high-ranking posts with controversial figures who would be unlikely to earn Senate confirmation. http://bit.ly/2QzFBmZ – The Hill
…But His Term Was Extended
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Tuesday extended the tenure of William Perry Pendley as effective head of the Bureau of Land Management — without a presidential nomination to the post. The administration has left the position of BLM director empty for President Trump’s entire presidency. https://wapo.st/36xegHv – Washington Post
Video: Why You Should Experience Pecos National Historical Park
On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, Jeremy M. Moss discussed Pecos National Historical Park in his talk, “Going Down to the Crossroads: A Brief History of Pecos National Historical Park.” https://youtu.be/kaTRo26aAd4 – Archaeology Southwest (opens at YouTube)
Mesa Verde National Park Seeks Dark Sky Designation
Mesa Verde National Park may become an International Dark Sky Park in the coming year. The Mesa Verde Museum Association has been working on its application to receive the designation since 2015, and it plans to submit its application this month, according to David Quinn, sales manager with the museum association, the nonprofit partner that operates the park’s bookstore and assists with fundraising efforts. The designation would support night sky programs at the park and improve visitors’ experiences, the applicants say – and bring Mesa Verde into the international movement to curb light pollution. http://bit.ly/37OcdiL – The Journal
Public Comment Period Opens for Proposed Road Project at Mesa Verde
The National Park Service, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, is considering a project that would rehabilitate Mesa Top Loop, Cliff Palace Loop, and Sun Temple Loop roads, improve physical accessibility at adjacent overlooks, improve sidewalks and parking areas, replace the current Visitor and Research Center intersection, and possibly widen the two-way sections of Mesa Top Loop and Sun Temple Loop roads to accommodate a bike lane. As part of this process, the Park Service is initiating a 30-day comment period on the preliminary concepts. You are encouraged to share your observations, concerns, and ideas about the information presented in a newsletter posted online to help park staff focus the concepts on significant issues in the park. The newsletter is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MEVE. http://bit.ly/2T1pXlZ – National Parks Traveler
REMINDER: SAA Student Travel Funding Deadline Approaching
With support from the Institute for Field Research, the Society for American Archaeology offers travel awards to undergrads attending the annual meeting in Austin. The application guidelines are posted here: https://bit.ly/2YcddcI (deadline is February 1).
Ancient “Gum” Reveals Aspects of a Woman’s Life 5,700 Years Ago
Nearly 6,000 years ago, in a seaside marshland in what is now southern Denmark, a woman with blue eyes and dark hair and skin popped a piece of chewing gum in her mouth. Not spearmint gum, mind you, but a decidedly less palatable chunk of black-brown pitch, boiled down from the bark of the birch tree. An indispensable tool in her time, birch pitch would solidify as it cooled, so the woman and her comrades would have had to chew it before using it as a sort of superglue for, say, making tools. Eventually she spit out the gum, and six millennia later, scientists found it and ran the blob through a battery of genetic tests. http://bit.ly/2T0JeDZ – Wired
TODAY Lecture Opportunity, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge AZ
At noon on January 8, 2020, Casa Grande Ruins National will host Allen Dart for “The Antiquity of Irrigation in the Southwest.” The program will be held in the visitor center theater at 1100 W Ruins Drive. There is no fee for the program, and entrance to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is free.
TONIGHT Lecture Opportunity, Cave Creek AZ
On Wednesday, January 8, at 7:00 p.m., the Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society will welcome Dr. Patricia Gilman for a presentation on ancient macaws. Scarlet macaws were the most spectacular item in the ancient southwestern United States obtained from farther south in Mexico. They were present and contemporary at Mimbres Classic and Chacoan sites from about A.D. 1000 to 1130. They were present even earlier in the Hohokam region. Gilman argues that people used macaws and parrots differently in the three regions. The Mimbres and Chaco macaws all belong to the same rare genetic group, suggesting that they had the same breeding source. There was little communality between Mimbres and Chaco in terms of how scarlet macaws were used. Community Room (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepard of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road. http://www.azarchsoc.wildapricot.org/desertfoothills
TONIGHT Lecture Opportunity, Durango CO
The public is invited to the next meeting of the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society on Wednesday, January 8, at 7:00 p.m. at the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College. Connie Massingale will present: “Creating Color in Prehistoric Art of the Southwest: Pigment procurement, processing, and application in the pictographs and artifacts of Utah and beyond.” There will be a pre-meeting social at 6:30. http://www.sjbas.org
Film Screening, Amerind Museum, Dragoon AZ
“Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods” explores the 3,000-year-old history of this divine substance through ritual and obsession. The film begins in ancient Mesoamerica and journeys throughout time to Europe’s finest chocolate houses. Archaeological and anthropological revelations about the sacred realm of cacao give the viewer a whole new perspective on Chocolate. A Q&A session with the film’s producer Meredith Dreiss and co-producer Sharon Edgar Greenhill will take place immediately following each showing of the film. Saturday, January 11, 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Amerind Museum, 2100 N. Amerind Rd. http://www.amerind.org/events.html
Lecture Opportunity, Grand Junction CO
On January 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., John Seebach returns to the monthly meeting of the Grand Junction Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society to give an update on what has been happening and shaking in the world of Paleoindian archaeology. Redlands United Methodist Church, 527 Village Way. https://www.meetup.com/CAS-GJ/events/266588607/ and https://casgjchapter.wildapricot.org/
Lecture Opportunity, Phoenix AZ
The Phoenix Chapter, AAS, invites you to join us at the Pueblo Grande Museum on Tuesday, January 14, to hear Janine Hernbrode’s talk on “Patterns in Petroglyphs: Hints of the Hohokam Cosmology on the Landscape.” Janine and Dr. Peter Boyle worked together to analyze data obtained from 15 years of recordings at four major petroglyph sites in southern Arizona and have gained some understanding of, and identified threads of continuity between, Native American belief systems and the rock art motifs. Join us at 7:00 p.m. for snacks & refreshments. Call Pueblo Grande Museum at 602-495-0901 for more info. https://azarchsoc.wildapricot.org/phoenix
Lecture Opportunity, Taos NM
On January 14 at 7:00 p.m., the Taos Archaeological Society will welcome Delafield DuBois, who will present “Trails Within the Rio Grande Gorge” about the 50 plus constructed trails within the gorge. Who made them, how and why, along with stories and photos from 47 years of exploring the canyon. Photographer, Archeologist, Park Ranger, story teller and adventurer on land and water, Del has spent a lifetime exploring the wilds by foot, ski, and boat. Kit Carson Board Room, 118 Cruz Alta Rd. http://www.taosarch.org
Lecture Opportunity, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge AZ
At noon on January 15, 2020, Casa Grande Ruins will host Robin Pinto for “The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscapes.” The program will be held in the visitor center theater at 1100 W Ruins Drive. There is no fee for the program, and entrance to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is free.
Sunset Tour, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge AZ
Also on January 15, join the staff of Casa Grande for sunset and experience the wonder of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument after hours. A short program will begin at 5:00 p.m., then time will be allowed until 7:00 p.m. for photography, self-guided exploration, and questions. On January 15, official sunset time is at 5:41 p.m. Those who want to attend this event must be in the gate before 5:00 pm at the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument located at 1100 W Ruins Drive.
Thanks to Cherie Freeman for her contribution to today’s edition.
We’re happy to help get the word out, but we’re not mind readers! Please submit news, book announcements, and events at this link for consideration: https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/submit-to-sat/