New Research on Pueblo Bonito’s Plaza Tree
The iconic Plaza Tree of Pueblo Bonito is widely believed to have been a majestic pine standing in the west courtyard of the monumental great house during the peak of the Chaco Phenomenon (AD 850–1140). The ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) log was discovered in 1924, and since then, it has been included in “birth” and “life” narratives of Pueblo Bonito, although these ideas have not been rigorously tested. We evaluate three potential growth origins of the tree (JPB-99): Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, or a distant mountain range. https://doi.org/10.1017/aaq.2020.6 – Christopher H. Guiterman, Christopher H. Baisan, Nathan B. English, and Jay Quade in American Antiquity
Documenting Ancient Trails in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
A network of trails used by the Tohono O’odham for thousands of years crisscross what is now Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. However, the trails’ precise locations were largely unknown – until now. A team of University of Arizona researchers, from 2014 to 2019, searched for and documented 11 of the trails for the National Park Service. The agency funded the project to preserve and protect the trails as archaeological sites. The research team, led by T.J. Ferguson, a professor of anthropology and the principal investigator for the project, documented enough information about four of the trails to assemble nomination materials for the National Register of Historic Places. http://bit.ly/2W39lM2 – University of Arizona News
Digitized Legacy Collection Benefits Thesis Research
Salmon Pueblo Archaeological Research Collection (SPARC) provides open access and downloadable data tables and original field records from the excavation of Salmon Pueblo, a great house community located approximately 45 miles north of Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico. The site was excavated in the 1970s under the direction of the late Cynthia Irwin-Williams, a project that produced over 100,000 pages of field records and 1.5 million artifacts and samples. The SPARC project was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 2015, in order to make this enormous collection digitally accessible. I personally have benefited from the efforts of scholars who have made these massive collections of legacy data digitally accessible. My MA research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln combines a material culture analysis of the shell ornament assemblage from Salmon Pueblo, including taxonomic identification and stylistic classification, with the use of digitized legacy data from SPARC. http://bit.ly/2UeszvL – Anthropology News
Essay: Life of the Gila: Was Mimbres a World?
In my last blog post on the diverse archaeological culture area archaeologists call “Mogollon,” I raised the question of whether the Mimbres part of that region could be called a “world” as we have characterized the Hohokam ballcourt world or the Chaco world. In this post, I’ll delve more deeply into that question, and into what distinguishes the Mimbres archaeological culture area from the rest of the Mogollon region after about 1000 CE. http://bit.ly/2IVXw2I – Karen Schollmeyer at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Profile of Botanist Alice Eastwood
Reading in the Denver Public Library on July 31, 1891, Eastwood met Gustaf Nordenskiold, a young Swedish scientist suffering from tuberculosis. She told him of cliff dwellings recently discovered near Mesa Verde and of her friends the Wetherills from Mancos who could guide him. As for Eastwood, she became an early paleoethnobotanist. She helped identify plants unearthed in Wetherill excavations at prehistoric sites in Mesa Verde after first visiting Mancos Canyon on July 14, 1889. She helped study Ancestral Puebloans by understanding the plants they had used. http://bit.ly/3b774nE – Durango Herald
Commentary: Interior Should Pause Public Comment Periods
The Interior Department is currently moving forward with numerous public comment periods, oil and gas lease sales, and major policy changes, including regulations to permanently weaken enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These efforts come as the country is fighting to respond to the novel coronavirus, with Americans focused on taking care of their families and loved ones. In response, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Policy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn: “The Interior Department should immediately suspend ongoing public comment periods, halt upcoming oil and gas lease sales, and delay new policy proposals…” http://bit.ly/38ZGHya – Center for Western Priorities
Commentary: Petroglyphs and Vandalism
Petroglyphs are often found in beautiful, quiet places, and they offer a reminder of whose traditional lands we inhabit. Many of the symbols I see are recognizable, but others elude me; some may hold meanings only known to people in the past, and other messages are simply not for me to know. Petroglyph sites are associated with sacred Native American traditions and ceremonial occasions, and as such they are an integral part of a cultural landscape that must be respected and protected. http://bit.ly/2Wk7dQk – Stacy Ryan at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Notices of Closures Received by Southwest Archaeology Today
Pecos National Historical Park: To protect public health and slow the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, the National Park Service has closed the Pecos National Historical Park Visitor Center and suspended all ranger-led programs. The park trails remain open and park staff are onsite to provide visitors information. For more park information, please visit www.nps.gov/peco.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument: Due to the continuing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and in conjunction with our park partner Western National Parks Association (WNPA), the Gila Visitor Center and Gila Cliff Dwellings Trailhead Museum will be closed until further notice. The monument itself will remain open at this time allowing access to the one-mile loop trail to visit the dwellings. Staff will be available at the dwellings but all guided tours that were previously scheduled are cancelled.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument: Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health authorities in consultation with NPS Public Health Service officers, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is temporarily closed as of March 17. Updates will be posted on the monument’s website at www.nps.gov/cagr and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Casa-Grande-Ruins-National-Monument-156409127753466/.
Arizona: The Visitor Centers at Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, and Sunset Crater are closed. New Mexico: The Visitor Center at Bandelier is closed. Colorado: The Visitor Center at Mesa Verde is closed. For other NPS destinations, check this web page: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/alerts.htm?t=Closure&p=1&v=1
The Bears Ears Education Center is closed. More information is at the center’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BearsEarsEducationCenter/.
Canceled and Postponed Lectures, Events, and Tours
We have received many notices of cancelation and some postponements (none with new dates set). If there is a specific event you wish to check on, we recommend that you contact the organizers directly via the email or website given with that particular event listing in previous editions of SAT.
Archaeology Southwest’s upcoming events and classes through April are also postponed or canceled: http://bit.ly/2vz15sA
It is our sincere wish that all of you keep well and safe. We’ll be back next week with another 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/