Dear Friends of Southwest Archaeology Today,
We made it through our first Archaeology Café Online last week. Thanks to all who joined us, and thanks to Paul Reed for his presentation. We’ve linked to the video and some additional material from Paul in this week’s edition below. On May 5 we’ll be back online with a presentation by John R. Welch, Director of Archaeology Southwest’s Landscape and Site Preservation Program. John will be speaking about the sites of Casa Malpais and Kinishba. Here’s a link to more information and to reserve your place for the live webinar.
Tribes are being disproportionately impacted by the virus. Previously, I shared a link to a list of aid organizations across the Colorado Plateau compiled by the Grand Canyon Trust. The other day, I learned of a fund for the 20 Pueblo Nations: the Pueblo Relief Fund. Please help if you can.
Like many of you, I’m taking solace and finding inspiration in spring and life around me. This is a theme in a new essay by our friend and Research Associate R. E. Burrillo that was just published by our friends at Torrey House Press. Resilience and renewal are also themes of the latest edition of the newsletter of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Council.
At day’s end my wife and I sit on our back porch, watch the sun on the mountains, and relax to the sights and sounds of wildlife in the wash. Each day this week, the gentle spring green of the leafing mesquite has gotten more expansive and richer in tone. We’ve particularly enjoyed visits just before dusk of a new bird—an Ash-throated Flycatcher. He’s often been preceded by a Black-capped Gnatcatcher and an Anna’s Hummingbird pursuing errant bugs. And then the bats take over the rolling feast. These are things I certainly don’t see from my car when I drive home (late) from work. I suspect I have been missing this for a long time.
My best wishes for your week ahead. Take good care,
William H. (Bill) Doelle
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. And a male Cardinal just shone bright as dusk closed in…
Learning from Ancient Southwestern Farming Cultures
Some of the most sacred treasures of the Zuni people—precious links to their past and future—aren’t sequestered in religious shrines, or locked away in museums. They’re kept in a small one-story building that houses the Zuni Sustainable Agriculture Program, carefully tended by Daniel Bowannie, the 37-year-old technician and sole staff member of the project. The door of the boxy white refrigerator in Bowannie’s office is covered with his children’s doodles, so visitors might not immediately notice the piece of paper taped to the top of the fridge, which identifies it as the Zuni Community Seed Bank. https://bit.ly/2VLN18a – The FERN (Food and Environment Reporting Network)
Commentary: Interior’s Land Planning Must Be Paused
The 20 Pueblo nations of New Mexico and Texas have joined nationwide and statewide COVID-19 response efforts. At the direction of leadership, Pueblo governments continue prioritizing and maximizing staffing capacity toward critical community health and safety measures in coordination with a host of state and federal agencies, the New Mexico congressional delegation and many other local and national organizations. Yet despite the ongoing crisis, the Department of Interior is continuing land planning processes across the West, including the sacred cultural landscape of the Greater Chaco Region. https://bit.ly/3eJ6COI – J. Michael Chavarria, Governor of Santa Clara Pueblo and current chair of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, in the Santa Fe New Mexican
Continuing Coverage: Commentary on and Analysis of Interior’s Regulatory Rollbacks
[An] ongoing tracker by the Center for Western Priorities (CWP) finds the Interior Department is making some progress on remaining policy changes and continues to advance environmental rollbacks despite COVID-19 public health restrictions. The tracker, launched in January 2020 and based on federal websites and databases, finds 77 policies Interior is seeking to implement, including efforts to expand fossil fuel development on public lands and further weaken protections for wildlife. Of those 77 policies, the department has finalized six, including five land use plans to allow increased development on public lands in Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. The agency is in the process of finalizing an additional 34 policy changes, and has identified another 37 policy changes on which it has not started. https://bit.ly/2Kqlrbk – Center for Western Priorities
Video and Additional Resources: Aztec, Salmon, and the Puebloan Heartland of the Middle San Juan
Thanks, folks, for the many good questions you posed during my April 14 Archaeology Café. Some were answered during the Q & A portion of the presentation. Others—some of which were more complicated or specific—I answered via email. In this blog, I want to address several questions that I think are of broad interest. https://bit.ly/34PE3L4 – Paul Reed at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Editors’ note: This link leads to a blog post with the video of Paul Reed’s Archaeology Café Online presentation from April 14. It also shares a reading list, free resources, and a link to information on how to help protect the greater Chaco landscape now.
Focus on the Field Crew: Charles Arrow
Aaron: What do you see being the value or long-term benefit of what we’re doing? Charles: Actually having a record, a more detailed record. From what I understand from you, some of the sites we’ve been to, they’ve been documented but not documented as thoroughly as I would have thought people would have done back in the 1960s or whenever. I feel that we’re doing a really thorough examination of the area, and that’s pretty cool for me, because we’re actually going through and being thorough about it. https://bit.ly/3bjh51h – Aaron Wright interview with Charles Arrow at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Photo Essay: Connecting to Bears Ears from a Distance
The world has changed so much in just a few short weeks. In a normal year, this is the time many of us would be getting ready to venture out to our favorite places on the Colorado Plateau. Spring is a fickle time here, perfect weather and warm sun one moment are as likely as wind-driven snow squalls the next. But normally we brave these conditions to connect with and be part of our beloved cultural landscapes — places like Bears Ears. https://bit.ly/2XUka47 – Tim Peterson at the Grand Canyon Trust
Online Resources, Events, and Opportunities
Editors’ note: Please keep sharing these with us, and we will keep helping to get the word out. Our inbox is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Videos of the latest webinars from our friends at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center are now available: “Discover Archaeology: Pueblo Farming Project Webinar with Mark Varien and Paul Ermigiotti” and “Discover Archaeology: Flintknapping Demonstration by Tyson Hughes.” Each opens at Crow Canyon’s YouTube channel.
Via Twitter, we learned about this documentation project at Basin and Range National Monument: Eastern Nevada’s prehistoric rock art and historic mining sites have been extensively documented and researched over the years – so what’s the point of this project? To test whether new documentation techniques, collectively referred to as 3D documentation, would be useful in the recording, preservation, and interpretation of archaeology in Lincoln County. We designed a pilot project to document a sample of previously recorded archaeological features using the latest 3D documentation techniques. http://lcai10.legiongis.com/index.html
Our friend Rob Gay and the Colorado Canyons Association have a fun and educational series of videos on their YouTube channel (https://bit.ly/3asWJRS) that is intended to stand in for their spring tour program. Thus far, topics include “leave no trace,” soil crusts, tamarisks, and cottonwoods.
The Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), a public-private partnership between FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution, has published a COVID-19 Resource Hub, a web portal to an array of resources that can help the cultural heritage and creative communities respond to and recover from the pandemic. https://culturalrescue.si.edu/hentf/major-disasters/current-disasters/
Heritage Voices Podcast: Indigenous Australian Archaeology. In this episode, host Jessica Yaquinto welcomes Dr. Chris Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Australian Studies and Archaeology at Flinders University. Dr. Wilson is the first Indigenous Australian PhD in Archaeology. He talks about how archaeological research, including his zooarchaeology work, is breaking down misperceptions of Indigenous Australians. Note from the host: The episode includes a brief but disturbing discussion on anatomy lab repatriations. https://bit.ly/2XUaYg7 – Heritage Voices
From our friends and colleagues at Desert Archaeology, Inc., in Tucson: Ask an Archaeologist! We’re busy, but can trowel out time to answer the burning questions you may have about archaeology in general or Tucson archaeology in particular. If you’ve ever wanted to know something, drop questions via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/desertarchaeology/) or via the always-popular Contact Us form over at desert dot com. Curious about our staff and their specialties? Browse https://desert.com/staff/ and https://desert.com/services/ to spark your wondering lobe. Questions and answers will be featured in an upcoming Field Journal blog post. Editors’ note: There is a lot of great regional archaeology and STEM content on the Field Journal blog.
Subscriber Tom Bartels sent us this note: I produced a virtual tour of several archeology sites for Grand Canyon National Park a number of years ago. It is still being used on the National Park website, and is an interesting, immersive experience that allows viewers to see the inside of room blocks and other spaces in 360-degree virtual space. (The VRs run with Adobe Flash, so in some browsers, people may have to load Adobe Flash.) https://www.nps.gov/features/grca/001/archeology/index.html
We’re happy to help get the word out. Please submit news, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration: https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/submit-to-sat/