This feels like a week for few words.
For months we have been taking unprecedented measures to try to keep us all safe. And yet, the death toll in the U.S. inflicted by the novel coronavirus is well over 100,000.
We view history and anthropology as tools, as ways to understand our humanity and our role in the world. And yet, they haven’t vanquished racism, and the dying inflicted by that ancient disease continues to add to that of the novel one.
Our anguish, our anger, our discomfort—these are our motivators for sweeping change.
I encourage you to read Mr. Obama’s June 1 statement. He closes with these words:
“If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals.”
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Tribal Leaders Oppose Virtual Meetings
For the first time, both the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service have moved public hearings and tribal consultation entirely to a virtual format, despite tribal protests that the meetings are inaccessible to the Indigenous communities most likely to be impacted by the projects in question. https://bit.ly/36RJYjU – High Country News
Society for American Archaeology Shares Concerns over May 19 Executive Order
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) expresses its serious concerns with the Executive Order issued May 19 titled “Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.” The impact of this Order could not only result in the diminution of legal protections for important heritage sites and other cultural resources, but could also be counterproductive in advancing infrastructure project delivery and in providing economic growth and job creation. https://bit.ly/2ZWOxb3 – Society for American Archaeology (opens as a PDF)
Commentary: Help Keep Radioactive Waste from Europe off Bears Ears’ Doorstep
Radioactive waste from the Baltic nation of Estonia could soon be shipped across the Atlantic and trucked to a uranium mill on the doorstep of Bears Ears National Monument if the state of Utah approves an application submitted by the mill’s owner, Energy Fuels Resources. Apparently, there is no facility in Estonia that can accept the waste — 660 tons of it in the first year — leftovers from a metals processing plant in the small European nation. https://bit.ly/3eHZUYq – Tim Peterson at the Grand Canyon Trust
Continuing Coverage: Defending Bears Ears
Each group holds different connections to the lands of southern Utah. For some, the high desert country is a place to play; for others, it is the site for sacred ceremonies passed down from ancestors; for others, it is a working landscape or a research site. But whether they are invested in the land for cultural, recreational, or scientific reasons, all agree that the former monuments should be preserved. https://bit.ly/3gMNoce – Sierra
Proposal Aims to Expand Grazing on Sonoran Desert National Monument
After nearly a decade of essentially no cattle, the Bureau of Land Management is proposing to allow livestock grazing across more than half of the 496,000-acre Sonoran Desert National Monument in southern Arizona. Under the BLM’s proposed plan, more than 255,000 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape would be open to grazing. Environmentalists are worried that additional grazing would detrimentally affect the fragile desert ecosystem, which is the most biologically diverse of the North American deserts. …The national monument is on the ancestral lands of the O’odham, Yavapai Apache, Cocopah, and Hohokam peoples, and includes many historic and cultural sites. https://bit.ly/2zTtxY5 – azcentral.com (Arizona Republic)
Commentary: Celebrate 20 Years of Ironwood Forest National Monument
The Ironwood Forest has been inhabited by ancient communities dating back 5,000 years. There are three places in the monument that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. There are ongoing archaeological studies, with over 200 historical Hohokam sites. https://bit.ly/2BmMdzP – Tom Hannagan at tucson.com (Arizona Daily Star)
National Park Service Experiments with Adobe
On the far east side of Tucson, a few hundred feet from the Desert Research Learning Center, a series of uniform adobe walls rise up from ground, each nearly four feet tall and three feet wide. “We lovingly call it adobe-henge,” says [Sharlot] Hart. The walls, 20 in total, are the site of an interdisciplinary experiment by park researchers to understand the impacts of climate change on adobe construction and eventually, on various kinds of treatment to help preserve it, says Hart, one of the project’s lead researchers. https://bit.ly/3dtalz2 – BorderLore
(Editor’s note: Learn more about the BorderLore and ClimateLore projects from UA News: https://bit.ly/3dpwOwP.)
Natural History Museums during the Pandemic
Museums’ reliance on revenue from ticket sales and events makes them among the first scientific institutions to feel the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I worry about the long-term health of all natural history museums and the collections that are in our sacred trust,” says Shannon Hackett, an ornithologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. “It will be very challenging for some museums to reopen at all,” adds Scott Cooper, who runs Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. https://bit.ly/2MkrWxg – Science
Pima County Courthouse Excavations Reveal Distant Connections
Artifacts sifted from more-than-200-year-old waste pits are shedding new light on the daily life and regional trading practices at Tucson’s original presidio. The latest revelation: broken pieces of Zuni Indian pottery, possibly carried back to the presidio by Spanish soldiers after a long military expedition through present-day New Mexico in 1795. https://bit.ly/2ABoStL – tucson.com (Arizona Daily Star)
The Story of Beamer’s Cabin
The stone layers of the Grand Canyon contain the record of millions of years of geologic time. But the human scale of time is more fluid. KNAU commentator Scott Thybony, today, brings us the story of Beamer’s Cabin—an old stone cabin deep within the Canyon – and the role it has played in our perception of time. https://bit.ly/3dttOQ3 – KNAU (NPR)
Opportunity to Comment on Road Improvement Plans for Mesa Verde
The National Park Service is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment [EA] to evaluate the impacts of improving the existing Mesa Top Loop Roads and the intersection at the park entrance. This EA evaluates three alternatives for improvements to the loop roads, describes the environment that would be impacted by the alternatives and assesses the environmental consequences of implementing the alternatives. https://the-journal.com/articles/177381 – The Journal
Blog: What Is Anthropology?
The word “anthropology” literally means “the science of humanity.” Lots of disciplines could lay claim to the same highfalutin title, from anatomists to historians to psychologists like this boy’s father. Yet there is something about the anthropological study of “all things human” that makes anthropologists different and, in my opinion, gives us the primary right to the phrase “we study people.” https://bit.ly/3gOZJwo – Danilyn Rutherford at Sapiens
Blog: The Beginning of Hohokam Sand Temper Provenance Studies
Most people who know Doug Craig’s professional reputation will think of him as a project director, and, indeed, I worked with him in that capacity throughout the 1980s and 1990s during the critical period when the Arizona Division of the Institute for American Research became Desert Archaeology, Inc. However, I first met Doug soon after I’d moved to Tucson, when he and Chris Downum led a tour of the archaeological site known as Cerro Prieto for University of Arizona graduate students… https://bit.ly/2Xsykc2 – James Heidke at the Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.)
Video: How Did People Make and Use Stone Tools? Part III: All About Flakes
Although our Hands-On Archaeology classes are on hold, you can experience Allen Denoyer’s knowledge and instruction through video. In this segment, Allen discusses the different types of flakes—good, bad, or ugly—you might create in the process of making a projectile point. https://youtu.be/4Mr4kvD-6rk – Archaeology Southwest (opens at YouTube)
Online Resources, Events, and Opportunities to Help
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.
From the Amerind Museum: On June 20 at 11:00 AM (AZ time), join Amerind for the free online lecture “Metalwork in West Mexico: Interaction Between Mesoamerica and the American Southwest” with José Luis Punzo Díaz, PhD. This talk will present the development of metalwork in west Prehispanic Mexico and the spread of this technology in different areas. Dr. Punzo Díaz will also consider the presence of different metal objects into the north of Mexico and the American Southwest in order to understand one of the most important and clear links between these two important cultural areas. To register visit: https://bit.ly/AmerindOnline062020.
From Archaeology Café UK: Join us on Zoom for our first virtual café on Thursday, June 4, at 5:30 p.m. [British Summer Time/11:30 a.m. CDT] for “Making Prehistoric Pottery LIVE!” We will start with a brief introduction from Dr Adam Daubney before we will go live with our resident potter, Andrew MacDonald in the Pot Shop on Steep Hill, Lincoln. Andrew will tell us all about prehistoric pottery and show us how pots were made, with lots of opportunities to ask questions and get into some discussions. Book a spot through Eventbrite to get access to the Zoom meeting link: https://bit.ly/2AvTQ6y.
From the Four Corners Lecture Series, the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument: On Thursday, June 4, 4:00 p.m. MDT, Jason Nez will present an online webinar, “Sacred Landscape, Sacred People: Connections between Landscapes and Cultural Identity.” https://bit.ly/3eMNij8 (Videos of other recent talks are at Crow Canyon’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CrowCanyonConnects/videos.)
From Mesa Verde Voices: The podcast is now streaming season 3. Episodes of all three seasons are available at https://www.mesaverdevoices.org/.
From the Taos Archaeological Society: On June 9 at 5:30 p.m. MDT, Kellam Throgmorton will present “The Political Power of Landscape Change in the Chacoan World” via Zoom. More information: https://taosarch.wildapricot.org/.
Update from Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument: Beginning Monday, June 1, 2020, access to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument will be available under the following guidelines: Due to anticipated higher visitation, rangers may limit access to the dwellings to ensure social distancing can be maintained. Groups of 5 or less will be allowed in every 10-15 minutes. Once daily visitation occupancy has been reached the monument will be closed for the day. Park Rangers ask that visitors remain patient and flexible with their plans. It is recommended that visitors call before coming to visit the monument for current conditions. https://www.nps.gov/gicl
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/