These are uncomfortable times. Even deeply discouraging times.
But momentum toward change is palpable.
To minimize discouragement, this week we dropped several links to articles on the business-as-usual of the administration and various federal agencies. And, looking forward, we feature the release of a new online tool—cyberSW—that facilitates sharing more than a century of information-gathering by archaeologists.
We also share an essay by Indigenous scholar and author Robin Wall Kimmerer, whose work I enjoy immensely. I encourage you to read it. In it, she says (emphasis added by me):
“Native people have a different term for public lands: we call them home. …Here is the question we must at last confront: Is land merely a source of belongings, or is it the source of our most profound sense of belonging? We can choose.”
Kimmerer’s words—as with other incisive and affecting essays I’ve read this past week—have been on my mind ever since. They were on my mind each time I rankled at that latest business-as-usual I mentioned above—loss of protections for another national monument, regulatory rollbacks and proposals that imperil natural and cultural landscapes and sacred places.
Who are we as a nation? Who will we be? What do we value? What must we value?
We can choose.
Kimmerer closes her essay with this: “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?”
I’m hopeful that with greater empathy and greater knowledge, we can create the changes we clearly so desperately need. Let’s be open. Let’s act.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Introducing cyberSW 1.0
We are pleased to officially launch the cyberSW knowledge discovery system (www.cybersw.org). CyberSW is a collaborative online software platform with tools for searching, exploring, and analyzing the pre-Hispanic archaeological record of the U.S. Southwest and Northwest Mexico. Stimulating research and dialogue among archaeologists, scholars from other disciplines, tribal members, land managers from various government agencies, and the interested public is the project’s key goal. We invite you to check it out, and we welcome your comments and suggestions. Help us make cyberSW even better and more useful. https://bit.ly/2XLfmxr – Jeff Clark, Barbara Mills, Matt Peeples, Scott Ortman, and Sudha Ram at the Preservation Archaeology blog
The Archaeological Conservancy Celebrates 40 Years
[Mark] Michel approached Patrick Noonan, then president of The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental organization that purchases land in order to preserve it, about also purchasing archaeological sites. “He thought it was a great idea, but he didn’t want to do it,” Michel said. Instead, Noonan showed Michel how to use The Nature Conservancy as a model to start a new preservation organization: The Archaeological Conservancy. https://bit.ly/30ryhPu
Essay: Greed Does Not Have to Define Our Relationship to Land
Americans keep acting surprised by the daily assaults on American values once thought unassailable. I can’t speak for all Native people, but we’ve smelled that carrion breath before. We know who this is, the one whose hunger is never slaked—the more he consumes, the hungrier he grows. https://bit.ly/3cKYriZ – Robin Wall Kimmerer at LitHub
2020 Pecos Conference Canceled
For the safety and well-being of organizers, volunteers, vendors, and participants, Pecos Conference 2020 is cancelled in response to the COVID19 pandemic, just as Pecos was not held in response to the Great Depression and World War II. Organizer Chuck Riggs made the decision with the unanimous support of the Board of Directors of Southwestern Archaeology, Inc. https://www.pecosconference.org/
Social Transformations and Foodways in the Past
Flaky, crispy, paper-thin bread. Primarily made from blue corn flour, juniper tree ash and water, piki is maize flatbread and a staple of traditional Hopi cuisine. As people in what is now the southwestern U.S. went from living in small family units to larger villages and towns during the 13th and 14th centuries, women spent more time cooking more piki for more people. It is a telling example of the link between foodways and social transformation in the Cibola region during the time period, according to award-winning research by Arizona State University researcher Sarah Oas. https://bit.ly/3hfouSD – Arizona State University
Continuing Coverage and Commentary: Grazing Plans for Sonoran Desert National Monument Need a “Do-Over”
On Friday, June 5, Archaeology Southwest submitted formal comments to the Lower Sonoran Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the agency’s draft resource management plan to open more than 255,000 acres in the north unit of the Sonoran Desert Monument (SDNM) to livestock grazing. The comments were prepared by William H. Doelle, President and CEO; John R. Welch, Landscape and Site Preservation Program Director; and Aaron Wright, Preservation Archaeologist. https://bit.ly/2Uoitt2 – Archaeology Southwest
Call for Editor: Advances in Archaeological Practice
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) invites applications for the editorship of Advances in Archaeological Practice—the most recently established journal published by the Society, currently in its 8th volume. The term is for three years and may be renewed once with the approval of the Publications Committee and Board. The editor position falls vacant on April 1, 2022, when the current editors, Sarah Herr, Christina Rieth, and Sjoerd van der Linde, complete their terms. The editorship is preceded by a one-year transition with the current editors, beginning with the editor-designate’s appointment in Spring 2021 until the start of the new editor’s term in Spring 2022. Deadline: January 1, 2021. https://bit.ly/30qjtRl
Video: Interview with Dr. Kelley Hays-Gilpin and Paul Reed
KSJE morning program host Scott Michlin welcomed Reed for his monthly interview, and they were joined by special guest Dr. Kelley Hays-Gilpin (Northern Arizona University). The group discussed her work as co-chair of the Society for American Archaeology’s Task Force on Sexual and Anti-Harassment Policies and Procedures, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession. https://youtu.be/YRHKC_wXTJw
Video: How Did People Make and Use Stone Tools? Part IV: Reduction
In this segment, ancient technologies expert Allen Denoyer shows how he reduces a core into flakes that he will then make into tools. https://youtu.be/fXOpaDNPrzM – Archaeology Southwest (opens at YouTube)
Blog: Shining a Light on OSL
Most people know that archaeologists regularly use carbon-14 (also called radiocarbon) to date materials they find. While radiocarbon dating revolutionized archaeology and remains the most common dating method in the discipline, it is not the only method available. One alternative is optically stimulated luminescence. But what is optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), other than a mouthful? https://desert.com/OSL/ – Caleb E. Ferbrache at the Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.)
When I began preparations for the first Archaeology Southwest field school 14 years ago, I was filled with excitement. I had recently moved to Hendrix College in Arkansas, where I still teach, and was thrilled at the opportunity to return to the Southwest. It is noteworthy that the project began with a relationship: I provided students and supervision, and Archaeology Southwest provided logistics, connections, and support. https://bit.ly/2MvBiGj – Brett Hill at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Blog: At Home
Home, to me, is the Sonoran Desert. Where on a breezy day, I can hear the wind whistling through the saguaro needles. Where I can smell the creosote, which is what the entirety of southern Arizona smells like when it rains. I’m not home without roadrunners and rattlesnakes; tumbleweeds and tarantulas; palo verdes and prickly pears; mountains and mesquite. For me, “sense of place” evokes feelings of home, and home for me means the low desert. https://bit.ly/37o2BfC – Leslie Aragon at the Preservation Archaeology blog
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: Award-winning architect Bob Vint has served as Amerind’s architect for nearly 20 years. Mr. Vint has received many accolades for his work on historic buildings, including from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In this interview with Amerind’s Eric Kaldahl, Mr. Vint explores his history with Amerind and the important considerations that went into designing the museum’s new heating and cooling system. https://youtu.be/jYjg8Sy4A9o
From Canyons of the Ancients National Monument: During the summer, the museum typically offers behind-the-scenes guided tours of its archives, artifacts, and research center. This video is part one of three virtual tours to experience the work involved in curating more than three million artifacts. https://youtu.be/now-XFLae2A
From Crow Canyon Archaeological Center: On Thursday, June 11, at 4:00 p.m. MDT, Dr. Steve Lekson will present a free webinar, “Mimbres: Dimples, Slip-Slop, and Clapboard – What They Are and Why They Matter.” More information and registration: https://bit.ly/30sfWSK
From Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project: Friday, June 12, at 2:00 p.m. MDT, Chat with the Archaeologist! with Chester Liwosz. This week’s topic: Archaeoastronomy. This event will stream on our YouTube channel – please join us there as Chester will take questions in the comments section. On YouTube: https://youtu.be/sZlI__-xNL4
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/