Working from home since mid-March has taken its toll. I had a chance to break out for almost 24 hours, and it was almost heavenly. On this last day of June, I went to Gila Bend and a bit beyond. (I realize you are all incredibly jealous! The weather was even unseasonably cool—only 99°F, or maybe 100.)
And I got to direct the surveyor on some 20 acres Archaeology Southwest is adding to an important site preserve we hold. It was a very tangible reminder of why it has been worth sitting at home and doing Preservation Archaeology via Zoom to negotiate the acquisition. Today was the energizer I needed.
I hope that all of you can find a safe way to find some renewing activity as we enter the second half of what has been a pretty unpleasant year.
The news in today’s issue won’t be that personal refresher. You’ll have to seek that elsewhere. But today’s stories show how many people are continuing to value important places of the past even in tough times. And we’ll keep on doing so, no matter what the second half of 2020 sends our way.
Take care. We’re thinking about you,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Commentary: Lessons, not Warnings, from the Past
People are turning to the past to contextualize the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 racial injustice and anti-police violence uprisings. But doom-and-gloom predictions or overly hopeful takes are often simplistic comparisons between the past and now. Our research has shown that while events like pandemics and social unrest cause suffering, they also create opportunities for people to create more just systems. At the same time, people profiting off the old system will be using these crises to their advantage as well. https://bit.ly/3dLZjEn – Jakob Sedig and Lewis Borck at Culturico
Panel Discussion on Archaeology in the Time of Black Lives Matter
A panel discussion held on Thursday June 25th 2020. Facilitated by Maria Franklin PhD (University of Texas) & Justin Dunnavant PhD (Vanderbilt University). With Alexandra Jones PhD (Archaeology in the Community Inc.), Alicia Odewale PhD (University of Tulsa) & Tsione Wolde-Michael (Curator, Smithsonian). Chaired by Ayana Flewellen PhD (University of California Berkeley). Sponsored by the Society of Black Archaeologists, Theoretical Archaeology Group (North America), and Columbia University Center for Archaeology. https://bit.ly/38gXUVp (link opens at Vimeo)
Montezuma Castle National Monument to Helicopter Tours: You’re Too Close
In May and June, park rangers noticed tour helicopters flying dangerously close to the Montezuma Castle cliff dwelling. In doing so, the pilots were risking serious damage to the site’s ancient architecture. Studies show that rotor vibrations from close-flying helicopters can cause serious problems. At Montezuma Castle, these vibrations could easily damage or destroy 850-year-old wooden ceilings and masonry walls. https://bit.ly/2Z81psZ – Montezuma Castle National Monument (news release)
Commentary: But Which Monuments?
Trump announced on Twitter that he had “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison.” Effective immediately, he added, but “may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused.” But it is Trump who has done the most damage to national monuments, dismantling or desecrating four federally protected land and water sites with significant cultural, archeological and natural resources. https://bit.ly/2AlU9RW – Chris D’Angelo in High Country News
Commentary: Tribes Are Key to Protecting Public Land
The qualities of these landscapes that made them worthy of protection would not exist without the centuries of stewardship by the original indigenous inhabitants. And we could not protect places like Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon and other national parks without the collaboration with tribal allies. https://bit.ly/31vhmvZ – Ernie Atencio in the Arizona Republic
Commentary: What’s at Stake at Oak Flat
On Thanksgiving Day 2019, Wendsler Nosie, a San Carlos Apache who has served his people as a tribal council member and chairman, began a three-day walk from his house on the San Carlos Apache Reservation to Oak Flat, a traditional sacred Apache place now within the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. A stately and ancient grove linked to an oasis-like riparian corridor in the northeastern Sonoran Desert, Oak Flat is replete with historic cultural evidence and handed-down stories of residence and reliance by Apaches and other Native Americans. https://bit.ly/3ijPP6X – Counterpunch
Archaeology Southwest’s Landscape and Site Preservation Program Director John R. Welch contributed to this article.
How Repatriation Happens
NAGPRA, enacted in 1990, requires all institutions, from museums to county sheriff’s departments, that accept federal funding and who have human remains, funerary, ceremonial or sacred items, and objects of cultural patrimony in their care to develop inventories, said Arizona State Museum Director Patrick Lyons. The National Park Service and tribal communities receive these inventories and summaries to be used during the repatriation process. https://bit.ly/2BgDgZt – Arizona Republic (azcentral.com)
Feature on the Veterans Curation Program
“I never thought I’d be doing anything like this,” said Kenneth McNeill, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He also spent three years in the reserves and now is a part of the “Veterans Curation Program,” which provides training in archiving and archaeology. https://bit.ly/2NIfHLB – Fox17 West Michigan
Video: Emil W. Haury Interview
AAHS Roots of Southwestern Archaeology Oral History Program announces a recently edited video of Emil W. Haury originally interviewed by J. Jefferson Reid and filmed September 1988 by Arizona Public Media. The video resurrects usable footage from the archives. In this first part of three, Haury discusses developing the research program at the University of Arizona in the 1930s, early collaboration with the Tohono O’odham Nation and excavating and surveying at Ventana Cave, Whitewater Draw, the Grand Canyon and other sites. https://bit.ly/EWHaury1 – Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society
Video: How Did People Make and Use Stone Tools? Part VII: Pressure Flaking
In this segment, Allen Denoyer demonstrates the process of pressure flaking and adding a notch to projectile point. https://youtu.be/OZPPG7HHGlA – Archaeology Southwest (opens at YouTube)
Blog: Approaches to Geomasking
The locations of some archaeological sites are legally restricted, while the sharing of other site locations is at the discretion of the researcher, unit, agency, or institution. How do we balance legal and ethical obligations to obscure sensitive archaeological sites and continue to share the insights provided by geospatial technology? Much like public health, archaeologists heavily – and often implicitly – rely on two geomasking techniques: aggregation and low-resolution mapping. https://bit.ly/2Afcd04 – Cecilia Smith at the Cambridge Core blog
Online Resources, Events, and Opportunities to Help
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 American Rock Art Association: Please join ARARA for a Zoom presentation on Saturday, July 11, at 5:30 PDT. Dr. Karen Steelman, Science Director at Shumla Archaeological Research & Educational Center, will be presenting on how chemistry can be used to study the archaeology of rock paintings, with a focus on radiocarbon dating methods and portable X-ray instrumentation for Lower Pecos rockart. Registration link: https://arara.wildapricot.org/Lectures/
From Mesa Verde Voices: In this episode, we hear more about the metaphors associated with turquoise from Lyle Balenquah, Hopi archaeologist; we hear about the use of turquoise in places like Chaco Canyon from archaeologist Patricia Crown; and we hear about a very rare artifact sometimes found in the Southwest (one closely related to turquoise) from Jonathan Till, Curator of Collections at Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum. https://www.mesaverdevoices.org/turquoise
From University of Utah Press: On July 15 at 10:00 Pacific, join editors Marit Munson and Kelley Hays-Gilpin along with David Witt and Will Russell as they discuss the book Color in the Ancestral Pueblo Southwest. For more information and to sign up, click here: https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/book-launch-color-in-the-ancestral-pueblo-southwest/
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/