It’s 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening. I just arrived home, fed the cats, fed myself, and sat down to write about my long, satisfying day out on the land. I’m glad that I first read the lengthy interview with Bruce Babbitt, one of the articles that follows. Bruce Babbitt’s story has many intersections with my day.
I spent today at Sonoran Desert National Monument (SDNM) with Archaeology Southwest staff members Aaron Wright and Chris Caseldine and three Bureau of Land Management (BLM) archaeologists. As Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt made the case for the significance of this desert landscape located just southwest of Phoenix. Then, in January 2001, President Bill Clinton used the authority granted to him by the Antiquities Act of 1906 to proclaim 496,400 acres of existing federal lands as a new national monument.
A key part of our visit to the national monument focused on the ancient Komatke trail. Travel along the trail is undertaken as part of the Akimel O’Odham Oriole Song Cycle. The general path of the trail, and where it is specifically visible on the ground, is considered a Traditional Cultural Place by the Akimel O’Odham. With funding from a grant from the Gila River Indian Community, we will document additional preserved segments of the trail on the SDNM. Then we will work with Barnaby Lewis, Gila River Indian Community’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, as well as the BLM, to explore ways to further protect this fragile ancient trail people traversed for over a millennium.
Bruce Babbitt’s interview envisions our public lands serving as places that promote unity and healing. There’s much work to be done to bring that vision to fruition. We hope our day on the land is a small step toward that goal.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Extensive Pleistocene Trackway Preserved in White Sands National Park
Several thousand years ago, a young adult moved barefoot across a muddy landscape. A toddler was balanced on the adult’s hip. There were large animals—mammoths and ground sloths—just over the horizon. It was a perilous journey, and scientists reconstructed it by closely studying an exceptional set of human and animal footprints found recently in the southwestern United States. https://nyti.ms/3or4zno – New York Times
New testing of bones and artifacts shows that Clovis tools were made only during a brief, 300-year period from 13,050 to 12,750 years ago. Michael Waters, distinguished professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, along with Texas A&M anthropologist David Carlson and Thomas Stafford of Stafford Research in Colorado, have had their new work published in the current issue of Science Advances. https://bit.ly/2HyPVcS – Heritage Daily
Michael R. Waters, Thomas W. Stafford Jr., and David L. Carlson, “The age of Clovis—13,050 to 12,750 cal yr B.P.,” Science Advances 21 Oct 2020: Vol. 6, no. 43. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz0455. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/43/eaaz0455
Continuing Coverage: Protected Places Opened to Extraction
For the Hopi, Bears Ears “is their church and altar”, said Patrick Gonzales-Rogers, the executive director of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. The Hopi and their allies sought to protect Bears Ears “in the same way you would protect the cathedral at Notre Dame”.Yet the government rode roughshod over the objections of Native Americans to cater to a handful of special interests, including the uranium mining company Energy Fuels, which lobbied to shrink the monument in the hopes of future mining opportunities, and the Sutherland Institute, a Utah thinktank. https://bit.ly/31QXqDo – The Guardian
Interview with Bruce Babbitt
Until recently, protecting the environment was a bipartisan issue for Americans. But in an era marked by bitter divides, this is no longer the case. Bruce Babbitt, former governor of Arizona and Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton Administration, believes that environmental protection can again be a unifying issue for Americans. But to get there, advocates will need to rebuild consensus around issues that have wide support, like public lands and the benefits afforded by a healthy environment, and engage stakeholders who have often been ignored. https://bit.ly/37NvHHo – Mongabay
Commentary: Standing Together for Quitobaquito
Wall construction rips away our freedom as O’odham. It erases our traditions, culture, language, songs, ceremonies and stories. Border wall construction continues 500 years of violent colonialism. It means we lose everything that makes us O’odham. https://bit.ly/31NYx6R – Hon’mana Seukteoma at the blog of the Center for Biological Diversity
Zooarchaeology Professor “Wings It”
The scent of roasted chicken fills the air in many supermarkets across San Diego. Most are bound for the dinner table, however these rotisserie favorites became the plat du jour for archaeological bone analysis in a San Diego State University anthropology class. With anthropology labs closed this fall due to COVID-19, assistant professor Nicole Mathwich had to wing it, so to speak, with a lab module on avian osteology in her zooarchaeology methods class. For the assignment, students were given instructions to bring home a rotisserie chicken, and told how to remove as much meat as possible to clean the bones, with or without heat. https://bit.ly/3oAecA6 – San Diego State University News Center
New Mexico Archaeological Council Fall Conference Registration Now Open
Registration for the 2020 NMAC Fall Conference is now available online. Registration is free provided you are a paid NMAC member. The conference will be held on Zoom on Saturday, November 7, 2020 and starts at 10:00 a.m. Mountain. http://nmarchcouncil.org/events/annual-meeting/
Reminder: Archaeology Café Welcomes Christopher Caseldine November 10
Join us on November 10, when Preservation Archaeology Postdoc Christopher Caseldine will discuss “The Flow of Water and Time: Irrigation Longevity and Social Change among the Lower Salt River Hohokam.” Chris will share findings and insights from his recent dissertation research on these ancient irrigation systems. The Zoom presentation is free, but you must register in advance. https://bit.ly/3iiJR4P – Archaeology Southwest
Video: Safford, Ancient Arizona’s Forgotten Cosmopolitan Center
Jeff Clark’s October 6 Archaeology Café presentation on “Safford, Ancient Arizona’s Forgotten Cosmopolitan Center” is now available. Additional Q & A, links to related content, and a reading list are available at the same link. https://bit.ly/2SRpdOZ – Archaeology Southwest
Podcast: Convergent Migrations of Humans and Monarch Butterflies
On this month’s podcast we have Dr. Columba Gonzalez-Duarte. Dr. Gonzalez-Duarte is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Saint Vincent University. We discuss Dr. Gonzalez-Duarte’s career studying the relationships between humans and monarch butterflies across North America. What can monarch butterflies tell us about the distribution of power, Indigenous Knowledge, internet communities, the North America Free Trade Agreement agricultural model, and DACA and the Dreamers? https://bit.ly/35H37Vo – Heritage Voices
Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. Gather follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river. https://gather.film/ Editors’ note: The film may be streamed for a nominal fee. Other resources, stories, and information about screenings are available at the same link.
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 email@example.com.
From the Arizona Archaeological Council: The AAC Board would like to thank all those who participated in the 2020 Fall Virtual Conference this past Friday. We would also like to thank those people who presented and helped to make this conference so special, especially those who contributed to Douglas Craig’s memorial session. For anyone that would like to view or download a recording of the conference, links are available on the AAC Website: https://bit.ly/2Hw0MEY
From Crow Canyon Archaeological Center: On October 29 at 4:00 p.m. MDT, Steve Nash will present “An Embarrassment of Riches: Large Tree-Ring Datasets and the Reconstruction of Pre-Columbian History in the Southwest.” More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3ozWpt9
From the Institute for American Indian Studies: On October 30 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, a roundtable will discuss “Martians, Atlanteans, and Lost Tribes: Pseudo-archaeology and Its Impact on Native American Studies.” More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3kzVHcJ
From the Prescott-Yavapai Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society: Don Simonis’s September 16 presentation “Bears Ears Matters” is now available (opens at YouTube): https://youtu.be/VUZaVipIZ2k
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/