I ended last week’s note with a call: Let’s get to work!
This week, I’d like to take a big-picture view of the work that needs doing.
I find the latest issue of Scientific American very helpful. The editors identify the four most pressing science priorities for the new president: Controlling COVID, Committing to Climate, Reestablishing Reality, and Restoring Expertise.
Controlling COVID is an obvious first. COVID puts severe constraints on what any of us, as people or organizations, can do to “get to work.” At minimum, we all can wear masks, get vaccinated, and otherwise help advance controlling COVID.
As someone with more than five decades of commitment to scientific research, the final two priorities certainly resonate with me. The Scientific American articles in the February 2021 edition (available for a single-issue digital subscription) recognize the need to “agree on the evidence” as the baseline condition for disagreeing on “what to do in light of it.” And they see an urgent need to bring expertise back to government.
I have saved climate for a more extended comment.
As you know, I’ve touched on climate change here before. Scientific American says, simply, “One word sums up what the Biden administration must do to address climate change: restart.” I celebrated the administration’s immediate move to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. In the audio book I’m currently listening to, The Future We Choose, by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, they state, “Climate change dwarfs and encompasses any other issue we may care about.”
It’s an issue I will return to again—and again—going forward. There are many direct links to impacts to archaeology, but it’s about much, much more. Sally Jewell, former Secretary of the Interior in the Obama administration, addresses it in an audio interview in today’s offerings.
In addition, Jewell solidly endorses Representative Deb Haaland’s nomination as Secretary of Interior. Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna.
Over the past two weeks, I have shared my optimism with you. I haven’t lost it yet. The four priorities called out in Scientific American highlight the magnitude of our challenges and underscore the importance of our effort to move these priorities forward.
That’s the reality (and the motivation) behind my saying, again—
Friends, I’m beside you, and let’s get to work.
An Enlightening and Hopeful Conversation with Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
In the latest episode of CWP’s The Landscape, a conversation with former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about President Biden’s executive order on climate change, the threat of anti-public lands extremists, and how to build coalitions and consensus through listening. Host Aaron Weiss at the Center for Western Priorities | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Restoring Bears Ears
Bears Ears is unique in that five tribes produced the proposal for the monument that Obama created under authority of the Antiquities Act. Tribes had never before been given a role like that in the creation of a national monument, and they were also supposed to play a major role in managing it. “Nobody knows those acres better than these tribes,” says Charles Wilkinson, a colleague of mine at the University of Colorado, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on Indian law and natural resources law. “They have experience there for hundreds of generations.” Tom Yulsman in Discover Magazine | Read More >>
Economics Studies Support National Monuments
Critics of national monuments often argue that monument designations hurt local economies by restricting valuable resource extraction activities and livestock grazing on federal lands. … But this “environment versus jobs” dichotomy is misplaced and outdated. Both of us have conducted separate and independent research related to the economic impacts of national monument designation, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and our findings simply do not show that monuments have hurt local economies. On the contrary, our research convincingly concludes that national monument designations have had statistically significant positive effects on several measures of local economic performance and zero effect on others. Margaret A. Walls and Paul Jakus in Resources | Read More >>
Commentary: Start with the Parks
Like the national parks themselves, park landscapes are unique. While surrounding lands are often already public lands, many are privately owned or are Tribal lands. Just as a “30 by 30” plan should connect parks and their landscapes, it must also connect all these stakeholders to collaboratively determine how best to protect and use the lands. Theresa Pierno in The Hill | Read More >>
Roads and Public Lands in Utah
On January 25, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear arguments related to Kane County, Utah, v. the United States, thereby upholding an earlier ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. By confirming the right of environmental groups to intervene in counties’ lawsuits to claim title to roads crossing public lands, the decision dealt a major blow to the counties and their long-running fight for control over public lands in their midst. Jonathan P. Thompson at The Land Desk | Read More >>
In Memoriam: Vaughn Bryant (1940–2021)
Jacob Butler Is New Chair at Native Seeds/SEARCH
Butler has a big presence in the Community, having served as Community garden coordinator for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community for 16 years. His knowledge of the plants, culture, ancestors and art of tribal communities led him to this leadership role. One of Butler’s goals is to bring more Native and Indigenous voices into the Native Seeds/SEARCH board, which, for the longest time, has been a group of non-Indigenous people deciding on how the organization’s seed collection is utilized and how various tribal communities have a relationship with the organization. Having more Indigenous peoples’ voices is important to Butler, and he is working on bringing that into the conversation. Chris Picciuolo at O’Odham Action News | Read More >>
Archaeology Southwest was honored to host an Archaeology Café with Ron Carlos and Jacob Butler in 2015 (sound quality is vintage). View Here >>
Commentary: Keep Your Hands to Yourself
We also go much farther than appropriation as we destroy what we want to imitate. Modern graffiti is often deposited over centuries-old rock art, and in some parts of the country, rock art has been used for target practice. Stacking up rocks, painting rocks, scratching poetry into the walls—it’s all part of the “look at me!” culture. Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff in the Herald Journal | Read More >>
Commentary: Rename Coronado Historic Site
Today the ancient Tiwa Pueblo at Kuaua has a museum and visitor center. The name, Coronado State Monument, was changed to its current name, Coronado Historic Site, by the state of New Mexico. In August 2017, a metal detection survey revealed evidence of such metal artifacts as lead balls, crossbow arrow tips, copper and chain mail armor. New discoveries by archaeologist Clay Matthews confirm Coronado’s presence in 1540. … It is only right that a demand be made to change the name of the Coronado Historic Site to its original name Tiwa name of Kuaua. Manu Rainbird in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read More >>
Announcing the 2021 Preservation Archaeology Field School
Join Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona this summer for the 2021 season of our Preservation Archaeology Field School in Cliff, New Mexico, May 24–July 5 (pending a rigorous COVID safety review by the university). Archaeology Southwest | Read More >>
Blog: A Tonto Basin Journey
The impressive cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument have awed the public and archaeologists alike since the late 1800s, but the monument is more than multistory adobe structures perched on the edges of caves. Below the dwellings are fieldhouse and multi-room sites with coursed-stone masonry walls. Those structures were the focus of my work on the monument, and they soon became the first step in my Tonto Basin research journey. Chris Caseldine at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
Podcast Series: Canyon of Contention
Across five episodes, the first season of Site Bites, hosted by Carlton Gover (featuring Rob Weiner), considers Chaco in “Canyon of Contention.” S1E1: “What is Chaco? Location, Features, and Chronology” with Rich Friedman. S1E2: “Origins of Chaco—Who were the Chacoans and where did they come from?” with Dr. Cathy Cameron. S1E3: “Major Debates in Chacoan Archaeology” with Paul Reed. S1E4: “‘Chaco’ after Chaco” with Dr. Steve Lekson. S1E5: “Descendant Communities’ Perspectives” with Patrick Cruz. Site Bites at the Archaeology Podcast Network | Read More >>
Publication Announcement: Hydroclimate Variability
“Hydroclimate Variability Influenced Social Interaction in the Prehistoric American Southwest,” by Nicolas Gauthier, Frontiers in Earth Science 8, 2021. Read Here >>
Reminder: Feb. 3 Webinar (Today): Fugitive Archaeological Spaces
Over the past year, we have seen renewed organizing amongst Black and Indigenous heritage professionals as well as the emergence of new collectives globally. These efforts have led to new initiatives around capacity building, community engagement, and decolonizing research methodologies. In this panel members of these new and emerging organizations will discuss their genesis, initiatives, as well as challenges and opportunities associated with empowering their communities in archaeology and heritage preservation. Society of Black Archaeologists, Indigenous Archaeology Collective, Archaeological Research Center at UC Santa Cruz, Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and SAPIENS | More information and Zoom registration >>
Feb. 4 Webinar: Macrohistory of Human Demography in the Pre-Hispanic Greater Southwest
The pre-Hispanic Greater Southwest was characterized by cycles of demographic and organizational change. Large tree-ring datasets provide absolute chronologies for these cycles on macrohistorical scales. The geographic scale of this macrohistory depends on the spatial coverage of tree-ring datasets. Radiocarbon data have a wider spatial coverage across the Greater Southwest and could therefore enhance the geographic scale of this demographic and organizational macrohistory. However, as with any archaeological data, radiocarbon data are subject to numerous biases caused by differential preservation of sample materials, field research intensities, and the specific organizational forms of past societies. Dr. Erick Robinson’s work addresses these various biases by developing a new method for comparing different demographic proxy data. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More information and Zoom registration >>
ICYMI: Visit Crow Canyon’s video archive of recent presentations >>
Feb. 10 Webinar: Mogollon Archaeology Near Reserve, New Mexico
The San Juan Basin Archaeological Society will welcome Dr. Steve Nash for “Mogollon Archaeology Near Reserve, New Mexico: A Journey from Chicago to Denver and Beyond.” More information and Zoom registration >>
Job Opportunity: Amerind Foundation
The Amerind Foundation of Dragoon, Arizona, seeks a dynamic individual to serve as the Associate Curator of Collections & Exhibitions. This is a full time position. Salary, depending on experience, will be between $52,000 and $63,000 plus benefits. The Associate Curator will oversee and manage the Amerind Foundation collections and develop historical, cultural, fine art exhibitions, and other programming. For more information, call Amerind at 520-586-3666, or visit Amerind’s website >>
Job Opportunity: Archaeologist, BLM Field Office, El Centro CA
If you have questions, please contact me and I would be happy to answer any about the job or the area in general. Carrie L. Sahagun, Assistant Field Manager, BLM El Centro Field Office, (760) 337-4437.
Notice: National Park Service Issues Mask Mandate
Face masks are now required in all NPS buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks and historic homes. Additional public health measures are in place across the service, from capacity limits to one-way trails, or even temporary closures in response to local conditions. National Parks Traveler | Read More >>
Notice from Jeff Romney: 2021 Jornada Mogollon Archaeology Conference
The next Jornada Mogollon Archaeology Conference will be October 15–16, 2021. This conference will most likely be virtual/online due to COVID-19. We are currently working with the City’s IT department in developing these plans. If, however, we find ourselves in a greatly improved and safer environment by the first part of September, we may consider holding the conference on site as normal. We would, of course, implement official guidelines for health and safety as they are relevant at that time. Please contact me directly with any questions, comments, or concerns. The best way to reach me is at Romneyjk@elpasotexas dot gov.