The Fourth of July traditionally ends our Preservation Archaeology Field School. It’s a partnership with the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology, and we are based in Cliff, New Mexico.
We have funding from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which promotes undergraduate participation in scientific research. Our field school is committed to increasing the diversity of views represented in archaeology. We prioritize applications from students at community colleges and smaller colleges and universities, and from students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives that are traditionally underrepresented in archaeology.
A year ago, we had to tell our students who had recently been accepted for the 2020 field school that COVID-19 was forcing cancellation. We carried those admissions forward to 2021, but some students had, understandably, moved on. And to provide opportunities for new applicants, we bumped up our admission numbers for 2021.
Today’s newsletter provides links to blog posts from this year’s students (more in next week’s edition). Writing a blog post for general readers is a requirement of the course. What I always find satisfying is how students view their posts as an opportunity.
Because we draw from such geographically diverse areas, most of our students have little prior experience of the Desert Southwest. And most have never been a “captive” part of a small community for an extended period of time—let alone part of a just-formed community embedded within an unfamiliar rural community.
This year’s students arrived after more than a year of COVID impacts to their own lives. One’s undergraduate years are supposed to be a time of maximum exploration and growth—kind of hard to do under quarantine.
I hope you appreciate our students’ blog posts. They are quite open in sharing their thoughts and feelings—an incredible gift to us. Happily, the opportunity to spend long hours and days in a small, tightly interacting community seems to have been a healthy antidote to 2020.
You will also see clearly that the pandemic and its impacts aren’t easily erased.
On Sunday, my wife and I drove out to the field school to spend our July 4th celebration and final field school day with our students. Their camaraderie was uplifting. The obvious engagement with the challenges of their world was heartening.
I am always greatly buoyed by the energy and enthusiasm of our field school students. This year, that energy and enthusiasm were there, but they were also restrained, tempered by the realities of students’ COVID experiences.
I see this as a stage in a process. I am encouraged by the leap forward that most students readily made as they re-entered an intensely communal environment. And I am encouraged by the maturity they seemed to be processing out of their COVID experiences.
Empathy. Realism. Sociality. A dose of optimism.
I saw this in our field school students.
They bolster my optimism. They are showing the resilience we all need to take up in order to take on the challenges of our near- and medium-term future.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. We really need your help if you want us to get the word out. Remember—it’s your word! And we really do want to share it. So, please submit news, events, video and podcast links, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration. It makes it so much easier for us to bring you this news digest every week. Questions?
Commentary: An Earlier Revolution
Like its Eastern Seaboard counterpart, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was a resistance movement against a colonial entity that was mistreating, even abusing, its colonial subjects to a level of desperation that resulted in the violent overthrow of a major world power. One could argue the revolt was even more remarkable in that Indigenous people took on the might and power of Spain in New Mexico and were victorious. Rob Martinez in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read More >>
How Archaeologists Help Battle Wildfires
When flames from wildfires rip through native lands, it not only threatens people’s homes and businesses but historical sites that tell our country’s history. “These places are important reflections of who we are, that ground us and keep us humble in this changing world,” said Jason Nez, a wildfire archaeologist. KNXV News (ABC15 Phoenix) | Read More >>
Video is also available at that link. Thanks to Cherie Freeman for bringing this story to our attention.
TONIGHT, JULY 7: Plants for Food and Birds: Summer Bounty and Traditions from the Onk Akimel/Va shlyay (Salt River Community)
Join Audubon Southwest for a new seasonal webinar series focused on our Plants for Birds. Community Science Manager, Cathy Wise, and community experts present on different topics such as soil health, seed saving, and more. For our summer program, we will be joined by Gary Owens of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to discuss summer harvest and native plants as food for birds and people. This presentation focuses on harvesting Sonoran Desert native foods using community traditions that work in harmony with the desert ecosystem. Audubon Southwest | More Information and Webinar Registration >>
Flock to the 2021–2022 Archaeology Café
This season, we’ll be learning all about avian archaeology! From ceremony and comestible to clothing and companionship, our winged friends have always held significance in our lives. In the ancient Southwest, as elsewhere, human-avian relationships had important social, ritual, economic, and political dimensions. Come explore these complex relationships by examining bird remains, feather textiles, painted pottery, petroglyphs, and more, with our guest experts as your guides. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn More >>
Scientists: Rock Varnish Results from Bacteria, Adaptation to Desert Sun
In some spots, if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon … [petroglyphs] carved into the stain. For years, however, researchers have understood more about the petroglyphs than the mysterious dark stain, called rock varnish, in which they were drawn. In particular, science has yet to come to a conclusion about where rock varnish, which is unusually rich in manganese, comes from. Now, scientists at the California Institute of Technology, the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and elsewhere think they have an answer. According to a recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, rock varnish is left behind by microbial communities that use manganese to defend against the punishing desert sun. Sciencedaily dot com | Read More >>
Open-access article at PNAS >>
Heitman and Van Dyke’s New Co-Edited Volume Explores and Advocates for the Greater Chaco Landscape
Most recently, [Heitman] co-edited the new book “The Greater Chaco Landscape: Ancestors, Scholarship and Advocacy” with Ruth Van Dyke, professor of anthropology at Binghamton University in New York. “The Greater Chaco Landscape” is unique in that it is a published volume but also exists as an open access volume online through the University Press of Colorado. The website also houses extra features related to the book and the work preceding it, such as films with Indigenous people, including members of the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni and Acoma tribes, speaking about their ancestors and their connection to the landscapes; films and digital resources regarding the technology used to map the ancient architecture and roads; and conference videos about the sites from anthropological perspectives. Deann Gayman in Nebraska Today (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) | Read More >>
Amerind Series Book on Spanish Colonialism Is Now Open Access
Thanks to the University of Arizona Press and the non-profit Knowledge Unlatched, the recent University of Arizona Press Amerind Series book The Global Spanish Empire, edited by Christine Beaule (University of Hawaii) and John Douglass (SRI and University of Arizona), is now available as Open Access. This book, including scholars from around the world, studies the impact of Spanish colonialism on both Indigenous peoples and foreign colonists, focusing on the concepts of place-making and cultural plurality in these colonial contexts. University of Arizona Press and Knowledge Unlatched | More Information and “Read Online” Link >>
Continuing Coverage: Repatriation at UC Berkeley
[Transcript] Linda Haverty Rugg: Thank you, Susan. I was asked to speak today, as you may have guessed, because I’m a long-term instructor for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and also because I now occupy a position in the administration, where I’m part of an effort to change a long pattern of delay and obstruction on the part of the university, and frustration and hurt and righteous anger on the part of Native Americans regarding repatriation. Susan Hoffman and Linda Haverty Rugg for Berkeley Talks | Learn More >>
Audio is also available at that link.
Chief Standing Bear’s Tomahawk Returning to Ponca Tribe
Harvard University has said that it will return a tomahawk that belonged to Chief Standing Bear to the Ponca tribe of Nebraska, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday. In a statement, the university’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology shared that it is working with the Ponca tribe to return the tomahawk to its rightful owners. … Chief Standing Bear was arrested in 1878 by federal authorities for leaving his reservation to bury his son. In a landmark trial, Standing Bear successfully fought for the rights of Native Americans’ recognition as people, according to the AP. Olafimihan Oshin in The Hill | Read More >>
In Memoriam: Rex Tilousi, Havasupai Elder and Advocate
If you had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Tilousi, you know he will always be remembered as a well-respected leader who spoke eloquently and passionately about the true history of the Grand Canyon and what that meant to the Havasupai people. He reminded us of a time when the people lived peacefully above the canyon in their vast traditional lands. He also stressed the importance of water and how it sustained life in the Grand Canyon for all living beings. There was beauty, strength, and resiliency in his words as he spoke about the land he grew up on. Sarana Riggs at the blog of the Grand Canyon Trust | Read More >>
In Memoriam: Gerald Kelso
Gerald grew up and attended school in Newton, Kansas. He first knew he wanted to be an archaeologist when he was 12 years old. He marched into the living room of his childhood home and announced it to everyone, but he said, at the time he did not know the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist! After graduation from high school, he attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, graduating with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1961. He completed a Masters in Anthropology in 1971 at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Obituary at dignitymemorial dot com | Read More >>
Dispatches from the Preservation Archaeology Field School
People Questions, Sam Rosenbaum, Montana State University >>
Cottontails, Skunks, and Scorpions—Oh My! Guinevive Halstead-Johnson, George Mason University >>
My Journey, London Booker, Howard University >>
Gaining Confidence, Mason Bolaño, Franklin and Marshall College >>
Sense of Displacement, Kathrine Taylor, Cochise College >>
Arqueología: Entendiendo nuestro pasado para abrazar nuestro future, Josué Cortijo Contreras, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras >>
The Transcendent Experience of Preservation Archaeology, Ruijie Yao, University of Arizona >>
REMINDER: July 8 Webinar: Patterns and Results of Large-Scale Cultural Inventories in Southeast Utah
With Ryan Spittler. The Cedar Mesa area of southeast Utah contains a dense concentration of well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites. Recently, Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants documented over 30 archaeological sites in Road Canyon, most of which have been documented for the first time. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: July 13 Webinar: Indigenous Woman Coming Through
Pima County (AZ) Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly (Tohono O’odham) presents “Indigenous Woman Coming Through: How I went from Educator and Community Organizer to Elected Official.” She will discuss the significance of her wins as a nontraditional candidate in 2020 primary and general elections, what inspired her to run, unexpected barriers faced, and what she and her staff are now working on. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center (Indigenous Interests Series) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: July 15 Webinar: Talking Turkey
National Park Service archeologist Sharlot Hart presents “Talking Turkey: Domestic Turkeys in the US Southwest’s Archeological Record (and a Little on Them Today).” She will recount the often-surprising history of turkey domestication and husbandry in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest starting about 1 CE. Spoiler: It wasn’t all about food! Old Pueblo Archaeology Center (Third Thursday Food for Thought Series) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
July 15 Webinar: Scarlet Macaws, Long-Distance Exchange, and Placemaking
With Christopher Schwartz. This talk explores the long-distance acquisition, circulation, and use of scarlet macaws in the pre-Hispanic U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest, including the reasons for procuring these multifaceted animals, their significance in processes of placemaking and widespread social transformations, and their continued importance to descendant communities in this region. The Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
July 22 Webinar: A Closer Look at the Big Picture: Great House Community Dynamics at Aztec Ruins National Monument
With Lori Stephens Reed, Aron J. Adams, and Jeffery T. Wharton. With completion of an archaeological inventory for all property within the monument boundary, the story of the Aztec great houses and the people who built these grand structures has expanded. Utilizing several analytical tools, such as ceramic mean dating, tree-ring dating, architectural attributes, and GIS resulting from the inventory and past excavation projects, the presenters propose a settlement history for the Aztec great houses and community. LIVE ONLY: This presentation will not be available on YouTube. Aztec Ruins National Monument and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>