I find that even a tiny surprise can fuel an adrenalin boost. Please indulge my personal bird boost.
Last night, Dr. Katelyn Bishop presented a wonderful Archaeology Café (video coming soon) on the importance of birds in Chaco Canyon. A day earlier, Katelyn had logged in with us for our standard pre-Cafe technology check.
That’s when she revealed a tiny surprise.
She wanted to test a fairly complex graphic to ensure the large file size didn’t bog down the Internet. It comprised images of the diverse array of birds known archaeologically from Chaco.
I squinted at one of the smaller birds. “Katelyn, is that a Cedar Waxwing?”
Yes, it was.
Me, astonished: “Cedar Waxwings were recovered from Chaco?”
Yes, they were.
I grew up in southern Michigan. Every winter, we kept a well-stocked birdfeeder outside the windows where we gathered for breakfast, lunch, and even most dinners. And, even in winter, Cedar Waxwings often appeared in our yard.
Cedar Waxwings have a unique visual essence. If ever there was a bird who was “well-groomed,” I would say it was a Cedar Waxwing. Not a feather out of place. My birders’ guidebooks call their appearance “silky.” (My co-editor Kate says they are “dapper.”)
Those guidebooks also showed me that Cedar Waxwings are much more widely distributed than my personal experience with them had indicated.
Most rewarding about this adrenalin boost was my opportunity to imagine how a denizen of Chaco might have responded to this special bird over a millennium ago.
I’ll never know, but it is wonderful to imagine.
One perceptive member of our vast audience at last night’s Café asked what might be learned by exploring alternative ways to group and classify the birds found archaeologically at Chaco.
I find it very satisfying that our relationship with birds can expand our thinking about relationships of the past.
Thanks, Katelyn, and thanks to all of our Avian Archaeology participants.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Bears Ears by R. E. Burrillo
Utah Diné Bikéyah Celebrates Ten Years
UDB is celebrating by publishing a “Ten Year Celebration” booklet which visually describes our origins and accomplishments. … As we embrace this milestone and celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we urge everyone to keep land conservation and Indigenous wisdom close to your heart and mind. One cannot thrive without the other. Utah Diné Bikéyah via Twitter | Download Booklet (free PDF) >>
Congratulations, UDB! Readers, please visit their site and support their work if you are able to. >>
Senate Committee to Hold Oversight Hearing on NAGPRA Today
The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold an oversight hearing 10:30 a.m. Alaska time, Wednesday, February 2, 2022. The meeting is scheduled to examine and advance the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and its 30 years. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, was meant to give Tribes a legal avenue to pursue the return of remains and some funerary objects. Many cultural experts say the law fails to live up to the expectations of Indigenous communities. Tripp J. Crouse for KNBA (Alaska public radio) | Read More >>
cyberSW Awarded Fourth Round of Funding
Matt Peeples, an associate professor of anthropology and the director of the Center for Archaeology and Society in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change has been involved with the Southwest Social Networks Project since 2011. The project is a collaboration between researchers at Archaeology Southwest, ASU, the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado at Boulder. “It involves compiling information published in the past from all over the Southwest,” Peeples said. ASU News | Read More >>
ICYMI: Job Opportunity: Archaeological Data Specialist, cyberSW
A database-savvy individual will join our cyberSW development team as an Archaeological Data Specialist. This person will be working in formats such as Excel and Access to prepare data from hundreds of archaeological projects for incorporation into cyberSW. Archaeology Southwest | Learn More >>
La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs Vandalized
Petroglyphs in La Cienega dating back thousands of years were vandalized last week, launching a Bureau of Land Management investigation into the defacement. A news release from the agency said the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs west of Santa Fe, some up to 8,000 years old, suffered damage. … “Approximately 10 new spray-painted images were present, as well as some new scratching vandalism on the rock art panels [was found],” [BLM spokesperson Jillian] Aragon said. Victoria Traxler in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read More >>
A Pueblo group has alleged the federal Bureau of Land Management is mismanaging and not doing enough to protect sacred sites in the Caja del Rio Plateau area, also known as La Bajada, in the wake of a recent desecration of an ancient petroglyph site. Defacement of petroglyphs with spray paint and scratching at La Cieneguilla recreation area, southwest of Santa Fe on BLM-managed land, was discovered this week. “I think that what happened at the site is an example of mismanagement and the lack of surveillance and security in the area is allowing for this place to be desecrated,” said Julia Bernal, director of Pueblo Action Alliance, part of the Caja del Rio Coalition. Andy Stiny in the Albuquerque Journal | Read More >>
Celebrating the Life of Carol Condie
Carol earned her BA at the University of Utah when she discovered her passion for anthropology and archeology and made life-long friends through the Glen Canyon Project, documenting and analyzing archeological sites prior to their inundation by Lake Powell. She was the editor for the project’s reports under the exacting standards of Dr. Jesse Jennings and was the director of the project’s laboratory. She then completed her Master’s in Education at Cornell University, and her PhD in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico, where she explored the linguistic intricacies of the Zuni language as well as Navajo and Apache. Albuquerque Journal/Legacy dot com | Read More >>
Ann Axtell Morris and Canyon del Muerto
A procession of life-size orange pronghorns leaps across a sandstone wall shaded from the harsh summer light. Painted by Navajo and Jemez Pueblo artist Dibe Yazhi, or “Little Lamb,” in Canyon del Muerto in 1804, the pronghorns long remained unknown to all but the canyon’s residents or those who made the arduous journey across the desert to see them. In 1923, archaeologist and artist Ann Axtell Morris made the voyage to Canyon del Muerto, by then part of Northeastern Arizona, and the artwork inspired her to pick up a paintbrush. Morgan Sjogren in Arizona Highways | Read More >>
Exhibition: Facing the Rising Sun
“Facing the Rising Sun: The Journey of African American Homesteaders in New Mexico, Vision, Belief, and Sovereign Ownership” is a high-tech mobile exhibit telling the story and honoring the legacy of the first African American families to homestead New Mexico. Facing the Rising Sun is a partnership between the African American Museum & Cultural Center of New Mexico (AAMCCNM) and the City of Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture, with design and fabrication by Electric Playhouse. The first stop for the mobile exhibit will be the Albuquerque Museum where it will be on view to the public from January 22 to July 10, 2022. … Family histories included in the exhibit are those of Boyer & Fuller; Collins; Holsome; Lewis-Outley-Ballou; Pettes; and Williams. Albuquerque Museum | Learn More >>
Exhibition: To Know the Fire
An exhibition of Pueblo pots at [the] Krannert Art Museum illustrates the expertise of women potters and how creating ceramics connects them with the past and present. “To Know the Fire: Pueblo Women Potters and the Shaping of History” features earthenware vessels made by Pueblo communities in the Southwest. The exhibition is on view through Sept. 3. University of Illinois News Bureau | Learn More >>
New Podcast: Digging to the Other Side
Welcome to the “Digging to the Other Side” podcast, where we talk about archaeology and related topics in North and South America through the perspectives of Asian hyphenated archaeologists. We’ll give insights into how that affects not only our approach to the field of archaeology, but also how the field approaches us. Learn More >>
Podcast: Grant Coffey—Scientists in Tech 2
Host Nicole Ackermans interviews Grant Coffey, a research database manager at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Southwestern Colorado. Grant pilots drones to survey ancient Pueblo archaeological sites and find structures that are otherwise difficult to see. Daily Tech News Show | Listen Now >>
Blog: The Perils of Historical Markers
In recent years, there has been a growing understanding that objects such as monuments and statues are mirrors of the times in which they were erected and that many were placed for reasons other than the objective presentation of history, e.g. confederate statues. In place after place, a thoughtful review of these objects, their context and purpose, has resulted in reinterpretation, removal, or both. Historical Markers are not exempt from this scrutiny. In fact, their [ubiquity] compels us to holistically make the same kind of review. This article considers the very different trajectories for Native American Markers and African American Markers. Ira Beckerman blog via Living Landscape Observer | Read More >>
Map: Colorado Plateau 2021
View our 2021 edition map of the Colorado Plateau, which includes public lands and tribal lands across northern Arizona, southern Utah, southwest Colorado, and northwest New Mexico. The map also delineates the restored boundaries of both Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments. Grand Canyon Trust | View Now >>
Feb. 5 Virtual Tour: Archaeological Hope in a Looted Landscape (the Mattocks Site)
Participants will explore the site through comments by tour leaders Patricia Gilman and Marilyn Markel as they walk through the site and museum in December 2021. There are three parts. The first briefly introduces the region and its complex history of human groups from Archaic through Classic Mimbres to Apache. In the second, Pat Gilman, site supervisor for the excavation, considers the Mimbres Foundation excavation at the Mattocks site in the 1970s. In the third and final section, the tour leaders share the impressive work of local residents in preserving the site, laying an interpretive trail, assembling a small museum, providing educational activities for local children, and building facilities for researchers. During the virtual field trip, Pat and Marilyn will be available after the video to comment and answer questions. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Feb. 4–5 Virtual Conference: ReVisioning the Future of Archaeology
The UCLA Graduate Student Association of Archaeology, an affiliate of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, invites you to attend our 9th UCLA Graduate Archaeology Research Conference. We ask: who is archaeology for, and what tools will we use to (re)design its future? The keynote speaker and graduate presenters will explore topics that consider various questions about archaeology’s role in the present. UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology | More Information and Eventbrite Registration (free) >>
Feb. 9 Webinar: Before Yellowstone
With Doug MacDonald. Dr. MacDonald’s primary area of research is the Native American archaeology of Yellowstone National Park. He has written five books, including Before Yellowstone, which describes the 11,000-year-long history of Native Americans in Yellowstone. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | More Information and Zoom Link >>
Feb. 10 Webinar: Dził yá ‘ołta’ (‘The School Inside the Mountain’): Diné Students Remembering Home at the Intermountain Indian Boarding School
With Farina King. During the early postwar period, the US government increased its efforts to facilitate schooling for Diné youth to abate an economic disaster, as Diné lost war-related employment and faced hardships such as the blizzard of 1947–1948. “Emergency education” school programs became part of the “solution” under the overarching federal government approach of termination, assimilationist policies, and relocation. Federal officials pushed various initiatives to matriculate more school-aged Diné, funding more on-reservation and off-reservation educational programs. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
See you next week! Please do send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the friends. Thanks!