Temperatures in southern Arizona have been in the mid-70s, with occasional bumps up into the high 80s. The desert’s seasonal message comes across loud and clear—100-degree temperatures aren’t very far off, so get outdoors.
I’ve had two wonderful trips through the San Pedro Valley over the past six weeks, and today that’s where the entire Archaeology Southwest staff will be as this lands in your inbox.
With so many new staff at Archaeology Southwest, it feels like spending a day together on the San Pedro is critical for sharing an overview of a place where we have worked since 1990. A day on the San Pedro is just the beginning of developing or furthering a sense of place.
The San Pedro can overwhelm. The archaeological record is so diverse and ranges from bold to super subtle. The mountains that create this very linear valley change dramatically throughout the day.
Having visited the valley at every season of the year, it is the cottonwoods along the river that I find most expressive. They play with shades of gray, then with subtle tinges of green. Last Saturday in the late afternoon sun, the green of the emerging leaves was so rich that it was almost liquid. I can’t wait to see how they’ve progressed over the past four days.
For today, the folks in our rented van are some of the luckiest folks in the world.
Enjoy your day. We will definitely enjoy ours.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: San Pedro Valley by Bernard Siquieros
More Than a Mountain: Dr. Nicholas Laluk on Protecting Dzil Nchaa Si’an
The sky island of Dzil Nchaa Si’an is more than a mountain. It is a significant landmark in Arizona for Apache tribal members to collect medicinal plants, perform ceremonies, and connect with their ancestors. It is also a site of resistance against the development of an observatory informally known as the “Pope Scope,” for its ties to the Vatican. Dr. Nicholas Laluk, an Apache tribal member and anthropology professor, speaks about what Indigenous sovereignty looks like in contested spaces—and how Black and Indigenous peoples, students, and archaeologists can protect a holy place. SAPIENS | Listen Now >>
Report: Radioactive Waste on Bears Ears’ Doorstep
A new Grand Canyon Trust research report and interactive story map collection released today detail how the White Mesa uranium mill, a mile from Bears Ears National Monument, has become America’s cheapest radioactive waste dump. The report, “The Business of Radioactive Waste,” and accompanying map series, “Bears Ears & Radioactive Waste: The White Mesa Mill Story,” chronicle more than 15 radioactive waste streams approved for shipment to the U.S.’s last functioning uranium mill, which neighbors the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s White Mesa community. Grand Canyon Trust | Read More >>
Interactive Story Map >>
Analysis: Health Assessment of Four Corners-Area National Monuments
Most national monuments forbid grazing. But the proclamations establishing Grand Staircase-Escalante, Canyon of the Ancients, and Bears Ears National Monuments allowed it to continue as before. While one might hope that national monument status would induce the BLM to manage grazing in a way that ensures the health of the land and antiquities, that is often not the case. The problem is especially pronounced in Canyon of the Ancients, as the PEER map makes clear. Jonathan P. Thompson at The Land Desk | Read More >>
National Park Service Releases Historic Preservation Fund Annual Report
$144.3 million was appropriated in FY2021 by the US Congress from the Historic Preservation Fund. The National Park Service (NPS) administers the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, and uses annually appropriated funds to provide grants to State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO) to assist in their efforts to protect and preserve their historic resources. Each State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), appointed by the Governor for each state, manages this annual appropriation to perform the Federal preservation responsibilities required by the National Historic Preservation Act. National Park Service | Read More >>
Construction Scheduled at Bandelier National Monument
Several projects slated for construction this summer are expected to impact visitors to Bandelier National Monument. Visitors should expect several changes to how and where they can visit the monument. Projects include improvements to the parking area at the Tsankawi Unit and the mesa top parking lot, just past the main entrance. Bandelier National Monument (press release) | Learn More >>
Publication Announcement: Birds of the Sun
Birds of the Sun: Macaws and People in the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest, edited by Christopher W. Schwartz, Stephen Plog, and Patricia A. Gilman. University of Arizona Press, 2022. Learn More >>
Blog: Visiting with Respect, Utah Edition
Nearly everywhere you go in Utah, no matter how remote, you are not the first person to be there and you will not be the last. You are a link in a chain of human existence that extends thousands of years into the past and future—and as a link in the chain you have responsibilities. Elizabeth Hora for the Utah Division of State History | Read More >>
Related: Governor Cox Supports Efforts to Stop Archaeological Vandalism in Utah >>
March Subscription Lectures (In-Person), Santa Fe
Southwest Seminars continues its Native Voices series in March, in honor of the Archaeological Conservancy. Adam Duran (Pojoaque), Dr. Joseph Suina (Cochiti), Dr. Matthew Martinez (Ohkay Owingeh), and Theresa Pasqual (Acoma) will present each Monday evening at the Hotel Santa Fe. Southwest Seminars | Learn More >>
REMINDER: March 24 Webinar: Hidden Cities, Ancient Pueblos
With Steve Lekson. Two millennia before Chaco Canyon, some of the earliest monuments in the Americas were constructed in the lower Mississippi valley. Monumental earthworks—pyramids, platforms, effigies, enclosures—continued to be built from 1000 BCE right up to the arrival of the Spanish, from Iowa to the tip of Florida. Some were enormous: Pyramids as large as almost anything in Mexico. Many are mysterious: serpent effigies, geometric enclosures large enough to surround a modern golf course. This talk will compare monumental building in the ancient Southeast and Southwest—particularly in light of differing regional traditions in their archaeological study. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
March 31 Webinar: Diné/Navajo Resistance to US Indian Commissioner John Collier’s Livestock Reduction Program, 1939–1959
With Jennifer Denetdale. This presentation examines sociologist Solon Kimball’s reports on Navajos in conversation with Milton Snow’s in the aftermath of the livestock reduction in the 1930s and into the 1940s. US Indian Commission John Collier intended to rehabilitate Navajo land by offering Navajos the beneficent of Western technical and agricultural knowledge to improve the land and to revitalize the economy, which had been heavily dependent on livestock raising. This presentation showcases how investigations such as Kimball’s worked in tandem with Snow’s photographs to justify US intrusions to remake Navajo life. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 18 Webinar: Exploring the Many Interpretations of Chaco
With Stephen Plog. Multiple interpretations have been proposed to explain what has been referred to as the “Chaco Phenomenon,” defined primarily by the construction of large masonry great houses and roads in Chaco Canyon. I briefly discuss the history of research in Chaco and consider some of the ways the long period of excavations and our understanding of the earliest excavations, has impacted our perception of Chaco great houses. This history has influenced our perception of some key aspects of Chaco sites, including great houses, and, as a result, has led us to oversimplify key aspects of Chaco Canyon history. Finally, I summarize what recent collaborative research I’ve been involved in has revealed about the social organization and Mesoamerican relationships of the Pueblo people who lived in the canyon. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 21 Webinar: The Mimbres Twins and Rabbit in the Moon
With Marc Thompson. Images on 1000–1130 CE Mimbres culture pottery bowls depict the Pan-American apologue of the Hero Twins saga. Mimbres pottery motifs appear to represent the birth, trials, tests, death, and resurrection of the Hero Twins. Third Thursday Food for Thought (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Call to Applicants: Native American Scholar in Residence Program (April 1 Deadline)
Scholars will reside on Crow Canyon’s campus for six nights with the purpose of providing cultural knowledge, perspectives, and insights to existing curricula for student and adult participants from across the nation. This program will facilitate the development of a more holistic understanding of modern and past Native cultures, trust relations, Native perspectives, and interpretations in the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, education, and American Indian studies. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn More >>
Call to Applicants: Tribal Leadership Program at Dugout Ranch (April 1 Deadline)
The Nature Conservancy and Utah State University-Blanding are excited to announce a 7-week program in natural resource management for students with tribal backgrounds. The program seeks to bridge the gap between the science and practice of sustainable land management on Colorado Plateau lands by mentoring and training a small cadre of undergraduates from tribal backgrounds to work at the interface of scientific research and public lands management. Students will receive training in essential skills to work in this field, including GIS, remote sensing, and methods in rangeland assessments, inventory, and monitoring from leading experts in the field. The CRC [Canyonlands Research Center] is located on the historical Dugout Ranch in the heart of Canyon Country in southeast Utah near Monticello, Utah. Student interns will receive a stipend of $4000 in addition to a modest travel allowance. Non-local students will be provided housing during the program. Interns will be expected to live in Blanding or the surrounding area during the program with weekly overnight trips to the CRC. Students are also expected to commit full-time over the 7-week period to the program. It will not be possible to have other commitments (e.g. jobs, classes) during the program. The program will run from June 27th through August 12th, 2022. All applicants must be currently enrolled in an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree program. Interns will present their work in a final presentation at the end of their summer projects. All materials are due April 1 at 5 pm. For additional information on the program or to set up a time for an information session please contact Nichole Barger at nichole dot barger at Colorado dot edu.
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