Flying on airplanes used to be a wonderful time to settle into a window seat and marvel at the wonders of the landscape. Now everyone in a window seat closes their shade and glues their eyes to videos on their phones.
I kept my shade open and all but pressed my face to the window. The young woman in the middle seat next to me asked if she could take a picture of the magnificent clouds billowing upward to the south of the plane. She said this was only her second flight on an airplane.
I’m not chatty on airplanes. But our jockeying to see out the window led to some further conversation. And then I stepped outside my normal airplane behavior: I had observed the seeming “picture writing” that she had been scribing on the page of her very handsome journal. They resembled petroglyphs. I had to ask her—what are those images?
Turns out that one day, about three years ago, she was inspired to develop her own writing system. And she’s been using it, with minor ongoing enhancements, ever since. There was one symbol I just had to ask her about. It was an oval with a small extension on one of the long sides—the simplest way that an archaeologist draws a pithouse.
She grinned and said, “That’s an alcoholic beverage.”
It was a fascinating reminder of how versatile symbols can be. The same symbol can have many different meanings attached to it.
It feels good to be rested and relaxed after some time away. I hope you all are doing well.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image © Morgan Sjogren
Commentary: The Significance of Cooperative Land Management
For the Native communities tied to the Bears Ears region, our history and heritage loss from decades of unfettered artifact theft and boarding schools is immeasurable. We do not know the full extent of what has been lost, nor do we have much hope of returning everything that was taken. But the foundational pieces of cultures and languages remain, despite the many attempts by the government and white supremacist ideology to erase them. These pieces of our language and culture will die if we do nothing to revitalize them in our generation actively. The cooperative management agreement between the federal government and the tribes speaks to this specifically: “Develop opportunities to engage Tribal youth in the culture and traditions of the Bears Ears,” it reads, “as well as the protection and management of the monument to cultivate a shared understanding of the monument’s context and a shared stewardship for its resources.” Len Necefer in Outside | Read More >>
Audio: Interview with Jim Enote
Jim Enote is a Zuni tribal member, CEO of the Colorado Plateau Foundation and Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Grand Canyon Trust. He is also a scientist, writer and farmer. He’ll join us today to talk about the different ways that western scientists and Native people understand the world, Bears Ears National Monument, challenges facing the Colorado Plateau, Native response to rock art, and Counter Mapping. Access Utah (Utah Public Radio) | Listen Now >>
Commentary: Time to Finally Protect Greater Chaco
Pueblos, tribes and other stakeholders have the opportunity to secure some of the protections we have long sought. The recent public comment period for this proposal drew an overwhelming 80,000 comments advocating for long-term protections. On behalf of the pueblo people who have worked for generations to make our voices heard in support of protecting Chaco, it’s time to give this historic landscape the safeguards it deserves. That’s why a delegation of the All Pueblo Council of Governors traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with DOI and members of Congress to urge them to act. Protecting federal lands within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon would be a significant step forward and help ensure our children and grandchildren will be able to connect with and experience this important place. Mark Mitchell, Chairman, All Pueblo Council of Governors, in the Albuquerque Journal | Read More >>
Video: Clark Tenakhongva and Paul Reed on the Scott Michlin Morning Program
For their monthly interview, archaeologist Paul Reed and host Scott Michlin welcomed special guest Clark Tenakhongva, former Hopi Vice Chairman, for a discussion of Chaco Canyon and surrounding lands. KSJE | Watch/Listen Now >>
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Receives Grant to Help Preserve Culturally Important Plants
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe intends to create a plan that will preserve the habitat and sustainable harvest of culturally important plants used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, food and traditional artwork. The tribe was awarded a $55,000 grant for the ethnobotany project from Great Outdoors Colorado in cooperation with Trees Water & People, Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps and the Montezuma Land Conservancy. Ethnobotany is the study of how people of a culture and region make use of native plants. Leading the first year of the native plant project is Farley Ketchum Sr., a Ute Mountain Ute who works as a biologist technician for the tribe’s Environmental Department. He is a Bear Dance and Sun Dance chief and uses traditional plants in the ceremonies. Jim Mimiaga in The Journal | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Oak Flat
Victoria Sutton, a law professor at Texas Tech University, wrote in a recent law review journal that bigger issues underlie how sacred sites continue to be threatened. In the paper, published in June by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Indigenous Peoples Journal of Law, Culture & Resistance, Sutton wrote that federal judges don’t understand American Indian law and thus do a poor job when Indian law cases come up. … Also, she wrote, the concept of sacred spaces differs from European religious concepts. While Christians consider buildings like churches are sacred, Native peoples hold specific places on the land sacred. “The First Amendment’s (provision) for freedom to practice your religion has failed in every single case before a federal court when it involves land,” said Sutton, an enrolled member of the Lumbee Indian Nation. Debra Utacia Krol in the Arizona Republic | Read More >>
University of Arizona Press Makes 20 Archaeology Classics Open Access
The University of Arizona Press is thrilled to announce that twenty backlist archaeology books are now available Open Access thanks to a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The titles, which include classics as well as some newer works, are available for online reading or downloading from Open Arizona, the press’s OA portal. These works include works by leading archaeologists. UA Press | Seriously, Go Here Now >>
Call for Submissions: Cordell–Powers Prize Competition
The Pecos Conference is drawing near, and that means that the Cordell-Powers Prize Competition is now open for submissions. The contest honors Robert P. Powers and Linda S. Cordell, and is open for archaeologists 35 years old or younger. Think of it as archaeology’s version of an elevator pitch, but under a big tent and with a cash prize. The first 10 submissions will be accepted for consideration. Pecos Conference | Learn More >>
A Visit to the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Cultural Center
On a Saturday in January, at a free traditional performance in the sunny courtyard of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Cultural Center, an eagle dancer spreads his wings as he swoops and soars with the spirits, then gracefully folds his wings and lands on the earth. A young couple two-steps, intertwining their hands in a uniquely Puebloan way. Women winnow corn, and a buffalo dancer, with his thick black mane, looks downward as he steps strongly and proudly to the beat of the drums. Judith Fein for Texas Highways | Read More >>
Blog: Getting Down and Dirty
When working on a legacy collection, it is hard to envision the context of the excavations conducted from just the notes and artifact assemblages. As the Robinson Collection Project Team conducts their preliminary research and rehousing of the immense artifact collection assembled by Ray Robinson during the 1950s and 1960s, we often take time out to ponder and muse about the where’s and how’s without the benefit of visual aids—all of Ray’s documentations are handwritten notes or created on a historic instrument called a typewriter with more than a few misaligned or missing keys. During the Archaeology Southwest/University of Arizona Preservation Archaeology Field School, the Robinson Project Team was invited to visit and participate in the ongoing excavation at the Gila River Farm site, which has a major Salado component similar to the artifact assemblages the Team is encountering within the Robinson Collection. Jaye Smith at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
TODAY, July 13 Online and In-Person (Ft. Lewis College, Durango CO): Hard Times and Mobility in the Late 13th Century, Bears Ears National Monument Area, SE Utah
With Thomas C. Windes. The talk covers work by the speaker and his team of wood rats of 13th-century sites investigated over the past 20 years in the Bears Ears area, with emphasis on structural wood sites in the canyons. Several of these are built in highly defensive locations that tree-ring date in the years that coincide with the eruption of a massive volcanic eruption that caused worldwide weather havoc and probably the deaths of millions. The talk will then discuss the aspect of large volcanic eruptions and how they have impacted the earth over millions of years, and especially the past 2,000 years, when several may have directly impacted life in the Southwest, particularly the lives of Puebloan peoples in the Four Corners. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | More Information and Zoom Link >>
July Subscription Lectures (In-Person, Santa Fe)
July 18, Emily Lena Jones, Horses and Indigenous People; July 25, Michael S. Vigil, The Underbelly of Mexican Cartels. Southwest Seminars | Learn More >>
July 16 In-Person Event (Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec NM): American Indian Cultural Arts Festival
Performances by the Oak Canyon Dancers from Jemez Pueblo will serve as the highlight when Aztec Ruins National Monument presents its annual American Indian Cultural Arts Festival this weekend. The event, now in its fifth year, will feature nearly 20 artists from pueblos and reservations across New Mexico. The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the monument, which is located at 725 Ruins Road in Aztec. Mike Easterling in the Farmington Daily Times | Learn More >>
July 18 Webinar: Lived Lives: Individuals in Mimbres Pithouse and Pueblo Communities
With Barbara Roth. “We often view the occupants of past pithouse and pueblo villages as households or groups, seeing them as a collective rather than as individuals who lived, worked, played, and interacted within a community. Our recent work at several pithouse and pueblo sites in the Mimbres Mogollon region of southwestern New Mexico has documented the presence of individuals that enhance our understanding of daily life in these communities. In this presentation, I use data from excavations at two pithouse sites, La Gila Encantada and Harris, and the pueblo site of Elk Ridge to highlight individuals who lived at these sites. I will discuss the information we used to determine their presence and how thinking about individuals in the past can help us further explore the dynamics of communities in the past.” Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
July 21 Webinar: Ecological Knowledge and Practices of Traditional Indigenous and Spanish Agriculturalists
With Gary Nabhan. For decades, we have been told that southwestern agriculture evolved from a blending of precontact Indigenous crops and technologies diffused from Mesoamerica, blended in historic times with Spanish-derived crops and practices brought in by Jesuit missionaries like Kino or Franciscans like Garces. The truth is much more complex, interesting and fun! Third Thursday Food for Thought (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
July 26 Webinar: Braiding Knowledges: The Journey of an Indigenous Archaeologist in Academia
With Dr. Ora Marek-Martinez. An archaeologist in the Southwest for over 20 years, Dr. Marek-Martinez will discuss her journey to braiding knowledges as an archaeologist and as a Diné (Navajo) woman in hopes of creating a future that Navajo People envision based on their own understandings and stories of the past. Indigenous Interests Series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Save the Date: October 15, 2022, 9th Biennial Three Corners Conference at UNLV
As archaeological study in the region continues to grow, researchers need to meet and discuss their findings in order to promote development and refinement of regional theory, methodologies, and management goals. Presentations may be on any anthropological research domain and time period within the region (southern Nevada, southeastern California, southwestern corner of Utah, and the western portion of Arizona). Organizers: UNLV and members of the SNAP CRT (Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Lost City Museum, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, Springs Preserve, Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas). Nevadans for Cultural Preservation | Learn More >>
And Now for Something Completely Different: Genetic Origins of Dogs
Scientists generally agree that humanity’s best friend descended from gray wolves, scampering into our lives at least 15,000 years ago. Virtually everything else is a matter of debate. “When and where did this happen and with whom—with what human group?” said Pontus Skoglund, a paleogeneticist at the Francis Crick Institute in London. … Studies have turned up widely divergent answers, variously concluding that dogs were first domesticated somewhere in Asia or Europe or the Middle East or perhaps in multiple locations. Now, a new analysis of 72 ancient wolf genomes spanning the last 100,000 years suggested one possible explanation for some of the seemingly contradictory results: Two different ancient wolf populations, one in Asia and another in the Middle East or surrounding area, contributed DNA to modern dogs. Emily Anthes in the New York Times | Read More >>
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