A house—a place to call home—matters.
My professional life confirms that. Over my decades as an archaeologist, I have observed excavations of many hundreds of former residences. Some were 3,000 or more years old.
My personal life confirms that. Every evening I leave my office and spend the night at home. On weekends, I often spend most of my time at home.
Our downtown Tucson office presents me—daily—with frequent interactions with unhoused people. I’m also generally one of the last to leave the office, and I routinely spend some time chatting with Brandon, a friendly man who spends his nights camped on layers of cardboard along the edge of Ash Alley.
I wish I had some great insight or proposed solution to homelessness, which for most of my years here I’ve observed from a distance while driving around town. But now I associate it with an acquaintance, Brandon, who has a face, a name, and a voice, and the need for solutions seems that much more urgent.
I looked online, and the City of Tucson has a progressive program to try to prevent homelessness and end it when prevention fails.
Despite social service policies that read well, we are still leaving a lot of vulnerable people behind.
You can read more about displaced peoples in our first article today, which focuses on archaeologist Randy McGuire and his work in the borderland south of Tucson. This quote really struck me:
“If somebody just sees it as a pile of garbage, that dehumanizes the people that created it. If you come in and you analyze it, and you show what people are doing, what their behavior is, and how and why they’re making decisions, that humanizes them.”
Take care, everyone,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Visualization of life at Honey Bee Village by Robert B. Ciaccio
Archaeology and Migration: Interview with Randall McGuire
Since the 1970s, anthropologist and archaeologist Randall McGuire of Binghamton University in New York has been working in the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the United States’ southern border with Mexico. First led there by archaeology, he became part of the community in the border cities of Nogales in Sonora and Arizona, where the wall may hamper people’s movement but doesn’t stop the smell of cooking food from wafting across. As McGuire noticed changes to the border and how this community reacted, he, along with other researchers, turned an archaeological lens on the modern humanitarian crisis of forced migration: analyzing material artifacts, observing the border itself and examining the migrants’ journeys. Carolyn Wilke for Knowable Magazine | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Indigenous Leaders on Co-Management for Bears Ears
The agreement is an important step, but it is not without precedent: Four national parks are already co-managed by tribal nations—inspired in at least one instance by the success of Uluru-Kata Tjutu, which is co-managed by the Australian government and the land’s rightful Indigenous owners. Around 80 other agreements support collaborative relationships between the National Park Service and U.S. tribes. These have all served as test cases for Bears Ears, which could now become the touchstone for a more expansive network of co-management agreements between tribes and the federal government. High Country News asked four Native leaders [Mark Maryboy, Cynthia Wilson, Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, and Carleton Bowekaty] who have spent years fighting for Bears Ears what this co-management agreement might mean for the future. B. Toastie for High Country News | Read More >>
Audio: Indigenous Ways of Knowing Water
With Michael Kotutwa Johnson, Dan McCool, and Andrew Curley. In the cultural practices and lifeways of many Indigenous Americans, water is respected as the source of all life. Water is regarded as a sacred and spiritual element. In Indigenous cosmologies, humans are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that clean and abundant water is available to all living things. What if those were the values at the base of a “new” water ethic? Could that happen? We’ll talk to water experts who make the case that Indigenous ways of knowing water could help us face a future with much less water to go around. Radiowest (KUER/NPR) | Listen Now >>
Profile of Michael Kotutwa Johnson by Jane Palmer in Eos >>
Video: Ecological Knowledge and Practices of Traditional Indigenous and Spanish Agriculturalists
With Gary Nabhan. For decades, we have been told that agriculture in the U.S. Southwest evolved from a blending of pre-Spanish-contact Indigenous crops and technologies diffused from Mesoamerica, blended in historic times with Spanish-derived crops and practices brought in by Jesuit missionaries like Father Eusebio Kino or Franciscans like Father Francisco Garces. The truth is much more complex, interesting, and fun! Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | Watch Now >>
Publication Announcement: Questioning Rebound
Questioning Rebound: People and Environmental Change in the Protohistoric and Early Historic Americas, by Emily Lena Jones and Jacob L. Fisher. University of Utah Press (2022). Learn More >>
Publication Announcement: Earth Ovens and Desert Lifeways
Earth Ovens and Desert Lifeways: 10,000 Years of Indigenous Cooking in the Arid Landscapes of North America, edited by Charles W. Koenig and Myles R. Miller. University of Utah Press (2023). Learn More >>
Video: National Heritage Areas: Past, Present, Future
A moderated discussion on the past, present, and future of National Heritage Areas with Alan Spears, Senior Director of Cultural Resources in the Government Affairs department of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and Sara Capen, Executive Director of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. Moderated by Brenda Barrett, Editor of the Living Landscape Observer | Watch Now >>
Publication Announcement: America’s National Heritage Areas
America’s National Heritage Areas: A Guide to the Nation’s New Kind of National Park, by Robert Manning. Rowman & Littlefield (2022). Learn More >>
Audio: The Backwoods of Everywhere
After an upstate New York childhood and a bartending stint in New Orleans’ French Quarter, seasonal resort work led R.E. Burrillo to the desert Southwest, whose redrock landscapes were a source of stability through mental and physical illness. In The Backwoods of Everywhere, archaeologist Burrillo excavates his past, examining Indigenous and tourist cultures, the complexities of American archaeology, and what it means to be a local. From the ancient canal systems of Phoenix, Arizona, to the modern Mayan communities of the Yucatan Peninsula, to the depths of the Grand Canyon, Burrillo takes us on an entertaining journey full of history, ecology, cultural preservation, and personal stories. Access Utah (UPR/NPR) | Listen Now >>
Podcast: Forges, Fieldwork, and Frying Pans
The trowel is generally considered to be the essential piece in any archaeologist’s toolkit, but how long have trowels been around and what kinds of trowels can you use in excavations? In this episode, host Matilda Siebrecht chats with professional archaeologist and blacksmith Dr. Zechariah Jinks-Fredrick about why we choose the tools that we do, but also the development of metal tools and metalworking in the past. What’s the difference between a cow bone and a trowel? Very little apparently… Tea-Break Time Travel | Listen Now >>
Blog: Vessel 1 from the Bison Room
Graduating in May 2022 with a double major in Anthropology and Classics, for my last semester I worked at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) Repository as a School of Anthropology Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) intern. I focused on preparing the collection generated at the University Indian Ruin Field School excavation led by Drs. Paul and Suzanne Fish, for in-perpetuity curation. This internship opened up the world of Southwest Archaeology to me. Throughout my undergraduate career, I focused my studies on mostly Classical Archaeology. Throughout the semester, I learned more about anthropological themes that are relevant to cultures and societies in both the American Southwest and Classical Archaeology, such as trade networks, feasting, and rituals. The catalog collection for the University Indian Ruins (UIR) excavation contains three sherds that encompass all of these interests. Emily Hale for the Arizona State Museum | Read More >>
Video: Q & A with Ceramics Analyst Mary Ownby
In this special live stream [RECORDED] we will be talking with an archaeologist who is an expert in ancient ceramics. Mary Ownby works as a ceramics analyst examining ancient pottery and revealing its secrets. Find out how she uses ceramic petrography to learn where a pot was made, and more. Andy Ward’s Ancient Pottery | Watch Now >>
REMINDER: July 28 Webinar: Dismantling a Legacy of Misrepresentation
With Melissa Greene-Blye. Too often, journalists fail to offer authentic representations of Native individuals and issues in the news; this presentation will highlight the ways news media, past and present, have contributed to a legacy of misrepresentation of Native peoples with the goal of highlighting ways to improve that coverage in the future. It is a legacy that has limited the ability of Native individuals to tell their own stories and exercise self-determination in the way they are represented in the press as well as in the historical record. It will ask us to reconsider and redefine what we think we know about what it means to be American Indian, by asking us to reevaluate the history we know and the stories we tell ourselves about the people and events that led us to where we are today. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
July 31 Exhibition Opening: Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery
This traveling exhibition, which features more than 100 historic and contemporary works in clay, will be open from July 31, 2022, through May 29, 2023. The project, Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery, is a unique exhibition curated by the Native American communities it represents. Organized by the School for Advanced Research, the Vilcek Foundation, opening at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the exhibition offers a visionary understanding of Pueblo pots as vessels of community-based knowledge and personal experience, including 11 pieces from the Laboratory of Anthropology. Museum of Indian Arts & Culture | Learn More >>
Aug. 11 Webinar: Practicing Place-Based Experiential Learning in Public Archaeology
With Josie Chang-Order and Elaine Franklin. If the task of an educator is to help students develop a solid concept of self and an understanding of, and appreciation for, history and culture, place must become more than a learning backdrop. A place-based, experiential learning (PBEL) framework is helpful to K-12 educators who work with students from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds across a range of geographic locations and educational settings. It consists of natural and culturally relevant curriculum situated in real-world contexts (place), facilitating authentic learning. PBEL includes a student-centered, inquiry-driven process that applies historical, cultural, and place as primary resources, connecting teachers and students to their community (and others’ communities) through real-world experiences. This framework promotes citizenship, cultural competency, and the stewardship of culture, history, and place on local, regional, and global scales. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and the National Endowment for the Humanities | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Aug. 17 Online Event: Emergence: Grand Canyon Intertribal Economic Summit
Join us virtually for Emergence 2022, an intertribal summit connecting Indigenous entrepreneurs, tourism professionals, and community leaders from the Grand Canyon region. Emergence will explore new avenues for Native entrepreneurs to participate in the Grand Canyon’s tourism economy while advancing principles to protect the canyon for future generations. Grand Canyon Trust | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
UPDATE: Cordell-Powers Prize Competition Deadline Extended to July 31
A speaking competition for young archaeologists in honor of Linda Cordell and Robert Powers. Think of it as archaeology’s version of an elevator pitch, but under a big tent and with a cash prize. Learn More >>
Reminder: The Pecos Conference will be held at Rowe Mesa NM August 11–14. >>
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