I greatly enjoyed having a full week off as 2022 wrapped up. It was a quiet week of few tasks. Bordering on lazy.
It felt good, and it was restorative. I hope that you all had some peace and quiet, too.
I did reflect a bit while I was relaxing, and I thought about this season’s Archaeology Café series. The theme is community-based collaborative archaeology.
Described that way, you might be thinking that we landed on a boring and uninteresting topic.
It’s anything but! It isn’t an archaeologist on the Zoom screen lecturing at you. Generally, it’s a couple of collaborators sharing how they learned together. I’m finding it stimulating and inspiring.
In November, I enjoyed Kevin Cooeyate and James Othole of the Zuni Ancestral Lands Program. They are deeply engaged with and committed to their work stabilizing and restoring archaeological sites—so much so that they define Preservation as a Cultural Lifestyle. Their youthful enthusiasm was contagious.
Last month, Bill White (University of California, Berkeley) shared a key insight regarding collaborative archaeology—it works best when it moves forward at the pace of Trust.
And in our opening session, Diné archaeologist Davina Two Bears (Swarthmore College) and Ruth Van Dyke (Binghamton University, State University of New York) discussed their fieldwork on the little-known and underappreciated Navajo archaeology of the Chaco Canyon area. Davina made it personal when she shared their visit to a site where members of her father’s clan had lived. She connected the red-paint handprints on a rock overhang to the return from the Navajo removal to Fort Sumner in the 1860s. And less than a century after their return, Navajos were again removed from the area by the National Park Service. This is powerful storytelling that invites reflection.
Archaeology Southwest is committed to community-based collaborative archaeology. We see it as the future of archaeology and the heart of Preservation Archaeology.
For those of you who teach, I think you’ll find much to share with your students on Archaeology Southwest’s YouTube channel, where videos of these Café sessions are posted.
And definitely plan to tune in next Tuesday when Christopher Merritt (Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement) and Karen Kwan (Utah House of Representatives; Salt Lake City Community College) will discuss “The Chinese Railroad Worker Experience in Terrace, Utah.” I read an article on their work last spring, and their talk promises to be fascinating.
“See” you there,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Congressional Research Service Releases Report on Antiquities Act
The Congressional Research Service has released National Monuments and the Antiquities Act, which explores controversies surrounding the Act. The language in the Act that confers presidential authority has been interpreted in a variety of ways. The authors found that, in the last 50 years, there have been controversies about presidential abilities to modify monument boundaries (particularly in decreasing monument size), designate management authority; designate monument status for sites that are not currently threatened; and to determine the minimum adequate size to protect the resource. The authors found that Presidents have used the Antiquities Act almost 300 times to establish and modify the boundaries of national monuments. Many of our most iconic national parks, like Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Acadia, and Olympic were first established as national monuments. National Park Service December 2022 Archeology E-Gram | Read the report (PDF) »
Continuing Coverage: STOP Act Signed into Law
Federal penalties have increased under a newly signed law intended to protect the cultural patrimony of Native American tribes, immediately making some crimes a felony and doubling the prison time for anyone convicted of multiple offenses. President Joe Biden signed the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act on Dec. 21, a bill that had been introduced since 2016. Along with stiffer penalties, it prohibits the export of sacred Native American items from the U.S. and creates a certification process to distinguish art from sacred items. … The law creates an export certification system that would help clarify whether items were created as art and provides a path for the voluntary return of items that are part of a tribe’s cultural heritage. Federal agencies would work with Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians to outline what items should not leave the U.S. and to seek items back. Felicia Fonseca for AP (via the Washington Post) | Read more »
Commentary: Protect Chaco and Indigenous Knowledge
Indigenous communities have the right to protect their homelands and inherent knowledge. I remember many trips traveling with my grandpa through the Greater Chaco Landscape on my way between home in Iyanbito to Farmington. Between the music playing on KGAK—a Diné-speaking radio station—he would tell me stories of our ancestors and the importance of being Diné. … Through Chaco, the Long Walk, boarding schools and forced assimilation, the inherent knowledge he passed down to me is vital to the continued preservation of our Diné culture and lifeways. Congress and President Joe Biden can protect this generational passing down of inherent Indigenous knowledge. They can start by passing the Chaco Cultural Heritage Protection Act reintroduced by Sen. Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández. Reyaun Francisco in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read more »
Report: Protect These 12 Latino Heritage Sites in 2023
Parks, monuments and even wildlife refuges with ties to Latino history and culture serve as crucial outdoor spaces across the country—yet many are in need of preservation, according to a new report. The Hispanic Access Foundation has identified 12 Latino heritage sites that should be prioritized for protection next year. … Currently, less than a quarter of national parks have a primary purpose of documenting historically underrepresented communities, according to the Hispanic Access Foundation report, and less than 8% of historical landmarks represent stories of Latinos and other underrepresented groups. Edwin Flores for NBC News | Read more »
New Mexico’s Caja del Rio Is a Place Worth Protecting
Caja del Rio is currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. However, without permanent protections and increased funding for better management and law enforcement, the future of the Caja is at risk. Legislation currently being proposed could allow mining to desecrate these sacred lands and create new roads and infrastructure that will fragment this fragile wildlife habitat. Almost on a daily basis, ancient petroglyphs are defaced, trash is dumped and illegal shooting threatens wildlife and creates an unsafe environment for those who enjoy and want to preserve and protect the Caja. Andrew Black for the National Wildlife Federation | Learn more »
Travelogue: Visiting Santa Clara Pueblo’s Puye Cliff Dwellings
After every few steps, Joseph Mark Chavarria points out more pottery shards, pieces of obsidian and other artifacts that are laying on the ground while walking around the stunning Puye Cliff Dwellings. They’re absolutely everywhere—embedded in the dirt road near the visitor center, displayed in clusters atop rocks that sit along the paths that skirt the cliff dwellings and spread all around the remains of the multi-story ancient complex that contained some 140 rooms on the mesa top. This is true preservation, said Chavarria, operations manager at Puye Cliff Dwellings. “The difference between this and federally managed sites is you get to see traditional protection,” Chavarria said of the sacred site in Santa Clara Pueblo that’s located about 36 miles northwest of Santa Fe. “We protect the land how we were taught by our ancestors.” Matt Dahlseid in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read more »
Blog: Block 83 in Downtown Tucson
The block is currently occupied by the MLK Apartments and the Ronstadt Transit Center, but over 100 years ago it was the site of single-family homes and saloons, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. Desert Archaeology explored two halves of Block 83 over a 26-year period. The block is bounded by East Congress Street (historically East 10th Street) on the south, North 6th Avenue on the west, East Pennington Street and North Toole Avenue on the north, and North 5th Avenue on the east. It was divided in half by North Arizona Avenue. Homer Thiel at Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.) | Read more »
Video: Tracking the First Americans across the White Sands
With Vance Holliday. The question of when people first arrived in the Americas, based on scientific evidence, has been argued for decades and even centuries. For many years the conventional answer was about 13,000 years ago with the appearance of people who made distinctive artifacts called Clovis points (named for a famous archaeological site near Clovis, New Mexico). Other sites have been proposed as being older than Clovis. A few early occupations ~14,000 to ~16,000 years old were about the oldest well-documented sites that were accepted by most (but not all) archaeologists. The White Sands locality changed that for many archaeologists. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Watch now »
REMINDER: Call for Papers: ARARA 2023 Conference (Tucson AZ)
ARARA invites proposals for presentations at the 2023 Conference. Presenters do not have to be ARARA members to present, but current ARARA members will be given preference. The review committee will be making difficult decisions for presentation selections to fill the limited program slots. Please polish your abstracts to perfection. All questions about the submission process should be directed to the Program Coordinator at email@example.com. Papers and reports must be created and presented in PowerPoint. Abstracts of 200 words or less should be submitted via this online form by January 15, 2023 for consideration. American Rock Art Research Association | Learn more »
About the conference »
Financial support for all student presenters »
Jan. 7 Workshop (Tucson AZ): How Did People Haft a Knife?
Three spots left! With Allen Denoyer. In this class, you will learn the process of hafting a stone knife blade into a wood handle. There are very few examples of hafted knives preserved in the Southwest. The style of hafting we will do in this class is based on Basketmaker and Pueblo knives found in rock shelters across the Southwest. Allen will teach participants how to work with pitch, sinew, and cordage to haft a knife. Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and claim your spot »
REMINDER: Jan. 10 Webinar: The Chinese Railroad Worker Experience in Terrace, Utah
With Christopher Merritt (Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement) and Karen Kwan (Utah House of Representatives; Salt Lake City Community College). Merritt and Kwan will discuss how the Bureau of Land Management, Utah State Historic Preservation Office, and other partners—together with the Chinese descendant community—have partnered over the last few years to investigate the historical and archaeological legacy of the Transcontinental Railroad in northwestern Utah. Two years of archaeological investigations at an abandoned railroad ghost town’s Chinatown have uncovered significant archaeological information and helped to connect living descendant communities to this important story. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and register now (free) »
Jan. 11 In-Person (Durango CO) and Online Event: Unique Artifacts of the Gallina Culture
With Gretchen Gürtler. The Gallina Culture of North Central New Mexico was a major focus of the Ghost Ranch Anthropology Museum’s founder, Dr. Florence Hawley Ellis. Over the past 50 years, Ghost Ranch students and staff have discovered many artifacts that are unique to the Gallina Culture. For this presentation, Gretchen will discuss not only unique artifacts held in trust at the Florence Hawley Ellis Museum of Anthropology, but also details of the sites where this culture existed. Gretchen is the director of the Florence Hawley Ellis Museum of Anthropology and the Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | Learn more »
Jan. 11 In-Person (Silver City NM) and Online Event: Hidden World of the Mimbres
With Danielle Romero. Romero will share glimpses into the daily life of the Mimbres by examining their pottery in a hybrid live/online program moderated by Stephen Fox. In-person: 4:00 p.m. MST, Western New Mexico University (WNMU) Museum (Fleming Hall), 1000 W. College Ave., Silver City. WNMU Museum | Learn more and register now (free) »
REMINDER: Jan. 12 Webinar: Documenting Landscapes of Protest
With Dr. Roneva Keel. Dr. Keel recently completed a study for the National Park Service (NPS) documenting the past and present of protest on the National Mall and other nearby parks. Her study explores how First Amendment activities in the National Capital Region have transformed the way citizens engage with the federal government. It also examines the role the National Park Service, as a steward of these lands, has played in shaping democracy in the 20th and 21st centuries. Living Landscape Observer | Learn more and register now (free) »
Jan. 12 In-Person Event (Albuquerque NM): The History and Use of Chocolate in Chaco Canyon and Beyond
With Patricia Crown. The latest study shows domestication of cacao around 5000 years ago in South America, with spreading use from there into Mesoamerica and eventually the U.S. Southwest/Mexican Northwest. Methods of preparation and consumption varied, but cacao drinks and the associated paraphernalia provide important evidence for long-distance movement of food. Advance registration (free) required. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science | Learn more »
Please send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the Friends.