This week, I’m back in Pennsylvania—mostly on vacation.
It has given me time to catch up on reading. (And a chance to rake up some lingering fall leaves and make a compost pile at my daughter’s place.)
My reading choices were all suggestions by others and were influenced by the day that honors Dr. Martin Luther King.
Peter Boyle, former Archaeology Southwest Board Chair, now retired, mentioned a Toni Morrison book, Song of Solomon, in an email last fall. I still have a number of her books on my reading list, so Peter’s comment helped me choose my current audiobook. I mostly read nonfiction, but novels open up opportunities to experience what my favorite undergrad English professor called “other ways of seeing.” And Toni Morrison’s writing does that superlatively. I’m still pretty early on in the Song of Solomon, deep in the Jim Crow era.
That influenced my other book choice, Jim Crow and Me. It’s a series of 26 short vignettes of the experiences of civil rights lawyer Solomon S. Seay from 1957 into the 2000s. Seay worked intrepidly, bailing out segregated lunchroom protestors and freedom marchers and winning cases against segregated school districts throughout Alabama. Preservation Archaeology Today reader Mark Garrett was a close friend of Solomon Seay and told me that this is a “must-read” book—and now I must agree. Seay’s closing line is but one example of his eloquence: “The battle for civil rights is far from over…and my soul still stirs to be on the battlefield.”
And finally, yesterday morning, I enjoyed an unplanned, super-fast read. My daughter showed me the biography Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? that my grandson was reading for his fifth-grade assignment. It was 100 pages long, with really big print, and took just over half an hour to read. I was pleased to find that it was substantive and provided a solid introduction to Dr. King’s role in bringing about change.
Needless to say, all three books underscore that there is still much change to bring about. And, in order to effect that change, much to learn.
Always open to your recommended reading,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Report: Major Museums Not in Compliance with NAGPRA
“We never ceded or relinquished our dead. They were stolen,” James Riding In, then an Arizona State University professor who is Pawnee, said of the unreturned remains. ProPublica this year is investigating the failure of NAGPRA to bring about the expeditious return of human remains by federally funded universities and museums. Our reporting, in partnership with NBC News, has found that a small group of institutions and government bodies has played an outsized role in the law’s failure. Ten institutions hold about half of the Native American remains that have not been returned to tribes. Logan Jaffe, Mary Hudetz, and Ash Ngu for ProPublica, and Graham Lee Brewer for NBC News | Read more »
Proposed Route Threatens Nine Mile Canyon
A renewed proposal to realign and pave a remote road out of the Uinta Basin could result in a busy oil tanker thoroughfare through Nine Mile Canyon, Utah’s famed rock art destination. The Bureau of Land Management is now considering a petition by a Duchesne County service district to punch a new 5.2-mile stretch of Wells Draw Road down rugged Gate Canyon, effectively tying the oil fields near Myton with rail loading facilities on the Union Pacific tracks in Wellington. Offering a faster connection between Duchesne and Carbon counties than U.S. Highway 191, the upgraded road is expected to draw up to 1,000 vehicles a day, half of them trucks, according to the proposal submitted by the Duchesne County Special Services District No. 2. … “The idea that anyone would allow this type of development inside Carbon County’s most important tourism resource is an affront to those of us working so hard to bring visitors and attention to our world-famous attractions,” said canyon tour guide and preservation advocate Layne Miller, who sits on the Price City Council. “To put it bluntly, tourists and oil tankers don’t mix.” Brian Maffly in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read more »
Important Win for Private Land Conservation
After years of hard work and persistence by the Land Trust Alliance, our land trust members and our allies on Capitol Hill—and in the face of well-resourced opposition—Congress finally passed the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act as part of its year-end “omnibus” spending bill. … In 2015, Congress made permanent—due to the steadfast advocacy of the Alliance and the land trust community—a measure intended to encourage conservation easements: the enhanced federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations, which has helped thousands of Americans voluntarily conserve millions of acres of their own land for the benefit of their families, their communities and the nation. For those that own land with important natural, agricultural or historic resources, donating a conservation easement can be a practical way to both save the land they love forever while realizing significant federal tax savings. Unfortunately, while the vast majority of these donations are indeed good-faith charitable endeavors, a few bad actors sought to game the system in pursuit of quick—and often staggeringly outsized—profits. Andrew Bowman for the Land Trust Alliance | Read more »
SAPIENS Says “Pitch Us!”
We seek pitches for new articles to be published in SAPIENS.org. We publish works from all four fields: archaeology, biological/physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. For your contribution, we offer an honorarium of US$250. Each year, we select most of the magazine’s contributions at two deadlines: February 1 and September 1. SAPIENS | Learn more »
How Ice Age Humans Prepared Food
We humans can’t stop playing with our food. Just think of all the different ways of serving potatoes—entire books have been written about potato recipes alone. The restaurant industry was born from our love of flavoring food in new and interesting ways. My team’s analysis of the oldest charred food remains ever found show that jazzing up your dinner is a human habit dating back at least 70,000 years. Ceren Kabukcu in SAPIENS (via The Conversation) | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: Reclaiming Ancestral Foodways
While farming is something the Hopi and their Puebloan ancestors have done for a thousand years or more, the practice withered, along with many other cultural traditions, as the result of colonization during the 19th and 20th centuries. Like most American Indian tribes, the Hopi and Navajo people were robbed of their self-sufficient farming lifestyle after they were forced onto tribal lands where food came from government-issued commodities. And the generations of tribal members who spent their youth in boarding schools often lacked the knowledge or desire of their ancestors to grow traditional crops such as corn, beans and squash, perpetuating the tribes’ reliance on low-quality, non-perishable foods. … [Lilian] Hill is among a growing number of Indigenous people on Hopi and Navajo lands who are seeking to restore health to their communities and connect to traditional culture through farming. “I am committed to learning the ways of my ancestors and passing that on to my children,” Hill says. “This is how we will reclaim our identity as a people.” Annette McGivney in Arizona Highways | Read more »
Profile of ASU’s Ancient Technology Lab
The Ancient Technology Lab—part of the Institute of Human Origins—is essential to their studies and those of other undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students on campus. There, students can engage in what is called “experimental” archeology—replicating ancient technology. Their research is part of an effort to understand the evolution of human cognition as it relates to tool technology. ASU News | Read more »
Video: The Chinese Railroad Worker Experience in Terrace, Utah
With Christopher Merritt (Utah Dept. of Cultural & Community Engagement) and Karen Kwan (Utah House of Representatives and Salt Lake City Community College). Over the last few years, the Bureau of Land Management, State Historic Preservation Office, and other partners—together with the Chinese descendant community—have partnered to investigate the historical and archaeological legacy of the Transcontinental Railroad in northwestern Utah. Two years of archaeological investigations at a ghost town’s Chinatown have uncovered significant archaeological information and helped to connect living descendant communities to this important story. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Watch now »
Podcast: An Oral History of Indigenous Archaeologies
With Dr. Joe Watkins. Dr. Watkins is a Citizen of the Choctaw Nation and has been an advocate for archaeological collaboration with Indigenous Communities throughout his career as an archaeologist. Host Carlton Gover explores Dr. Watkins’ career in Archaeology and the history and continued importance of Indigenous Archaeologies. A Life in Ruins | Listen now »
Podcast: Preserving Ancestral Puebloan Roads
With Rob Weiner. A series of linear roads were built around 1000 years ago all over the four corners area, but focusing on the Chaco Canyon region. Weiner’s research at the University of Colorado in Boulder focuses on monumental roads that the ancestors of the Pueblo and Diné people built about 1000 years ago here on the Colorado Plateau. We talk about the significance of these architectural monuments, how they are mapped out, and why it is important to preserve them. Science Moab | Listen now »
Blog: Perishables in the Ray Robinson Collection
After a hiatus of 519 days due to COVID-19, our team returned to work at the Archaeology Southwest Lab in August 2021, when we resumed our documentation of Robinson Collection funerary and perishable artifacts housed in the ASM Repository in October 2021. For the 2021–2022 lab sessions, we restructured the program to include six volunteers, working two days per week at the ASM Repository and the Archaeology Southwest lab. The overall collection covers several artifact classes, with a predominance of ceramics, ground stone objects, and lithics, with the vast majority of these being from non-funerary contexts. After the aforementioned delay, we are pleased to report that our documentation of the objects and sites represented in the Robinson assemblage now includes all funerary and perishable objects. As of this report, the team has documented more than 400 perishable objects from the collection. Jaye Smith, Jeff Clark, Joyce Clarke, Mary Graham, and Phil Hunger for the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read more »
REMINDER: TODAY, Jan. 18 In-Person Event (Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge AZ): “Wildfires, monsoons, and hurricanes, oh my!”
With Christopher Combel. Climate change represents a significant challenge to resource managers. Wildfires, monsoons, and hurricanes (oh my!) all threaten and impact cultural resources in different ways. Join CAGR archeologist Christopher Combel as he discusses the ways he has seen climate change impact sites that he has managed and some of the strategies that land managers are trying to mitigate the impacts of climate change on cultural resources in the National Park Service. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument | Learn more »
REMINDER: Jan. 19 Online Event: Was Fremont a Southwestern Culture or a Great Basin Copycat?
With Dr. Katie Richards. Archaeologists have debated how to interpret the Fremont region to the north of the US Southwest because Fremont peoples showed connections to but isolation from their Puebloan neighbors. Dr. Richards argues Fremont is best understood as a northern periphery of the Southwest. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
Jan. 20 In-Person Event (Phoenix AZ): Akimel O’Odham Perspectives on Pueblo Grande in the Past and Present
Barnaby Lewis, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer with the Gila River Indian Community, will discuss Akimel O’Odham perspectives on the past and present of the homeland of the O’Odham (Pima) and PiiPaash/Pee Posh (Maricopa) people and their ancestors (central Arizona), with a special focus on Pueblo Grande. Following his presentation, tours of the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park will be provided by members of the tribal historic preservation offices of the Gila River and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Communities, employees of the City of Phoenix Office of Archaeology and professional cultural resource specialists. Talk at 1:30 p.m.; tour at 2:30 p.m. Multi-sponsor event with support from Arizona Humanities | Learn more »
Jan. 23 Online Event: 8th Annual Winter Party and Fundraiser
Join AAHS for its Winter Party and Fundraiser through Zoom Webinar to be with family, friends, colleagues, and others interested in the archaeology, history, and cultures of the Southwest for a celebration of who we are. This event will include three fun spontaneous debates for your education and entertainment, for which you can participate as debate judges with donation votes to help AAHS raise funds to support its Research and Travel Grants program. Ed Kabotie, musician, artist, and storyteller from the Hopi village of Shungopavi and the Tewa village of Khapo-Owingeh, has graciously agreed to share his music during the event. Through music, art, and storytelling he shares the courageous stories of the people and lands of Indigenous America. There also will be a silent auction of unique southwestern and other items including Oaxacan Alebrijes, pottery, and other offerings. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | Learn more and register (free) »
Jan. 28 In-Person Event (Tucson AZ): Native Nations Demonstrations & Craft Market
Celebrate the culture and history of local Tucson Native Americans. Beadwork, pottery, shell jewelry, and flintknapping demonstrations will take place, with crafts available for purchase. Miss Tohono O’odham Nation and the Amphi Native American Education Association will be storytelling. The Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture will have a display of Sonoran Desert crops. The Grand Opening of the Presidio’s new Early People’s Park with a re-created pit house and a native garden will take place. Lastly, fry bread and popovers will be available. Tickets available at the door. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson | Learn more »
Feb. 7 Online Event: Weaving a Partnership
With Louie Garcia and Laurie Webster. For the past five years, the Cedar Mesa Perishables project has engaged the expertise of Pueblo fiber artists in its documentation of ancient textiles, baskets, wooden implements, and other organic cultural items from southeastern Utah. In this presentation, archaeologist and project director Laurie Webster and Tiwa-Piro weaver and team member Louie Garcia will trace the project’s collaborative path and discuss how this approach has enriched archaeological understanding of ancestral Pueblo perishable technologies while also stimulating the preservation and revitalization of the Pueblo fiber arts. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and register (free) »
Video Channel Roundup
Find out which webinars and videos you missed and get caught up at the YouTube channels of our Partners and Friends. (And please do let us know if your channel isn’t in this list but should be!)
Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society
Arizona State Museum
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Grand Canyon Trust
Grand Staircase Escalante Partners
Mesa Prieta Petroglyphs Project
Museum of Indian Arts and Cultures
Museum of Northern Arizona
Old Pueblo Archaeology Center
San Diego Archaeological Center
School for Advanced Research
The Archaeological Conservancy
Verde Valley Archaeology Center
Our friends at Southwest Seminars offer pay-per-view videos of their past lectures here.
Remember to send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the Friends.