I spend a good bit of time in the early morning taking in different media. There’s my current audiobook during my workout on the elliptical and before my coffee. I usually finish a chapter while nursing that cup of coffee. Then it’s time to consume some newspaper content—digitally.
I spend most time with the New York Times. And I’ve added a digital subscription to the Los Angeles Times to try to balance the east and west of the US. And I’ve had a digital subscription to the Salt Lake Tribune since they became a nonprofit.
All too often I come away from this digital experience exhausted. But Tuesday I found an intriguing article on “sidewalk fossils” in the NYT. They are imprints of leaves, footprints, and other miscellanies that are pressed “naturally” into the wet cement. The author found solace and opportunities for contemplation in searching out these items during the isolation of the pandemic. She highlighted how the urban fossils gave her something tangible to focus on.
And then she stated something that is at the core of archaeology—“We all shed traces of ourselves, whether we know it or not.”
She also noted that “sidewalk fossils offer peeks into lives that continued.” That’s a theme that Indigenous people regularly underscore in conversations with archaeologists.
The lives of past individuals and communities that archaeologists worldwide document through material traces are part of a long progression of lives that led to each and every one of us, including today’s Tribal citizens.
It’s a point that I remind myself of often. It’s a point we try to respect and embed in our Preservation Archaeology approach.
Until next week,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Commentary: Museums Should Stop Exhibiting Human Bodies
Many human remains, whether skeletal or mummified, found in Western museums came there due to the legacy of imperialism and colonialism. Many bodies put on display are those of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, or are ancient enough to seem culturally distinct from modern populations. They didn’t choose to be there. Displays of other cultures’ dead are therefore expressions of racial and cultural power dynamics, and our language reflects that. They aren’t “us.” Jason Colavito at CNN | Read more »
Editors’ note: And here is a compelling ProPublica article by Logan Jaffe on the Dickson Mounds Museum (and NAGPRA issues with the Illinois State Museum), which for decades left exposed graves and the bodies of Indigenous ancestors open to the public as an exhibition. Its interim director is a member of a descendant community. »
Commentary: Protect the Caja del Rio
As community leaders in a diverse coalition working to protect the Caja del Rio, we write to express our urgent concerns regarding the need for more responsible stewardship and permanent protection of this amazing landscape. Over the past year, our coalition has seen an increase in threats to the Caja’s landscape, wildlife and cultural resources, including vandalism and defacement of sacred sites and petroglyphs, illegal dumping, theft of personal and government property, poaching of wildlife, illegal off-highway vehicle use, unlawful shooting and overall threats to public safety. Andrew Black in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read more »
National Park Service Releases New App
One app, every park at your fingertips. The NPS App is the new official app for the National Park Service with tools to explore more than 400 national parks nationwide. Find interactive maps, tours of park places, on-the-ground accessibility information, and much more to plan your national park adventures before and during your trip. The free app is currently available for iOS and Android devices. National Park Service | Learn more »
Archaeology Café Welcomes Members of the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project on Feb. 7
Laurie Webster and Louie Garcia will discuss “Weaving a Partnership: The Collaborative Journey of the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project.” 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) »
Podcast: Practicing Engaged Archaeology
Host Catherine Cooper speaks with Sarah Herr and Kelley Hays-Gilpin about different ways archaeologists are practicing engaged archaeology in the American Southwest. Preservation Technology (National Park Service) | Listen now »
Blog: Mexican Fortress to US Town: Tucson in the 1840s and 1850s
Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821. In the years afterward, many changes occurred in the small fortress community of Presidio San Agustín del Tucson. The 1840s were an especially trying time for its residents. The Spaniards had maintained a force of about 100 soldiers at the fort, but the Mexican government lacked the immense financial resources of the Spanish Empire. As a result, the number of soldiers was reduced to about 60. This took place while Apache raids in the region were intensifying. Gradually the other settlements in what is now southern Arizona were abandoned, the people leaving missions, ranches, and mines and either heading south into Sonora or moving to Tucson, which by the late 1840s was the only community left. Homer Thiel at Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.) | Read more »
Position Announcement: Cultural Resource Specialist, Bat Habitat Protection & Restoration Program (SW US)
Bat Conservation International (BCI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ending bat extinctions worldwide, seeks a full-time Cultural Resource Specialist to join BCI’s Conservation Department. The Cultural Resource Specialist will work as part of the Restoration Team in the Habitat Protection & Restoration Program (HP&R). The successful candidate will work directly with BCI’s Cultural Resource Field Lead to document and analyze archaeological sites, primarily historic-period abandoned mines. This includes writing archaeological technical reports, completing cultural resource inventory forms, and conducting fieldwork on public lands throughout the southwest United States. Bat Conservation International | Learn more »
Position Announcement: Lead Archeologist, Bandelier National Monument (Los Alamos NM)
Incumbent serves as a cultural resources specialist for one or more parks where archeological resources comprise a major part of the park story. Leads cultural resources projects involving sensitive and complex issues. Supports parks planning by gathering information and contributing to resource management plans, interpretive plans, and other wide-ranging park management processes. Acts as the administrative and technical supervisor for a supporting staff and oversees the work of contractors and cooperators. Acts as the park’s Section 106 coordinator and makes significant contributions to the preparation of historic preservation documentation, compliance, and background material for clearances, permits, materials related NAGPRA and ARPA. National Park Service | Learn more »
Job Opportunity: West Valley Community Organizer (Phoenix metro AZ)
TWS is seeking an Independent Consultant to serve as a West Valley (Organizer). This part-time position would be contractual and last six months from the start date with potential for another six-month renewal. The hourly rate would be between $40-$50/per hour depending on experience. The Organizer would need to be based in in Phoenix metro and be able to provide their own transportation to from the west valley communities and the adjacent public lands. The West Valley Organizer serves in a collaborative role supporting the organization’s Great Bend of the Gila conservation campaign (Campaign). The Campaign seeks to permanently protect public lands in Phoenix’s West Valley that are culturally, historically, and naturally significant (See RepectGreatBend.org for more information). The Organizer’s efforts will be focused on engaging West Valley community members and organizations, building local support for protecting these public lands for future generations. The Wilderness Society | Learn more »
Training Opportunity: Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology
The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA) at the Smithsonian seeks to promote broader and more effective use of museum collections—artifacts, audio recordings, art works, still and moving images—in anthropological research by providing graduate students with an immersive, four-week training program and research experience at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, fellowships are awarded to teaching faculty who are interested in learning how to incorporate museum collections into their teaching. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History | Learn more »
February Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Feb. 6, Thomas Dalton Dillehay, Out of the Shadows: A Contextual Case Study of the Beginnings of Andean Civilization in North Peru; Feb. 13, Nicolasa Chavez, History of Chocolate; Feb. 20, Aulton E. ‘Bob’ Roland, The True Story of Placida Romero; Feb. 27, Rob Weiner and Taft Blackhorse Jr., Roads and Power in the Chaco World. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
February In-Person (AZ) and Online Presentations on Southwestern Rock Imagery
Archaeologist Allen Dart presents “Set in Stone but Not in Meaning: Southwestern Indian Rock Art” at 1:00 p.m. February 8 (free, Fountain Hills Community Center, 13001 N La Montana Dr, Fountain Hills AZ; email Mary Burritt at email@example.com); at 12:00 p.m. February 9 (free, The Palace, 116 N Railroad Ave, Willcox AZ; email Gary Clement at firstname.lastname@example.org); and again at 10:00 a.m. MST February 11 ($5, online, Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation; email Sandy Reith, Sandy.Reith@pima.gov). His talk illustrates southwestern petroglyphs and pictographs and discusses their interpretations. Arizona Humanities | Learn more »
Feb. 2 Online Event: Postcards from the Sonora Border: Visualizing Place through a Popular Lens, 1900s–1950s
With Daniel Arreola. Between 1900 and the late 1950s, Mexican border towns came of age both as centers of commerce and as tourist destinations. Postcards from the Sonora Border reveal how images—in this case, the iconic postcard—shape the way we experience and think about place. Making use of his personal collection of historic images, Arreola captures the evolution of Sonoran border towns, creating a sense of visual “time travel” for the reader. State of Arizona Research Library and University of Arizona Press | Learn more and register (free) »
Feb. 4 In-Person Workshop (Tucson AZ): How Did People Make and Use Stone Tools?
With ancient technologies expert Allen Denoyer. In this beginner class, you will use ancient techniques and replica tools to create a stone projectile point. You will also learn more about how people made and used projectile points and that they were just one component of a complete hunting kit. Please note that these classes are for individuals 18 and older. Each class lasts approximately 3 hours. $50 non-members. Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more »
REMINDER: Feb. 4 Exhibit Opening (Tucson AZ): Ancient–Modern: Continuity and Innovation in Southwest Native Jewelry
Nothing better captures the spirit of the American Southwest than jewelry of shell, silver, and turquoise crafted by the region’s Indigenous artisans. The story of this cultural art form is one of continuity and innovation. Over seventy outstanding examples from ASM’s collections of ancient, historic, and contemporary jewelry will be on display. They tell of efforts by the region’s Indigenous peoples over the millennia to adorn themselves and their loved ones, engage in trade, and express their identities, cultural beliefs and values. The exhibit’s story is enlivened by comments from contemporary makers whose works are included. Arizona State Museum | Learn more »
Feb. 6 In-Person Event (Taos NM): The Battle for Bears Ears: 120 Years of Conservation History
With R.E. Burrillo. Southeastern Utah has one of the richest and most diverse sagas of human history, dating back at least 12,000 years. Since its popularization starting in the 1870s, the rich material heritage of the place has faced steady threats from development, grazing, looting, and—increasingly—recreational visitation. Efforts to implement legislative protection have existed for almost as long, but have always lagged far behind the pace of the impacts they are meant to curtail. Now they are on a collision course whose fate is yet to be determined. 7:00 p.m. MST at the Kit Carson Electric Co-op board room on Cruz Alta Rd. The talk will be recorded and posted to YouTube. Taos Archaeological Society | Learn more »
REMINDER: Feb. 9 Online Event: The Pueblo of Acoma’s Cultural Inheritance & Archaeological Partnership in the “Lands Between” of Southeastern Utah
With Sam Duwe, Kenny Wintch, and Kurt Riley. Amidst the pandemic we (a small group of individuals from the Pueblo of Acoma, academics, and a non-profit) planned and gathered in southeastern Utah to begin a project to explore and strengthen Acoma’s deep and inalienable connections to the north. We soon found that the process of building meaningful and long-lasting partnerships was as important, if not more so, than the work itself. This talk details our next steps in a community-based partnership: that of facilitating Acoma’s pilgrimage to their ancestral homes and to work with archaeologists and land managers to ensure continued access and protection of Acoma’s cultural inheritance. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
Feb. 16 Online Event: Footsteps into the Past at White Sands National Park
With Matthew Bennett. The discovery of human footprints at White Sands National Park has opened up a new archive of evidence on past behaviors and human presence. In this talk, Dr. Bennett will review some of this new evidence and create “snap-shot” into the past and discuss the controversial dating of these footprints before exploring their potential implications for the peopling of the Americas. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: Feb. 16 Online Event: 100 Years-Plus of Prescott Culture Archaeology
With Andrew Christenson. He reviews archaeological research on post-1100 sites in the Prescott area of west-central Arizona and discusses collections from Fitzmaurice Pueblo, where discoveries on room floors tell much about life there before its residents purposely closed the village upon leaving. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
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.