On the last weekend of Black History Month, l drove a road I know well but hadn’t traveled since COVID—the road to Camp Naco.
There was an Open House to celebrate Black History Month and to mark grant awards to the City of Bisbee and Naco Heritage Alliance totaling $8.1 million. The funders are the State of Arizona and the Mellon Foundation for building restoration and program development.
It was powerful to see the diversity in Saturday’s audience. There were locals, historic preservationists, and a sizable gathering of Buffalo Soldier descendants and other African American residents of southern Arizona. Brooks Jeffery of the Naco Heritage Alliance (NHA) was the program emcee, and Becky Orozco (NHA co-founder) recounted highlights of the Camp Naco story. Bisbee Mayor Ken Budge emphasized the theme of tenacity while conveying Bisbee’s commitment to success. Christina Morris of the National Trust for Historic Preservation highlighted the dramatic and positive effect listing Camp Naco as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2022 has had on the camp’s future.
Charles Hancock, President of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers, gave the keynote address. He spoke to the theme of this year’s Black History Month: Black Resistance. He acknowledged the racism experienced by African American soldiers, and he consistently underscored his theme: “Black History is American History, and American History is Black History. The two are inextricably intertwined. You can’t have one without the other.”
It was a fitting launch to Camp Naco’s mission going forward. In a written message, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs said, “I look forward to visiting Camp Naco in the near future to witness the transformation of the site into a vibrant community center and destination for arts and culture in southern Arizona.”
And the Mellon Foundation wrote that “Mellon deeply believes this is an important site for building understanding of the layered and often collective histories we share, must remember, and must continue to learn from.”
“Onward!” said Brooks Jeffery as he closed the event.
Until next week,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. To see a few images from this event, check out my blog post, which adds those to this same text.
Respect Great Bend Coalition Premieres Story Map
The Coalition has just debuted its first-ever interactive Story Map showcasing the Great Bend of the Gila. This multimedia experience introduces viewers to people who value this region, especially Indigenous leaders and elders who convey how eternal their connections to this landscape are. The interactive interface will guide you through a compelling case for why the Great Bend must be permanently protected. Respect Great Bend | Experience now »
Transporting Timber to Chaco
To construct these great houses, archaeologists have estimated that the Chacoans would have needed wood from some 200,000 trees, and those 16-foot-long wooden beams must have been transported from mountain ranges as far as 70 miles (110 km) away. Many scientists have hypothesized about how the Chacoans might have accomplished this feat. The latest theory is that the Chacoans may have used simple devices called tumplines, still favored by sherpas in Nepal, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. To test that hypothesis, co-authors Rodger Kram and James Wilson spent the summer of 2020 training until they could haul a heavy log some 15 miles using tumplines. “Some people baked sourdough bread during COVID,” said Kram, an emeritus professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “Instead, we carried sand and heavy logs around using our heads.” Jennifer Ouelette in ArsTechnica | Read more »
The authors reported that their average walking speed only dropped 10 percent when carrying the log, and that overall, the method was surprisingly easy to learn. Although there is no explicit proof that tumplines were used to transport the massive logs the Chacoans used for construction, the feasibility of their approach requires less work than any other tactic proposed. Next up for the researchers? Moving materials along the full distance from the timber’s sources in the mountains of New Mexico to the Chaco Canyon using nothing but tumplines and their heads. Jack Izzo in Popular Science | Read more »
Video: How many CU Boulder researchers does it take to carry a log? University of Colorado Boulder | Watch now »
Audio: Ancestral Hopi T-Doors
From a Hopi perspective, T-doors are recognized as tangible monuments of Hopi history, marking the vast extent of landscapes once traversed and occupied by Hopi ancestors. They contain cultural metaphors that express social identity, indicating a lifeway firmly planted in the earth through the cultivation of corn and other crops. Lyle Balenquah for KNAU (NPR) | Read or listen now »
“Science Friday” Segment Examines NAGPRA Issues
NAGPRA held a lot of promise, but now—33 years later—more than 110,000 Native American, Hawaiian, and Alaskan human remains are held up in research institutions. So why, decades later, have so many institutions failed to return remains? That’s the focus of a new report from ProPublica. ProPublica reporter Mary Hudetz joins guest host John Dankosky to discuss why NAGPRA fell short, and where to go from here. Science Friday (NPR) | Listen now or read transcript »
What the Heck Is Going On at New Mexico’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs?
On Feb. 13, Eric Blinman was working on a dig site at the Palace of the Governors when he got a call to meet at the Stewart L. Udall Center for Museum Resources around 4 p.m. Upon arrival, he was told that he was being let go from his position as the director of the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies—a department he worked for since 1988. Blinman is the latest Department of Cultural Affairs director to be let go under the supervision of Cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego. Since being appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2019, Garcia y Griego has been at the helm of a revolving door of directors at a number of state-run museums and historic sites. … There have been multiple vacancies and at least five directors have been fired or asked to resign. Adrian Gomez in the Albuquerque Journal | Read more »
Confirmation hearings are usually placid events with sponsors, supporters and the candidate all making nice. If and when Debra Garcia y Griego’s confirmation comes forward as secretary of the Department of Cultural Affairs, you can expect a different kind of proceeding. Garcia y Griego recently fired the highly respected State Archeologist Eric Blinman, who for 17 years directed the Office of Archaeological Studies (OAS). Within a week, a forcefully worded letter reached the governor with 120-plus signatures from his fellow professionals. Now an addendum is circulating to allow more people to sign the letter. Sherry Robinson in the Carlsbad Current Argus | Read more »
ICYMI/Deadline Extended: Call for Indigenous Artist
Save History is seeking an Indigenous artist (must be a U.S. citizen) to illustrate a short story in a graphic novel style. Save History is a collaborative effort by Tribal organizations, archaeologists, federal and Tribal law enforcement, and supporters dedicated to ending the theft and destruction of archaeological resources on Tribal and public lands. We share stories from Indigenous people on how looting and vandalism of heritage sites impact their communities. Our team has written an anti-vandalism short story that needs to be illustrated. Save History will distribute the printed story to places where we educate the public about the impacts of archaeological resource crime (e.g., schools, museums, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, etc.), as well as post it on our website and our online platforms. The artist will collaboratively work with the Save History team to illustrate four full-page images. This project can be done remotely, but the artist will need internet access in order to meet virtually with Save History staff. The budget is $2000 to be paid at the completion of the project. SaveHistory.org | Learn more »
Job Opportunity: Archaeologist, New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Program
The New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Program (AML) is hiring an archaeologist to oversee cultural resource compliance needs for abandoned mine reclamation and safeguarding projects. This position will provide duties necessary to meet the Program’s legislative mandate to protect public health, safety, and property from the adverse effects of historic mining practices and to help ensure that Program activities comply with the National Historic Preservation and National Environmental Policy Acts, and offers a variety of fieldwork, public outreach, and training opportunities. New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department | Learn more »
Blog: Henry Ransom, an Early African-American Resident of Tucson
In 1992, Desert Archaeology conducted archaeological testing on City of Tucson Water Department property on South Osborn Avenue, located on the southern half of Historic Block 138 within the Barrio Libre south of downtown. A backhoe was used to strip portions of the project area, locating building foundations, wells, outhouse pits, and trash-filled pits. After fieldwork was completed, documentary research revealed that the occupants of Lot 8 included the family of Henry Ransom, an African-American man who arrived in Tucson in the early 1880s. Henry’s life was briefly told in 1933 when a University of Arizona student, James Walter Yancy, wrote his master’s thesis on African-American residents of Tucson. Other documentary sources helped fill in some of the details of Ransom’s life. Homer Thiel at Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.) | Read more »
Blog: Finding Hohokam Social Connections and Boundaries through cyberSW
Over the past four decades, the Hohokam region has become fertile ground for understanding social interactions at a large scale. Despite an ever-increasing cultural dataset, the region has largely escaped the big data revolution that has taken place in other areas of the Southwest, particularly the Ancestral Puebloan region. Until recently, archaeologists had yet to devote significant energy to amassing and synthesizing regional data from the Hohokam region. The powerful web-based tool cyberSW is on the verge of freeing Hohokam research from project-management boundaries and enabling us to understand Hohokam social connections in new and exciting ways. As we will discuss, cyberSW provides access to previously inaccessible data, but its full research potential has yet to be reached. Christopher R. Caseldine, Alexis Malone, and Emily Lemaster at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read more »
March Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
March 6, Shawna Allison Becenti, Kevin Belin, Yilnazbah Rosie Wauneka, Devin Lansing, Nicole Smith, and Landon Succo (all Diné), Yideeską́ą́góó Naat’áanii—Leaders Now and Into the Future; March 13, Kirt Kempter, Diablo Maar Volcano: The Volcano before the Canyon; March 20 Thomas Dalton Dillehay, Peopling of South America: Recent Prospects & New Directions; March 27, Nicolasa Chavez, Semana Santa Ritual Ceremonies. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: March 2 Online Event: Local Partnership, Regional Impact: Survey and Site Documentation in Cortez Cultural Center’s Hawkins Preserve
With Kellam Throgmorton. With the assistance of Archaeology Research Program participants, Crow Canyon recently completed 22 acres of survey in the Hawkins Preserve south of Cortez. This talk provides a summary of prior investigations at Hawkins and preliminary results from Crow Canyon’s recent work. Based on the 22 acres surveyed to date (about one sixth of the total preserve), a surprising range of site types are present reflecting use of the locale by Pueblo, Ute, Navajo, and Euro-American peoples. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
March 6 In-Person Event (Portales NM): From Frontier to Center Place: The Dynamic Trajectory of the Chaco World
With Barbara Mills. Mills will present the 24th annual Cynthia Irwin-Williams Lectureship at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 6 in Portales. The presentation is free and open to the public in the Art and Anthropology Building. Eastern New Mexico University Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology | Learn more »
REMINDER: March 7 Online Event: Collaborative Archaeology and the ‘Becoming Hopi’ Project
With Stewart Koyiyumptewa and Wes Bernardini. For nearly two decades, Hopi tribal members and external scholars have collaborated on a monumental history of the Hopi Mesas. The presenters will discuss the importance of collaboration and how tribal perspectives have changed our understanding of Hopi history. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: March 8 In-Person (Durango CO) and Online Event: Creating Color in the Chaco World
With Kelsey E. Hanson. Hanson will discuss “Creating Color in the Chaco World: Spatial Histories of Paint Production at Pueblo Bonito.” Her research considers how specialized knowledge is cultivated and circulated in communities and is encoded in material culture. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | Learn more »
March 9 Online Event: A Woman’s Role in Hopi Society
With Deloria Lomawaima. Hopi gender roles have always provided a balance within Hopi society. As a matrilineal society, Hopi women have a specific purpose and path that has traditionally been followed for a millennium. In this presentation, Deloria will present a brief overview of what a Hopi woman’s role is within the family, the clan, and village dynamics. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
March 14 In-Person Event (Phoenix AZ): Longevity and Social Change among Ancient Farmers along the Lower Salt River
With Chris Caseldine. Beginning with a large-scale detailed reconstruction of lower Salt River Valley Hohokam irrigation, Caseldine will argue that the system was well attuned to both environmental and social changes and challenges the assumption that political hierarchy is required to manage large-scale irrigation systems. Pueblo Grande Museum Community Room, 6:30 p.m. MST. Arizona Archaeological Society, Phoenix Chapter | Learn more »
March 18 Tour (Tucson AZ): Vista de Rio Site
With Allen Dart. From 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., Dart will give a free site tour of the Vista del Rio Cultural Resource Park at 7575 E. Desert Arbors St., Tucson. The Vista del Rio archaeological site was an ancient village inhabited by people of southern Arizona’s Hohokam culture between 1000 and 1150 CE. Reservations due by 5:00 p.m. March 16. Old Pueblo Archaeological Center | Learn more »
March 18 In-Person Event (Tucson AZ): 150th Anniversary of the Founding of Fort Lowell
Fort Lowell was active from 1873 to 1891 during the Apache Wars. It is the successor to Camp Lowell, which was located in downtown Tucson from 1866–1873. The soldiers stationed at the fort were responsible for escorting and protecting wagon trains, protecting nearby settlers, guarding supplies, patrolling the border, and conducting offensive operations against the Western and Chiricahua Apache tribes. The fort was abandoned at the end of the Apache Wars. The Presidio Museum has recently taken over management of the Fort Lowell Museum and is working with the City of Tucson to reopen the museum once needed improvements are completed on the building. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum and City of Tucson | Learn more »
March 20 Online Event: Rain and Fertility Symbolism in the Rock Art and Cultural landscape of the Trincheras Sites of Northwestern Sonora
With Julio Amador Bech. Examined collectively and in conjunction with ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and astronomical data, we suggest Trincheras archaeology reveals a complex cultural system that provided the community with collective goals transcending the immediate needs of food, shelter, and defense. The archaeological remains within their landscape settings are microcosmic expressions of a larger cosmological scheme involving increased rituals related to rain production and fertility. They demonstrate the cultural uniqueness that human action on the landscape adopted in these sites and reflect the complex cultural relations that this tradition had with its neighbors from northwestern and western Mexico as well as with the American Southwest. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | Learn more and register (free) »
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