Today’s greeting began in my laundry room over the weekend. The latest issue of Journal of the Southwest arrived last week, and it features an article by my friend Bill Doolittle. Bill is a geographer who is retiring after a long career at the University of Texas at Austin. It’s a long article—four pages shy of 100.
Even though Bill’s professional life has brought him into near-continuous interaction with archaeologists, he chose not to organize it chronologically. He shares experiences with his readers in his chosen way—and his experiences are from nearly 50 years of research and fieldwork in or about the north Mexican state of Sonora.
Three loads of laundry (wash, dry, fold), boiling up a batch of sugar water for my hummingbirds, and a final hour of just sitting in a chair reading got me through the entire article.
I really enjoyed it. Bill shared his experiences with many, many people. The fact that I knew some of them kept me personally engaged with the story. And many of his stories reminded me of experiences I had in the 1970s in southern Mexico.
As I read, I reflected on a personal experience related to Bill’s work in the Rio Sonora. In 1988, Henry Wallace and I spent four days there. I was writing a review of Carroll (Cal) Riley’s wonderful book The Frontier People: The Greater Southwest in the Protohistoric Period, and I wanted to understand why he described the Rio Sonora settlements at Spanish contact as “statelets.” Furthermore, Bill Doolittle borrowed that concept as an archaeological model for the valley.
It was a wonderful trip. We didn’t have Bill there to guide us, but we had his UA Press Anthropological Paper. Using his maps, we found our way around a valley neither of us had ever visited. We enjoyed the archaeology, but we weren’t convinced about the “statelets.” Bill notes in his new article that he thinks Southwestern archaeologists have gotten over the “statelets thing.” I raise it here just to let him know that not all of us have…
I spent the rest of my weekend working on the upcoming issue of Archaeology Southwest Magazine. That issue is my love letter to the Gila River Watershed, where I have spent nearly five decades working. Bill Doolittle, I suspect you’ll have more than one “nit to pick” when you read that later this month!
In closing, if you have access to the Journal of the Southwest, do read Bill’s article. Reading it has me wishing I’d spent more time south of the border—just 65 miles south of my home. Thanks, Bill, for adding your personal stories to the literature of Sonora.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. Two important things happened on Tuesday that were too late to fully incorporate into this note. President Biden established a new national monument, and the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Archaeology Southwest filed a Notice of Dispute regarding the SunZia Undertaking Programmatic Agreement. More on the former in this edition, and more on the latter next week.
Banner image: Luca Galuzzi via Wikimedia Commons
Meet the Newest US National Monument, Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni
Declaring it good “not only for Arizona but for the planet,” President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a national monument designation for the greater Grand Canyon, turning the decades-long visions of Native American tribes and environmentalists into reality. Coming as Biden is on a three-state Western trip, the move will help preserve about 1,562 square miles (4,046 square kilometers) just to the north and south of Grand Canyon National Park. It encompasses canyons, plateaus and tributaries that feed a range of plants and wildlife, including bison, elk, desert bighorn sheep and rare species of cactus, and it is Biden’s fifth monument designation. … “I’ve had a lot of mixed emotions leading up to this day,” [Carletta Tilousi, a former Havasupai councilwoman and spokesperson for the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition] said. “One, missing my elders that started this campaign. They’ve all passed away. … They weren’t here to witness this special moment physically but I know they’re here in the clouds, in the wind.” Chris Megerian and Terry Tang for Associated Press | Read more »
Listen to WBUR’s Here & Now interview with Jim Enote about the designation and what it means to him as a Zuni »
Watch President Biden’s remarks on the designation »
Read the Proclamation »
Read the White House’s fact sheet on the designation »
Check out multimedia about the new monument from the Grand Canyon Trust »
Commentary: Indigenous Youth Are Key to Sustainable Future
Indigenous Knowledge (also called Traditional Knowledge, Indigenous Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, recognizing that it is not a monolithic knowledge system) contains dynamic and holistic understandings of stewardship and the world. Undervalued and dismissed in the past century or so, Indigenous Knowledge is increasingly being documented and recognized as key to tackling the many challenges facing humans today, including sustainable adaptation to changes in the climate. We call on Indigenous Peoples around the world to co-create a dialogue to develop sustainable partnerships and take active roles in the global discourse on climate resilience. We also call on decision makers and policymakers worldwide to involve Indigenous Peoples in local and global biodiversity conservation endeavours. Young members of Indigenous communities, in particular, serve crucial roles in bridging older and future generations, and are well placed to combine Indigenous Knowledge with modern technologies and practices. Temitope Olawunmi Sogbanmu, Heather Suyaq Jean Gordon, Lahcen El Youssfi, Fridah Dermmillah Obare, Seria Duncan, Marion Hicks, Khadeejah Ibraheen Bello, Faris Ridzuam, and Adeyemi Oladapo Aremu in Nature | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: Chaco Rockfall May Be Due to Record-High Temps
National Park geomorphologist Eric Bilderback took a look at pictures of the rockfall and says cracks in the rock are expected, given how the rocks formed under pressure and underground. But heat can speed up the spread of those cracks and ultimately lead to a rockfall. “The rock temperature in the area is hitting its annual high,” Bilderback wrote to the park. “There have been high rock temperatures at 10 cm depth of over 40 degrees C (104° F) this month starting on the 13th of July. Rock temperature has been daily cycling between about 25° and 40° C (77-104° F), this can certainly drive rock fracture for these kinds of exfoliation slabs.” Curtis Segarra for KRQE News 13 (Albuquerque) | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary
For generations, the Chumash Tribal Nation have been stewards of a vital marine ecosystem along the central coast of California, bordering St. Louis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County. The area is home to species like blue whales, black abalone, and snowy plovers. And it’s also an important part of the Chumash tribe’s rich traditions and culture. Tribal leaders have pushed for decades to designate the area as a national marine sanctuary. Now, the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary is in the final stages of the approval process, which would make it the first tribally nominated national marine sanctuary in the country. Science Friday (NPR) | Listen now (transcript available) »
August Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
8/14, Andrew Gulliford, What’s Truly at Stake in Bears Ears 11,000 Years of History; 8/21, Mateo Romero (Cochiti Pueblo), Who Are We and Why Does It Matter? Or “When Are Indians Going to Be the ‘Good Guys’ in the Movies?”; Carleton Bowekaty (Zuni), Bears Ears: In the Sacred Land between. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: Aug. 10 Online Event: Bedrock Ground Stone Features
With Elizabeth Lynch. This webinar addresses the materiality and social aspects of a specific type of ground stone tool known as bedrock ground stone (BGS) features that are found in the canyons of southeastern Colorado. The region is a dynamic cultural landscape that witnessed interaction between Southwest, Plains and Eastern precontact societies. Due to their inaccessibility, physically and methodologically, BGS features have remained hidden from the archaeological gaze, at the corner of the kitchen hearth, awaiting notice and inclusion in the way we construct our knowledge of the past. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: Aug. 12 Online Event: The Distribution of Cultural Lac Scale Use (Tachardiella spp.) in the Arid Southwest
With Marilen Pool. This talk will discuss the examination of the lac scale insect in the arid Southwest and the distribution of its cultural use. Three species, Tachardiella fulgens, Tachardiella larreae and Tachardiella pustulata are those most known to have been utilized by the indigenous peoples of the region from as early as the Archaic period to the modern era as an adhesive, mastic, and coating for the fabrication of tools, weapons, musical instruments, kicking balls, ornaments, and amulets. It was also used for hermetic sealing of containers to protect foods and seeds from pests and as a repair material for mending pottery. Amerind | Learn more and register (free) »
Aug. 16 Webinar: Protecting Archaeological Sites
With Shannon Cowell and Ashleigh Thompson. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) is one of several laws created to safeguard archaeological and cultural resources. What sets ARPA apart is its requirement for collaboration between law enforcement officers and archaeologists. This webinar will provide a basic introduction to ARPA, discuss how to respond to ARPA violations, and present the site protection outreach efforts at SaveHistory.org. Save History and Oklahoma Historical Society/SHPO | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: Aug. 17 Online Event: The 1541 O’odham Annihilation of Vázquez de Coronado’s Southern Arizona Townsite
With Deni Seymour. She will discuss southern Arizona Coronado expedition sites she has identified recently and excavations at the first permanent European settlement in the Southwest that was eliminated by O’odham. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
Aug. 17 Online Event: Gardens in the Sand: Historic Early Landscapes in the Southwest
With Baker Morrow. Ancient Pueblo cultivation practices focused on the development of a network of small “pocket” gardens around a Pueblo settlement, laid out on hillsides, valley floors, and the crests of hills. Many of these constructs were set in pinyon-juniper woodlands, taking advantage of sparse but carefully used rain and snowfall, which was channeled to insure the success of the garden system. The dryness of the Southwest has preserved many of these ancient landscape features. We can still study them today, perhaps learning in the process a very good way to live and thrive in one of North America’s most demanding environments. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
Aug. 19 In-Person Event: Celebration of All Things S-cuk Sǫn/Tucson
Event attendees will celebrate the variety of cultures that make our region special including: Mariachi Los Diablitos de Sunnyside High School; Desert Sky Winds Waila Band; Tucson Chinese Cultural Center Chinese Lion Dances; and Tucson Presidio Garrison Soldier Drills. Visitors will also have the opportunity to interact with a variety of community partners. 6:15–10:00 p.m. at the Presidio Museum. Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission and the Presidio Museum | Learn more »
REMINDER: Aug. 20 Tour (Tucson AZ): Popol Vuh and the Hero Twins in Mesoamerica and the US Southwest
Tucson Museum of Art (140 N. Main Ave.), 1:00–2:30 p.m. TMA’s “Popol Vuh and the Maya Art of Storytelling” exhibit brings in archaeological imagery suggesting ancient US Southwest cultures shared the Mayan Popol Vuh’s “Hero Twins” culture-heroes narrative. The tour includes visits to TMA’s “Art of the Ancient Americas” and “Enduring Legacies” Indigenous American art exhibits. Reservations and $20 donation prepayment due by 5:00 p.m. August 17. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | Learn more »
Sept. 8–9 Tour: Homol’ovi and Rock Art Ranch Pueblos and Petroglyphs
With Rich Lange. Starting at Homolovi State Park near Winslow, AZ, the tour visits post-1200 ancestral Hopi pueblos where Chuck Adams and Lange directed the Arizona State Museum 1983–2016 Homol’ovi Research Program, a Basketmaker II (500–850 CE) to Pueblo II/III (1150–1225) village site, and the Rock Art Ranch petroglyphs in Chevelon Canyon near Holbrook. Reservations and $109 donation prepayment due by 5:00 p.m. Sept. 1. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | Learn more »
Sept. 6–Dec. 6 Online Class: The Hohokam Culture of Southern Arizona
With Allen Dart. Wednesdays (skipping Oct 25 & Nov. 22) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Arizona time (same as Pacific Daylight Time through Nov. 1). Topics include Hohokam origins, artifacts and architecture, interactions with other cultures, subsistence, settlement, social and organizational systems, and ideas on religion and trade. Arizona Archaeological Society Certification available. Reservations and $99 donation prepayment due by 5:00 p.m. Sept. 1. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | Learn more »
Jan. 31–March 6, 2024 Online Class: Recent Discoveries regarding Point of Pines Pueblo
With Patrick Lyons. Excavated from 1946 to 1958 by the Arizona State Museum and the University of Arizona Department (now School) of Anthropology, Point of Pines Pueblo was the largest late pre-Hispanic settlement in the mountains of Arizona, consisting of as many as 800 rooms. Point of Pines Pueblo has long been at the center of discussions about ancient migrations in the U.S. Southwest and interactions between locals and immigrants. In this six-session Master Class, we will explore the results of four recent studies focused on the unpublished collections from the site and their associated records, including original field notes, maps, and photographs. Tuition fees apply. Arizona State Museum | Learn more »
See some of you at the Pecos Conference in a few days! Sara and Caprice will be representing Archaeology Southwest in the vendor/information tent, and Paul Reed will be out and about! We look forward to meeting you if you’re a new friend and catching up with you if you’re an old friend!
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. Thanks!