Reading books. Not reading books. Re-reading books.
Since I was very young, reading has been a passion. But, for a long dry spell during my early and middle professional career, there simply wasn’t time to read books.
Then, in the early portion of my “late professional career,” I discovered audiobooks. What a restorative that has been!
Last week, an applicant for one of our open staff positions made a comment that landed very uncomfortably in my brain: “My generation doesn’t read books.” Ouch.
Despite that “ouch,” I do understand—at least somewhat.
In my “not-reading-books” phase, I still consumed a great deal of information. But it was directly from knowledge producers and from article-length professional and public-oriented sources.
Last weekend, I finished the audio version of Leslie Marmon Silko’s (Laguna Pueblo) book, Ceremony, which I first read in the late 1980s. Then I quickly shifted gears to re-read History Is in the Land, (2006) by T. J. Ferguson and Chip Colwell. I strongly recommend both! (The latter has direct relevance to the San Pedro Steward position we are looking to fill and the SunZia power line we are protesting.)
As decades pass, we forget, and we grow. Re-reading books of our past can be powerful.
Along with a fair amount of yard work, three naps, and hyper-doses of re-reading, I feel like I made very productive use of my three-day weekend.
We need more of those. And (semi) retirement is looking sweet…
See you next week!
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. 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!
Banner image: Dark Canyon Wilderness, R.E. Burrillo
Proclamation on National Wilderness Month
[August 31, 2023] When we conserve our country’s landscapes and wilderness, we do more than preserve their beauty for our own enjoyment. We safeguard the future of people who depend on and sustain the land as a way of life—Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers, recreation businesses, and rural communities. We enshrine landmarks that identify the places where the history of our Nation was made. We protect sacred spaces that have been stewarded by Tribal Nations since time immemorial. And we mitigate the impacts of climate change to help make our country more resilient. White House Briefing Room (whitehouse.gov) | Read more »
Suppressing Fire while Protecting History
Jason Nez, a fire archaeologist with the National Park Service, and Michael Terlep, an archaeologist with the Kaibab National Forest, said that the recent announcement of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni—Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument emphasizes the need to protect these resources and speaks to the importance of these areas. “We’re protecting 23,000 years of Indigenous history, and hundreds of years of Euro-American history,” said Nez, who has worked to protect cultural and historical artifacts in northern Arizona for 13 years. “As an Indigenous person, a member of the Navajo Tribe, saving the smallest artifact is saving a little bit of our tribal identity.” Nez uses old survey data or, if none exists, conducts new surveys to ensure that proposed projects such as prescribed fires and infrastructure development do not damage artifacts and other cultural resources. This expertise also lends itself to fire suppression efforts, such as the case for this year’s Kane Fire just north of the Grand Canyon on the border between the Kaibab National Forest and newly announced monument. Andrew Avitt for the USDA Forest Service | Read more »
U Missouri Team Uses Lidar Drone in Archaeological Survey
Lidar drone technology is what the University of Missouri used this summer as they researched land near Magdalena. “We are finding a lot of really big sights so far there seems to be a pretty robust sort of local community,” said associate professor of Anthropology, Jeffrey Ferguson. … Ferguson said there are a number of tribes that claim ancestry in the area, so they’re not sure who the dwellings belong to. They are currently working with the Zuni Cultural Resource Advisory Team, but they want to connect with more tribes to discover who may have lived there. Jessica Salinas for KRQE News | Read more »
Jeff Ferguson, Rob Walker and Francisco “Paco” Gomez at the University of Missouri are part of an interdisciplinary research team using drones equipped with light detection and ranging, or lidar, to study ancient Native American villages called pueblos in the Lion Mountain area of western New Mexico. The team’s goal is to better understand the connection between migration and social interaction patterns and pueblo occupations. Eric Stann for University of Missouri News | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: How to Visit the New Grand Canyon National Monument
Though the National Park Service oversees Grand Canyon National Park, monuments such as Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni are run by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Monuments generally have fewer restrictions regarding their use (e.g., sometimes hunting or logging is allowed), as well as fewer facilities for visitors. Like many national monuments, Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni exudes raw nature. It has no bathrooms or visitor center; access is primarily via dirt roads or rough trails; you’ll need a four-wheel-drive to reach many sections of the park. What it offers is solitude and peace amid the forests and grasslands of northern Arizona. Joe Yogerst for National Geographic | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: The Problem with the SunZia Transmission Line
This May the Biden Administration gave the final go-ahead for the SunZia transmission line, which is designed to carry power from wind facilities in New Mexico to a major grid hub in the Phoenix area. The approval—which came after 17 years of review—is being hailed as a major win for clean energy because it will enable the Southwest grid’s dastardly solar “duck curve” to be tamed by wind power, not dirty natural gas generation. … It seems at first glance like a win-win situation. And in some ways and places it is. But there’s at least one loser here, and that’s the San Pedro River valley in southern Arizona, which will be traversed by the line. Now the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Archaeology Southwest are standing up for the cultural and natural landscape of the valley by disputing the Bureau of Land Management’s environmental review and approval of the project. Jonathan Thompson at The Land Desk | Read more »
Crow Canyon Adds New Outdoor Classroom
The tipi is a new outdoor classroom added to Crow Canyon’s campus in 2022. “It’s for teaching kids, both Native and non-Native,” shared Crow Canyon educator Rebecca Hammond (Ute Mountain Ute Tribe). “The goal is to expand our Ute educational programming.” “Historically Crow Canyon has focused mostly on Pueblo culture,” explained Crow Canyon educator Jeremy Grundvig. “However, 26 tribes are connected to the area and our education team has been expanding curriculum to incorporate additional cultures such as Ute.” Before students approach the tipi, Rebecca explains how to enter and how to sit inside. Once inside, she shares history about the Ute people in Colorado and first-hand experiences about Ute culture, showing examples of baskets, beadwork, and more. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Read more »
New Research on Megafauna Extinctions
One of my major interests as an archaeologist has been to understand how the earliest Paleoindians lived and interacted with megafauna species. Just how implicated should humans be in the extinction of these ice age animals? In a new study, my colleagues and I used a forensic technique more commonly used to identify blood on objects at crime scenes to investigate this question. Christopher R. Moore at SAPIENS (originally published in The Conversation) | Read more »
Video: Preserving Rural Cultural Landscapes
With Brenda Barrett. In this presentation to the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (Working Group on Naturecultures), Barrett shares the role that cultural values can play in the conservation of rural landscapes and reviews existing programs and policies that support community conservation at the local, national, and international levels. Living Landscape Observer | Watch now »
Publication Announcement: Love of the Gila: Reflections on Millennia of Life in the Southern Southwest
Retiring founder and CEO Bill Doelle offers a special personal edition of the magazine: his love letter to the southern Southwest. Dedicated to the memory of Juanita Ahill, a Tohono O’odham Elder who mentored Bill in the 1970s, this edition also features the perspectives of O’Odham leaders and citizens. Archaeology Southwest Magazine | Learn more »
Position Announcement: Cultural Resource Database Specialist, Tonto National Monument
This position will use the site assessment and monitoring plan developed for Tonto National Monument to assess data quality and recommend procedures for database integration for a select group of parks and monuments in the Inter-Mountain Region (IMR) as a proof of concept. The ultimate goal will be to expand this database to include other units in the IMR. Work will focus on Tonto National Monument datasets, but the individual will also work with IMR regional staff to investigate workable strategies more broadly. This fulfills the original public purpose of the project to improve post fire treatments across the profession as well as increase public awareness, knowledge, and support for historic preservation and the stewardship of archaeological resources at Tonto National Monument and across the Southwest. National Park Service and Archaeology Southwest | Learn more »
Coming Soon: The 2023–2024 Season of Archaeology Café: Nourishing Body, Soul, and Earth
Savor recent developments in the understanding and practice of North America’s Traditional Foods and Foodways at the 16th season of Archaeology Café. From archaeological evidence of culinary practices to modern-day farming and food sovereignty, there will be something for every palate! A wide variety of experts from zooarchaeologists to Indigenous dry-farmers will fill your hungry minds with the latest on the past, present, and future of culinary heritage. Come ready to pile your plate high with new knowledge about the social and ecological life of food, from production to preparation to consumption. Join us at the Archaeology Café “table” the first Tuesday of each month from October through May. All presentations will take place on Zoom, and we have three hybrid events lined up—the December, January, and February meetings—which will be concurrently hosted at the iconic The Loft Cinema in Tucson. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and register (free) »
September Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Sept. 11, James Adovasio and Thomas Dillehay, First Americans Research: Status Quo and the Future; Sept. 18, Debra Martin, Violence and Masculinity in Small-Scale Societies; Sept. 25, Severin Fowles, Wolves and Spanish Colonial Predation. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: Sept. 7 Online Event: Revisiting the Depopulation of the Northern Southwest with Dendrochronology
With Ben Bellorado and Tom Windes. The depopulation of Ancestral Pueblo people from the northern Southwest has been a fascination of archaeologists for decades. Using a suite of social and environmental models, scholars have attempted to explain the processes that led tens of thousands of people to vacate hundreds of communities at the end of the thirteenth century A.D. Recent site documentation and dendroarchaeological research in the Cedar Mesa area (in the southern Bears Ears National Monument), however, shows an inherent bias in these assessments that undervalue the size of populations and their longevity on the outskirts of the region. The presenters provide a synthesis of new tree-ring data from over two dozen previously unrecorded cliff dwellings from the greater Cedar Mesa that provide insights into the dating of construction and remodeling of structures and the size and longevity of communities living in remote cliff-dwellings in the western portion of the region. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
Sept. 14 Online Event: Prospect Hill: Enslavement and Freedom from Mississippi to Africa
With Dr. Shawn Lambert, Jessica Fleming Crawford, and Dr. James Andrew Whitaker. In 2011, The Archaeological Conservancy purchased the Prospect Hill Plantation preserve in south Mississippi. During the 1840s, a group of previously enslaved African-Americans were sent as settlers from Prospect Hill to Sinoe County, Liberia. This history links Mississippi and Liberia and is the context for a research project at both Prospect Hill and Liberia. This project will use archaeological surveys and excavations to uncover material culture to better understand the lives of the people at Prospect Hill who became settlers to Liberia. The objective is to collect data concerning their material culture and to analyze this data to ascertain cultural, economic, political, and social patterns that will later be compared in a separate study using surveys and excavations at settlement sites in Sinoe County, Liberia. The project has begun with a week of public outreach and public participation in archaeological excavations at the site. The Archaeological Conservancy | Learn more and register (free) »
Sept. 14 Online Event: Being Fremont in the Uinta Basin
With Elizabeth Hora. Over 1,000 years ago, the Fremont lived in the Uinta Basin; like those in the Four Corners area at the same time, these people farmed and gathered into large village sites unlike any the region had experienced before. But unlike in the Four Corners, who these people were and what their society was like is still murky. Recent research into these questions suggests that two linguistically distinct peoples made their way into the Uinta Basin and that the ways they coped with the fickle northern Utah climate may have colored their interactions with not only the natural world, but with each other. By examining the depictions of Fremont people on rock imagery, Public Archaeologist Elizabeth Hora is learning more about who these people were, how they organized amongst themselves, and what war and peace among the Fremont may have been like. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
Sept. 15 Walking Tour (Tucson AZ): Santa Cruz River History
This two-mile walking tour led by Mauro Trejo focuses on our relationship with the Santa Cruz River, how it supported Tucson’s early residents, and the factors in the 19th and 20th century that affected its demise. The tour begins and ends at Tucson’s Mission Gardens and includes the sites of the former Spanish mission and the O’odham village that was the origin of modern Tucson. Attendees also visit Tucson’s tallest tree and the Garden of Gethsemane, a holy site of statues made by WWI veteran and artist Felix Lucero in the 1940s. The tour starts and ends at Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane. 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. $30. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn more »
Sept. 17 In-Person Event (Santa Fe NM): A History of Enslaved and Free Black Cowboys in the Southwest
With Ronald W. Davis II. Davis will present an illustrated lecture on the history of Black cowboys in the Southwest, particularly Texas, before the Civil War and in the period after Reconstruction. New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Ave., 2:00 p.m. $15. School for Advanced Research | Learn more »
Sept. 21 Online Event: The Salado Phenomenon in the Phoenix Basin: Current Research on Ceramic Composition and Vessel Shapes
With Caitlin Wichlacz. Caitlin’s research investigates manifestations of the Salado phenomenon in the Phoenix basin of Arizona by examining how Salado polychrome (Roosevelt Red Ware) ceramics were incorporated into late Classic period Hohokam ceramic assemblages and practices. This presentation explores portions of my current research on the production and distribution of Salado polychrome ceramics and morphometric analyses of whole vessel profile shapes. The results of these analyses are brought together to inform new perspectives on what it meant, practically and socially, for Phoenix basin residents to engage with Salado materials and practices. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
Editors’ Note: Please Help Support Indigenous Journalism
Indigenous people and issues are underrepresented and underreported in politics. At ICT, we want to change that, and we need your support to do so. Award-winning Navajo reporter Pauly Denetclaw’s role as ICT’s political correspondent is made possible by generous support from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. In the coming months, JLFF will match qualifying donations from readers like you. Our goal is to raise at least $50,000—and secure matching grant of at least $50,000 from JLFF—for a total of $100,000 or more to support coverage of Indigenous politics. Your donation is tax-deductible. ICT (Indian Country Today) | Donate now »