The view from my kitchen window impacts my life in an outsized way.
It’s not a particularly large window, but it does give me invaluable perspective. In my specific case, the mere 25 feet to the terraced slope in which my wife and I invest lots of energy—horse manure and mulch for our perennials; many kinds of seeds for birds, rabbits, packrats, and smaller mouse-ish creatures; and a fair amount of precious water.
I always find something of interest happening among these relatives as I wash the morning dishes or find other reasons to pause and look west.
On Monday, Tucson’s temperature failed in its quest for 100 degrees. But overnight temperatures cooled sufficiently that the diamondback rattlesnake I spotted Tuesday morning moved slowly—lethargically.
We’re in the second half of October, but the rattlesnakes are still out before 7:00 a.m., cruising on their slowest of slow gears.
When the rattler ventured to cross the street, I went out to ensure that no neighbor drove through and ended its journey. Upon reaching a sunny spot, it halted. And it rattled when my long shadow passed over it.
I often linger at my kitchen window. I prefer it to the articles on my phone: The last nine years are the hottest on record, the Amazon is experiencing unprecedented drought, the pace of global warming is not linear—it’s speeding up…
As I process the information delivered through my kitchen window, it’s pretty much the same as the science delivered over my phone. A different, more visceral data, though.
The window never lies: It’s here where I live and it is now.
How does the future look through your kitchen window?
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Image: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management
American Museum of Natural History Changes Policy on Human Remains
The American Museum of Natural History is planning to overhaul its stewardship of some 12,000 human remains, the painful legacy of collecting practices that saw the museum acquire the skeletons of Indigenous and enslaved people taken from their graves and the bodies of New Yorkers who died as recently as the 1940s. The new policy will include the removal of all human bones now on public display and improvements to the storage facilities where the remains are now kept. Anthropologists will also spend more time studying the collection to determine the origins and identities of remains, as the museum faces questions about the legality and the ethics of its acquisitions. Zachary Small in the New York Times | Read more »
“Lands Between” BLM Public Comment Deadline Extended to Oct. 30
Between Bears Ears, Canyons of the Ancients, and Hovenweep National Monuments in present-day southeast Utah lies the cultural, ancestral, and traditional lands of the Hopi, Zuni, the Rio Grande Pueblos, Nuche (Ute), Diné (Navajo), Paiute, and other Indigenous people. This area is the most culturally rich set of public lands in the United States that is currently open for oil and gas leasing. These “Lands Between” are an integral part of a larger, contiguous cultural and sacred landscape that connects Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Bears Ears, and beyond. A staggering concentration of cultural resources are found in this area, including some of the largest archaeological sites in Utah. Yet, threats to this landscape persist: during 2018 and 2019, the Trump administration offered up for lease more than 100,000 acres within the Lands Between to oil and gas interests. Bears Ears Partnership | Learn more and comment now »
Interview with Loma Griffith
Loma Griffith co-founded the annual folklife festival, Tucson Meet Yourself, with her late husband, the renowned folklorist, James “Big Jim” Griffith (1935–2021). Loma has always been a roll-up-her-sleeves person, wanting to be where the action was. In fact, many of the photographs of her at the festival over the years show her on trash duty. Here she offers a reflection on the festival’s early years and its evolution and on her own experience as a woman and mother working behind the scenes to make it happen. Loma Griffith and Kayleigh Stack for BorderLore | Read more »
Crow Canyon Attains Enterprise Zone Status
The Colorado Economic Development Commission in September recognized Crow Canyon Archaeological Center as an Enterprise Zone Contribution Project, paving the way for donors to utilize tax credits. Cortez’s Crow Canyon strives to use the Enterprise Zone funds for multiple job training programs that include professional development to Mesa Verde National Park’s staff, paid internships for graduate students, Native Scholar in-residence programs for young tribal adults and field programs for undergraduate students. According to a news release, the appointment permits Crow Canyon donors of $250 or more to claim a 25% state tax credit and a 12.5% state tax credit on in-kind donations. The credit is in conjunction with the federal tax deduction for contributing to any nonprofit organization. Colette Czarnecki for The Journal | Read more »
Video: Tame or Wild?
On Tuesday, October 3, Nicole Mathwich (San Diego State University) presented “Tame or Wild? Emergent Ranching Cultures of Spanish Colonial Pimería Alta” at the 2023–2024 Archaeology Café. This talk explored the emergent animal husbandry culture in the Pimería Alta through the first introduction of livestock to the region through the Spanish mission system (1687–1833). Dr. Mathwich compared and contrasted faunal bone from five mission sites from both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border. Her study explored how levels of ferality were strategically employed at the mission. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Watch now »
For other engaging new videos from our partners and friends, check out our monthly Video Channel Roundup at the end of this email.
Video: The Foodways of Ancestral Puebloans
This month’s first Thursday interview with radio host Scott Michlin and Paul Reed featured Sarah Oas. Sarah’s research brings together not only ancient plant remains, but also numerous other ceramic, ground stone, faunal, and architectural materials at household, villages, and regional scales, to consider questions about how foodways persist and change through periods of social transformation and climatic uncertainty. KSJE | Watch now »
Publication Announcement: Blurred Boundaries
Blurred Boundaries: Perspectives on Rock Art of the Greater Southwest, Photographs by William Frej and Essay by Polly Schaafsma. Museum of New Mexico Press 2023. Learn more »
October Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Oct. 23, Maxine McBrinn, Linda Cordell and the Future of Southwest Archaeology; Oct. 30, John Ninneman, Skywatchers of the Ancient Southwest. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: Oct. 19 Online Event: Scientific Evidence for Tonto Basin Salado Polychrome Pottery Production and Exchange
With Mary Ownby. Chemical (neutron activation analysis) and petrographic analyses of both decorated and utility ware vessels from six Tonto Basin sites illustrate the complexity of Salado Polychrome production and consumption. The results show there were multiple pottery production locations (though one is clearly dominant) and significant exchange among sites in the basin. The use of raw materials atypical of Hohokam ceramic traditions may indicate some Salado Polychrome was made by migrant potters. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more »
REMINDER: Oct. 19 Online Event: Medicine Women: The Story of the First Native American Nursing School
With Jim Kristofic. After the Indian wars, many Americans still believed that the only good Indian was a dead Indian. But at Ganado Mission in the Navajo country of northern Arizona, a group of missionaries and doctors – who cared less about saving souls and more about saving lives – chose a different way and persuaded the local parents and medicine men to allow them to educate their daughters as nurses. The young women struggled to step into the world of modern medicine, but they knew they might become nurses who could build a bridge between the old ways and the new. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: Oct. 20–21 In-Person Event (Tucson AZ): AAHS Fall Book Sale
Our annual fall used book sale will be held in the lobby of the Arizona State Museum. Ninety percent of the proceeds go to support the Arizona State Museum. All books are half-price on Saturday from 12-2. Come browse and stock up. It is a great time to find “gray” literature not commonly available. We also have plenty of books in other genres, history, biography, Native American culture, Mexican and Mesoamerican anthropology and culture. Many books are priced at $2.00. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | Learn more »
Oct. 21 In-Person Event (Tucson AZ): Crime & Death in Arizona
The curse of La Llorona! Solve a murder mystery steeped in Mexican folklore. Several people have been found dead along the Santa Cruz River. Superstition is taking over and there are rumors going around that this is the work of the famous ghost, La Llorona (the weeping woman). During this Living History event, visitors will find clues around the Presidio Museum and with various re-enactors to solve the mystery of who or what is behind the mysterious deaths. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn more »
Oct. 21 In-Person Event (Tucson AZ): A Stiff Drink and a Good Cigar—The Saloons of Territorial Tucson
With Homer Thiel. Western movies, TV shows and books portray saloons as places where drunk men had fights and where pretty barmaids charmed patrons. But what were the saloons of Tucson really like? $5 fee. Salon & Saloon series (Presidio San Agustín del Tucson) | Learn more »
Oct. 24 In-Person Event (Scottsdale AZ): Indigenous Rock Imagery of the Sonoran Desert
With Aaron Wright. Petroglyphs and pictographs are integral to the cultural traditions of Indigenous communities the world over, and especially so in the Sonoran Desert where they abound on the countless chocolate- and charcoal-colored rocks. It’s natural to ask what they may mean, but perhaps a more appropriate question is what do they do? These images move us in remarkable ways, and therein lies some of their significance. Scottsdale Mustang Library, 10101 N. 90th St., 5:30 p.m. McDowell Sonoran Conservancy | Learn more »
REMINDER: Oct. 26 Online Event: Transilient Acts: Managing Change in the Ancestral Pueblo World
With Mike Adler. This talk focuses on the wide range of practices and, likely, beliefs that have long been part of Ancestral and modern Pueblo strategies to manage change within their communities. Dr. Adler starts with a critique of how archaeology currently uses the concept of “resilience” to model past practices dealing with change and transition and poses “transilience” as a more appropriate model for understanding such practices. Examples from Pueblo communities in the Northern Rio Grande, including Picuris Pueblo and ancestral homes of the Picuris people, are detailed to illustrate past transilient acts and practices. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
Oct. 29 Walking Tours (Tucson AZ): Court Street Cemetery
With Homer Thiel. Join us for a walk through the Court Street Cemetery, where about 8,000 people were buried between 1875 and 1909. When it was closed, about half were reinterred but the other half were left in place. The tour (offered twice that day, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) will lead you through the cemetery, show you where bodies have been found and reveal the history of this forgotten place. $30 nonmember fee. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn more »
Nov. 7 Online Event: Ancient Domestication of the Four Corners Potato: Archaeology, Sex, and Genetics
With Lisbeth Louderback. The memories of Diné and Hopi elders reveal the Four Corners potato (Solanum jamesii) to be an ancient food and lifeway medicine, once collected from the wild and grown in now faded gardens, diminished over the last century by drought and displaced by potatoes from elsewhere. We will present the latest evidence gathered during a 10-year, collaborative study that addresses use, transport, and manipulation by ancient people. Mating experiments, genetic sequencing and food remnants on manos and metates have revealed a convincing story of this fascinating plant species. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and register (free) »
Nov. 9 In-Person Day Trip: Tucson’s O’odham and Spanish Food Heritage
Spend the day with ASM scholars Dr. Dale S. Brenneman and Monica Young, M.A., exploring our city’s rich Native and Hispanic food heritages. See how culture, religion, and farming intersected and transformed the landscape in multiple ways, shaping southern Arizona and the future city of Tucson. $250 for ASM members or $290 nonmembers (amount paid over $150 is a tax-deductible gift to Arizona State Museum). Proceeds support the ongoing work of Arizona State Museum’s Office of Ethnohistorical Research. Arizona State Museum | Learn more »
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
Bears Ears Partnership
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Grand Canyon Trust
Grand Staircase Escalante Partners
Mesa Prieta Petroglyphs Project
Mission Garden (Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace)
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
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!