Remember the slow-moving rattlesnake I helped safely cross my street last week?
We met again on Saturday.
The two terraces of the green zone in front of our house comprise a desert level and an oasis level. The desert area supports an ancient palo verde tree that gets watered when it rains. The oasis has a permanent “soaker hose” to deep-water our flowering perennials and low shrubs. After more than an hour of early-morning watering, I went to disconnect the regular hose from the soaker hose. My hands were about six inches above a low bush as I looked down to fine-tune the hose unjoining.
That’s when my rattlesnake friend came into focus: a tightly coiled disk resting atop the bush.
Stunned, I leapt backward. The snake—total chill. It didn’t rattle or even move for another 15 minutes.
I assume it had recently consumed one of the many small rodents that churn the soils of our green zone. It’s preparing for the (finally) approaching winter season, when it will retreat underground until spring. (Kate just read a story that used the word “brumate,” which she had to look up, and which basically means snake downtime, so she asked me to include that tidbit.)
Thinking about this peaceable snake reminds me that I, too, am preparing for a change—the new year is fast approaching, and some cool day in January I’ll be stepping down as CEO at Archaeology Southwest. That will be a new life phase, not just a seasonal shift.
I’m not yet as chill as my snake friend. And I can’t truly shed my skin. Life at Archaeology Southwest continues at its normal intensity.
But I’m starting to imagine that next phase…though I don’t think I’ll be brumating anytime soon.
So! I will see you here next week. Thanks, Friends!
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. Check out Chirag Upreti’s amazing photo of the recent annular eclipse over Pueblo Bonito in Astronomy.
Banner image: Solanum jamesii, Big Burro Mountains, Grant County, New Mexico. Patrick Alexander, public domain.
Maxwell Exhibition Marks 50th Anniversary of “Seven Families in Pueblo Pottery”
A half-century ago, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology produced “Seven Families in Pueblo Pottery,” an exhibit that not only recognized Pueblo pottery as art for the first time, but also represented its makers as artists, emphasizing generational knowledge and practice. Thanks in part to a Community-Based Research Initiative (CBRI) award, that groundbreaking exhibit will serve as a touchstone for a 50th anniversary celebration in 2025 to reinterpret Pueblo pottery. … Curator of Ethnology, Lea McChesney, is recognizing a wider diversity of Pueblo artists and their art forms, bringing representatives from the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in Texas to the Maxwell to serve as co-curators of the new exhibit. These artists are selecting the works to be included in the exhibit and accompanying catalogue and will be recorded narrating their selections and the significance of these works. Salome Borrego-Marsh for the UNM Newsroom | Read more »
State of Michigan Implements Collaborative Stewardship; Movement Gains Traction Nationally
[In 2019] descendants of those stone carvers, members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, signed an agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to co-manage Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park. The tribe’s knowledge is once again steering stewardship of the landscape where the carvings were discovered. The partnership has helped state managers better understand the petroglyphs’ meanings (they formerly referred to the archer figure as “the hunter”). The tribe and state have produced interpretive signs with phrases in the Anishinabemowin language, and they’ve used laser measuring techniques to create digital models of the carvings. They’re now collaborating to build a ceremonial teaching lodge. Alex Brown in Michigan Advance | Read more »
Continuing Coverage and Video: The Near-Demise of Quitobaquito Springs
For thousands of years, people have used Quitobaquito as a place to trade, to grow food, and to rest. The springs also provided water for animals in a region where it’s hard to come by. Quitobaquito’s springs are still sacred to O’odham people today and several of [Lorraine] Eiler’s relatives, for example, are buried here. … In the 1900s, the springs and the surrounding area were selected by the U.S. government for conservation and given one of the highest levels of environmental protection in the world. But today, Quitobaquito’s sacred springs are drying up. So what went wrong? Maria Parazo Rose and Daniel Penner for Grist | Read, watch, or listen now »
To Restore Ecosystems, Listen to Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous food systems and traditional land management techniques are the best options for tackling ecological restoration. However, outdated scientific models and conservative views on environmentalism have led many researchers to overlook and discount traditional ecological knowledge held by Indigenous peoples. That’s according to a new study in Frontiers. Lyric Aquino for Grist | Read more or listen now »
Archaeology Café Welcomes Lisbeth Louderback Nov. 7
Join us on Zoom at 6:00 p.m. that evening, when Lisbeth Louderback (NHMU Archaeobotany Lab; Natural History Museum of Utah; University of Utah) will discuss “Ancient Domestication of the Four Corners Potato: Archaeology, Sex, and Genetics.” 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. Dr. Louderback 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) »
Out Now: The Problems with Coming of Age, Episode 2
In 1925, Margaret Mead set sail for American Samoa. In episode two of the SAPIENS season 6 podcast, “Flappers of the South Seas,” we trace Mead’s legendary nine-month journey in the South Pacific. SAPIENS | Listen now »
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Upcoming Closures
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument’s Museum and theater are scheduled to be closed from October 23–November 4, for a construction project that will see an update of the museum flooring. This project is scheduled to take place for two weeks only, however we do ask that visitors be prepared for unforeseen delays. Park visitors will still have a chance to watch the park movie, on a TV that we will have set up for viewing outside. You can also watch the park movie anytime on our official website at www.nps.gov/cagr. The ancestral site will still be available for viewing and walking around during these closures by using a gate that will take visitors around the west side of the visitor center. The park bookstore remains open during this time as well. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (email news release)
October Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Oct. 30, John Ninneman, Skywatchers of the Ancient Southwest. Southwest Seminars | 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) »
REMINDER: 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. 14 Online Event: Wa’alupe: Yaqui Village in Phoenix Urban Sprawl
With Octaviana V. Trujillo (Yaqui). Yaqui Indian families came from Sonora, Mexico, to Arizona’s Salt River Valley in the 1880s to escape oppression and to labor in the agricultural fields, railroads, and mines. They formed their villages on the outskirts of cities. This is how Guadalupe came to be. Indigenous Interests series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
Nov. 16 Online Event: What Do State Historic Preservation Officers Do?
With Arizona State Historic Preservation Officer Kathryn Leonard. Leonard will discuss “How it All Comes Together: The Role of the State Historic Preservation Office in the Federal Preservation Network,” including the National Historic Preservation Act and the SHPO’s role in ensuring each state’s fragile heritage resources are considered in project planning. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
Nov. 16 Online Event: Return Migrations
With Lyle Balenquah, Nate Francis, Ritchie Sahneyah, and Autry Lomahongva. In the Fall of 2022 and Spring of 2023, four Indigenous men participated in two Crow Canyon Cultural Explorations trips within the Bears Ears National Monument. Each was invited along to share cultural perspectives and reconnect to parts of their history found on the landscape. This webinar highlights their experiences as they pursue opportunities to train and work as Indigenous guides across their ancestral lands and rivers. Their discussions focus on issues such as increasing guide diversity, creating a familiar guide culture, and guiding as a means for community-based cultural preservation and education. Crow Canyon Archaeological 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. Thanks!