As I look at retirement, and think about how I’ll spend my time, I don’t see a lot of “free time”—and certainly no boredom.
I do the majority of my “reading” by listening to audiobooks, and I just discovered that I can get a report on my minutes of reading. So far, in 2023: 10,087 minutes. That converts to 21 8-hour days of reading. Not bad, especially when a lot of that time also included workout time on my elliptical. In retirement, I hope to double those hours.
HOWEVER, I also just estimated that I spent about 15 8-hour days so far this year playing the solitaire game “Freecell” on my phone. I’m clearly addicted, but maybe I can cut those hours by 50 percent in retirement…
I also spend a lot of time on my phone reading newspapers—the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. I’ve read a number of articles on Artificial Intelligence (AI) lately. I have thus far resisted using ChatGPT as a writing tool. I’ve heard from others that they use it to write a rough draft and then edit that toward a final draft.
I’m not interested in that approach to writing.
Many of you responded to the announced arrival of Steve Nash as Archaeology Southwest’s new leader—and my stepping down—with very kind notes. Although I confess to having fallen behind, responding to your notes is most enjoyable, and I intend to catch up soon. No chatbots involved!
Until next week,
Retiring President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Societies May Become Less Resilient as They Age
Societies and political structures, like the humans they serve, appear to become more fragile as they age, according to an analysis of hundreds of pre-modern societies. The study, which holds implications for the modern world, provides the first quantitative support for the theory that the resilience of political states decreases over time. … The research identifies several mechanisms that could drive these aging effects. Some of the mechanisms, like environmental degradation and growing economic inequality, are still at work today. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlight the need to understand internal processes that may contribute to the demise of states, says SFI External Professor Tim Kohler (Washington State University). Santa Fe Institute (press release) | Read more »
Looking Back, Looking Forward: cyberSW and the Tribal Working Group
The cyberSW TWG meets once a month on Zoom with the cyberSW research team. The group has been invaluable in determining what types of data to add to cyberSW, how to frame our Native American Fellowship position (now filled by Caitlynn Mayhew), and the answer to questions such as, “Who is this database for?” and “How do we make it relevant to Native people?” Many accomplishments have resulted from the TWG meetings. One of my favorites is adding a modern Tribal Lands layer to the database, so cyberSW users can see where Native Nations lay in relation to archaeological data within cyberSW. What follows are some reflections on the TWG’s and cyberSW team’s collaboration over the past year and a half, as well as what they are excited about in the near future. Ashleigh Thompson with Raquel Romero, Lyle Balenquah, Garrett W. Briggs, April Sewequaptewa, Wade Campbell, and Joshua Watts for Archaeology Southwest | Read more »
Profile of Indigenous Anthropologist Edward Jolie
As an anthropologist, Edward A. Jolie spends a lot of time, unsurprisingly, studying people and cultures of the past. But his research, he said, is really about making the past useful to people alive today. And as a Native American, Jolie said that also means making his discipline more inclusive, particularly to Indigenous communities. This often requires asking whom anthropological research of the Americas is intended to serve and how. By starting with those questions, Jolie said, anthropologists and archaeologists today are likely to get answers that are much different from what their predecessors from just a few decades ago may have gotten. Kyle Mittan for University of Arizona News | Read more »
Interview with Dorothy Lippert, Repatriation Manager for the National Museum of Natural History
Dorothy Lippert was certain she wanted to be an archaeologist since she was twelve and unearthed ancient bits of charcoal and stone tool flakes while sifting through dig sites near her home in Texas. But it was not until she was studying archaeology in graduate school in the 1990s that Lippert discovered that repatriation was her true calling. Federal laws supporting repatriation, the return of human remains and cultural items housed in museum or university collections to descendant communities, had recently been passed and Lippert remembers the topic being discussed throughout her archaeology courses. These discussions were much different from the repatriation conversations Lippert, who is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was having with other Native Americans. Jack Tamisiea in Smithsonian Magazine | Read more »
Living Heritage Research Council Welcomes New Executive Director
Hau Mitakuyepi! (Hello my Relatives!) I am Joseph Gazing Wolf, and I am honored to be the new Living Heritage Research Council (LHRC) Executive Director. I am Hunkpapa Lakota from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. I am also Amazigh and Nubian on my mother’s side, with ancestry from Egypt, where I was born. I have spent most of my life working across Turtle Island (North America) and internationally serving Indigenous communities, which has been an incredible privilege. Most of this service has revolved around education, land tenure, recovery/reconnection to heritage sites, cultural revitalization, and the preservation/restoration of native plant and animal species. For example, I have dedicated decades of work to the restoration of Tatanka Oyate (Bison) to their native homelands across the Great Plains. My vision for the LHRC is simple and direct. I hope to continue in the wonderful work in which the LHRC leadership has already been engaged. This includes but is not limited to (1) continuing to provide Indigenous communities with technical assistance that supports their work to preserve cultural heritage sites, (2) ensuring that our ethnographic studies are conducted respectfully, effectively, and under the strictest guidelines of informed consent and data governance, (3) ensuring that the voices of Indigenous community representatives are heard, respected, and implemented to every extent possible, (4) ensuring that any Knowledge shared by Indigenous Elders and other community members is represented accurately and serves to benefit their communities, and (5) pursuing all possible avenues for the protection of cultural heritage sites and the reconnection of Indigenous communities with their ancestral lands to the fullest extent possible. Living Heritage Research Council | Learn more »
Video: Interview with Hopi Farmer Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson
Dr. Johnson sheds light on the resilience of traditional climate-adaptive techniques and underscores their crucial role in addressing water scarcity challenges. His traditional practices offer shared solutions in unprecedented times, where countless communities worldwide grapple with an increasingly drier and water-scarce climate. Environmental Defense Fund | Watch now »
Dr. Johnson will present at the Archaeology Café on January 9, 2024. Learn more »
Podcast: Dealing with Toxic Culture in the CRM Industry
On this show we talk about keyboard warriors online, health insurance, and the supposed toxic culture in CRM. CRM Archaeology (Archaeology Podcast Network) | Listen now »
Forthcoming Publication: The Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Network Research
The Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Network Research, edited by Tom Brughmans, Barbara J. Mills, Jessica Munson, and Matthew A. Peeples. Oxford University Press 2024. Learn more »
Position Announcement: GS-7 Archeologist, National Forest Service (Red Rock Ranger District AZ)
We are seeking permanent, detail, or temporary promotion candidates for a GS-7 Archeologist position located in Sedona, AZ. We are especially interested in folks considering the permanent position and will consider non-competitive appointments, lateral transfers, and similar hiring actions. We are looking for energetic, forward-thinking leaders who thrive on complexity and the challenges that come with a progressive and aggressive program of work, in a community where stakeholders are highly engaged in National Forest management. Coconino National Forest | Learn more »
December Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Dec. 11 Don J. Usner, Valles Caldera: Visions of New Mexico’s National Preserve; Dec. 18, Sara Dant, Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West (at Santa Fe Woman’s Club, 1616 Old Pecos Trail). All others at the Hotel Santa Fe, 6:00 p.m. $20 at the door or $55 for three lectures. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: Dec. 7 Online Event: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors and Other Proverbs from the Pleistocene
With Todd Surovell. In this presentation, Dr. Surovell examines the social organization of nomadic peoples in three case studies, two archaeological and one ethnographic. The archaeological cases, Barger Gulch Locality B (Colorado) and the La Prele Mammoth site (Wyoming), concern the first peoples in the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age. The ethnographic case centers on Dukha reindeer herders in northern Mongolia. Specifically, Todd looks at the question of whether and why people move together as large groups or as autonomous households, in the latter case generating the kind of fission-fusion dynamics typical of recent hunter-gatherers. Dr. Surovell concludes that, in every case, fluid group membership was the norm and argues that the interplay of cooperation and conflict has resulted in the use of a common organizational strategy among nomadic peoples. Furthermore, the transition to sedentary life must have necessitated novel cultural practices to cope with the loss of the ability to mitigate conflict through mobility. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: Dec. 9 and 10 In-Person Event (Phoenix AZ): 46th Annual S’edav Va’aki Museum Indian Market
This year’s Indian Market at S’edav Va’aki Museum (formerly the Pueblo Grande Museum) features more than 110 Native American artists vending fine art, crafts, and cultural items as well as main stage performances, a cultural demonstrator area, and food sales. Cultural demonstrators in the Ki:him (O’odham word for village) area provide hands-on learning in hoop dancing, beading, gourd art, shell etching, mask making, and other activities suitable for all ages. Guests can enjoy popular Native American foods including fry bread and Navajo tacos from several vendors. Entrance to the museum is included in admission for guests to explore the rich history of the Va’aki, the large mound on-site where ancestors of the O’Odham and Piipaash peoples built their community. S’edav Va’aki Museum (City of Phoenix) | Learn more »
Dec. 16 In-Person Class (Tucson AZ): How Did People Etch Shell?
With ancient technologies expert Allen Denoyer. Learn how craftspeople working in the Hohokam tradition etched shells. Unleash your creativity and carve your original design into a wax- or lac-covered shell surface. With Allen’s assistance, you will submerge your shell in an acidic solution to be etched. Enhance your artwork using ochre pigment to emphasize and elevate your etching. Beginners are welcome! Open to individuals 12 years of age and older. Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more »
Dec. 18 In-Person (Tucson AZ) and Online Event: The Risks and Rewards of Social Networks in the Ancient Southwest
With Matthew Peeples. Archaeological data provide the only direct source of information for exploring the structure and dynamics of social systems beyond the historical record. Not only are archaeologists increasingly able to replicate the findings of other social scientists, they are also beginning to discover patterns in human societies that transcend the timescales typically considered in comparative research. Peeples will outline the efforts of the one large collaborative research team (cyberSW) over the last 15 years to apply network methods and models toward questions at the intersection of social networks and culture. This work suggests that the nature of networks and the risks and rewards associated with network positions are historically contingent and tied to broader trends in political complexity and demographic scale. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | Learn more »
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!