Expanding Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeology mission. That’s what Steve Nash and the organization’s amazing staff will continue when he arrives next Monday. I, too, will begin my own new ways to do the same.
I believe nonprofits are essential 21st-century institutions. In addition to my forever commitment to Archaeology Southwest, I plan to invest my time in three other nonprofits.
First is the Naco Heritage Alliance. Since 2004, Archaeology Southwest has teamed with this organization, which is preserving the remaining buildings that were part of a “human fence along the border,” between 1919 and 1923. Camp Naco is now owned by the City of Bisbee. In partnership, Bisbee and the Naco Heritage Alliance are implementing major grants from the Mellon Foundation ($3.6 million) and Arizona State Parks ($4.5 million). The plan is to transform Camp Naco into a high-functioning community resource. Buildings will be restored, cultural and interpretive programs will be instituted, and this almost-forgotten place will tell important regional, national, and international stories. For many years, Archaeology Southwest served as the fiscal agent for Naco Heritage Alliance, but the Alliance now has a website and can take online donations.
Second is the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance (AVCA). I’ve served on the Science Committee for this group for several years. Now, I look forward to investing the time that this volunteer role deserves. AVCA is a watershed-based collaborative conservation organization founded in 1995. Throughout my career, I have viewed watersheds as ideal units for understanding natural and cultural relationships. In the Altar Valley, I’ve been inspired by the ways that the ranchers, academic and nonprofit partners, and government agencies interact and solve problems. I usually hate holiday parties, but I’ve been energized by the two such parties hosted by AVCA that I attended. I had a great time engaging with the incredible diversity of gathered year-end revelers.
Third is a young nonprofit with a big name: Arizona Deserts National Park Partners (ADNPP). ADNPP is a friends group that serves all of the National Park Service units in central and southern Arizona. Here’s a challenge. Start drawing a mental-map oval at Montezuma Castle National Monument (NM) on the north and head down to Organ Pipe Cactus NM on the southwest. From there, continue along the International Border to Coronado National Memorial before heading northeast to loop in Chiricahua NM and then Fort Bowie National Historic Park. Finally, return to Montezuma Castle, and you have encompassed all of the park units we address. To keep the challenge going, here are the Park Service four letter codes for the units I didn’t name because they lie inside your mental oval—TUMA, SAGU, SOAR, CAGR, and TUZI. The key point is that most are small and remote, and they don’t have major local communities that support them. That’s a goal of ADNPP. We’ve raised some initial funds and we are offering these parks small grants to cover some of the kinds of expenses that federal funding doesn’t cover. But there’s much more to be done.
You may have noticed that all of the places served by these three nonprofits are within the Gila River watershed. That checks off one of my very strong interests. Each of these nonprofits is tied to natural and cultural settings that connect to their history. Each tells the stories of their relationship to the land. Each is affected by the threats of climate change. Each needs more funding to ensure that their land and cultural values are cared for and their stories will have an impact into the future. And ultimately, they are all located on Indigenous lands. Promoting landscape-scale preservation and sharing the lessons of Preservation Archaeology with other wonderful nonprofits will keep me energized.
Clearly, I won’t be sleeping late many mornings.
My best wishes to you all, now and always,
Retiring President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. Last week brought the sad news of the passing of Bernard Siquieros. Bernard served the Tohono O’odham Nation in multiple capacities. He was the Director of the Tohono O’odham Nation Education Department and was Education Curator of Himdag Ki: Tohono O’odham Nation Cultural Center & Museum. He served on the Board of the Tohono O’odham Community College since 2002.
He was generous with his time for many outside of the Tohono O’odham Nation. He served on the Archaeology Southwest Board of Directors from 2007 through 2015. There is a deep sadness in the hearts of those of us who knew Bernard. Our hearts are also filled with the joy of having known and worked with him. He will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched.
Banner image: San Pedro Valley in bloom, by Bernard Siquieros.
An Experiment in Conservation and Co-Ownership in Bears Ears
In July, [Dave Herrero’s] California-based employer, the nonprofit Wildlands Conservancy, purchased the ranch for $2.5 million from the family that owned it and began writing a deed that it hopes will become a model for working with tribes to protect wilderness in the American West from real estate developers, mining companies and oil drillers. In what would be a novel arrangement, the deed is expected to include a coalition of five tribes as co-owners and managers with Wildlands—an effort to acknowledge the history of the land, which the conservation group named Cottonwood Wash. But Wildlands will need to prove that co-ownership goes beyond feel-good symbolism. Jack Herrera in the Los Angeles Times | Read more »
Save History Team Releases Kids’ Activity Book
Save Indigenous History features original art from five Indigenous artists and teaches kids in grades 3–6 about archaeology and how to visit cultural sites with respect. Save History | Learn more, meet the artists, and download now (free) »
Interview: Repatriation of Ancestors and Belongings Held at the CT Hurst Museum
It’s unclear whose ancestors might be housed at the CT Hurst Museum in Gunnison, but the Southern Ute Tribe is among those looking to return them home. The Southern Ute is among four tribes to respond to a request from Western Colorado University professor David Hyde, who is in the process of repatriating 25 human remains along with some other artifacts that were looted around the early 1900s. The centuries-old remains must be returned in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Hyde said not only is repatriation the right thing to do, but the remains offer no research value given the manner in which they were plundered. … Cassandra Atencio, tribal historic preservation officer for the Southern Ute, and Xavier Watts, the tribe’s NAGPRA coordinator, discussed the Tribe’s perspective on repatriation with Colorado Matters western slope producer Tom Hesse. Colorado Public Radio | Read more »
Exhibition Explores Stories of Indigenous People and Buffalo Soldiers at Ft. Garland
Fort Garland in the San Luis Valley was built to protect and help early white settlers colonize the American West. Kit Carson, was appointed the commander of the fort after he waged a violent campaign against the Navajo people. Buffalo soldiers: reVision, an exhibit by History Colorado, seeks to reframe the story of Fort Garland to also include the stories of Native people, and the hundreds of formerly enslaved Black Buffalo soldiers who lived and served there in the late 1800s. Alexis Kenyon spoke with Eric Carpio, the director of History Colorado’s Fort Garland exhibit. KSJD (public radio) | Read more or listen now »
Blog: How to Make a Tabular Saw
In today’s post, I’ll show you how to make a simple agave-processing tool. Although archaeologists generally call these “tabular knives,” experiments indicate that people probably used them more like saws. In her seminal guide to ground stone analysis, Jenny Adams also calls them saws. Tabular saws are common in Hohokam archaeological sites, and are occasionally found at Mimbres sites, too. That being said, there is quite a bit of variation in terms of their forms and how they were made. Allen Denoyer for Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more »
Video: The Lost Potters’ Clays of the Gila River Valley, Arizona
In which I hunt for wild clay in the Gila River Valley where a lot of really great pottery was made 700 years ago. Andy Ward’s Ancient Pottery | Watch now »
Publication Announcement: Woven from the Center
Woven from the Center: Native Basketry in the Southwest, by Diane Dittemore. University of Arizona Press, 2024. Learn more »
Read a short essay by the author »
Call to Applicants: Preservation Archaeology Field School
This collaborative field school with Archaeology Southwest, Western New Mexico University, and the University of Arizona will take place June 5–July 23, 2024. Our curriculum highlights the goals, ethics, and practice of Preservation Archaeology, which integrates research, education, preservation, and engagement with Indigenous and local communities. Students will research and catalog collections from the NAN Ranch, a large Classic Mimbres period pueblo in the Mimbres Valley excavated by the Texas A&M University summer archaeological field school from 1978 to 1989 and now housed at the Western New Mexico University (WNMU) Museum. Archaeological survey experience on the NAN Ranch provides essential field training and contextualizes museum collections research, and experimental archaeology gives us additional insights into how the items in museum collections were made. This project is committed to increasing the diversity of views represented in archaeology, including improving communication between archaeologists and nonprofessionals and between researchers with different backgrounds and training. Students from backgrounds and institutions traditionally underrepresented in archaeology (including small colleges and community colleges) are especially encouraged to apply. Archaeology Southwest | Learn more »
Position Announcement: Assistant Professor of Practice in Anthropology (Flagstaff AZ)
In furtherance of its commitment to Indigenous Peoples and in recognition of the sovereign status of Native Nations, Northern Arizona University is seeking an Assistant Professor of Practice who will lead the university’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) work. This position is a non-tenure eligible appointment. It is expected to be a continuing line with yearly renewals and has the potential for promotion. Renewal is contingent upon successful completion of a probationary year, effective performance, continued funding, and department needs. A Ph.D. in Anthropology or related field is preferred but not required. (While the “full consideration” application deadline was January 8th, we are still hoping for an extensive applicant pool and thus encourage you or your interested colleagues to still apply.) Northern Arizona University | Learn more »
Internship Opportunities: Crow Canyon Archaeological Center (Cortez CO)
Crow Canyon offers paid internships to undergraduate and graduate students in archaeology, anthropology, education, and related fields. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center maintains high standards of research and scholarship. Students participating in the Center’s programs are closely supervised by staff members, ensuring a positive learning experience, as well as high-quality contributions for the profession. In addition, American Indians—many of them descendants of Ancestral Pueblo people—consult and collaborate on all facets of the Center’s research, and colleagues from many other disciplines lend their expertise to advance mission initiatives. In such an environment, interns have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in working with, and learning from, a wide variety of people. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more »
January Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Jan. 15, Dwight Pitcaithley, Mad Men and Spunky Boys: What Caused the Civil War?; Jan. 22, Rusty Greaves, Ceremony, Religion, or Pro-Social Practice? All-Night Dance Events among Venezuelan Hunter Gatherers in a Challenging Environment; Jan. 29, Matt Martinez (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), Geographies of the Sacred. $20 at the door or $75 for series of four lectures. Jan. 8 and 15: 6:00 p.m., Hotel Santa Fe. Jan. 22 and 29: 6:00 p.m., Santa Fe Women’s Club Auditorium, 1616 Old Pecos Trail. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
TONIGHT, Jan. 10: AZ Public Lands Trivia Night (Phoenix AZ)
Come flex your AZ public lands knowledge and learn about the Great Bend of the Gila and how you can help protect these lands. There will be prizes and SWAG! 6:00 p.m., Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., 201 E Roosevelt St. Respect Great Bend Coalition, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society | Learn more »
Jan. 18 In-Person Event (Tucson AZ): Green Drinks Tucson
The January Green Drinks will feature Dr. Steve Nash, President & CEO of Archaeology Southwest. 5:30–7:30 p.m., MotoSonora Brewing Company, 1015 S Park Ave. Sonoran Institute | Learn more »
Jan. 20 In-Person Workshop: How Did People Make Stone Tools?
With Allen Denoyer. You will use ancient techniques and replica tools to create a stone projectile point. Learn about the history of stone tools and their uses. Explore the intricate components of complete hunting technology beyond just the points. Each class lasts approximately 3 hours. Beginners are welcome! Open to individuals 18 years and older. $50 fee. Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more »
Feb. 6 In-Person (Tucson AZ) and Online Event: Archaeologies of Foodways and Cuisine
With Sarah Oas. This talk highlights the importance of food to our minds, bodies, and societies, and explores what archaeological approaches that center foodways and cuisine bring to the table in understanding life in the past. Drawing on several archaeological case studies from the Zuni/Cibola Region, this presentation will explore how the archaeology of kitchens, meals, and staple ingredients can expand our understanding of the importance of foods and foodways both in daily life and in processes of social change. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more »
Feb. 8 Online Event: Why Corrugated Cooking Pots?
With Chris Pierce. During the 1990s while working at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and as part of my PhD research, Dr. Pierce performed extensive literature review, detailed technological analyses, and controlled experiments to further the understanding of the adoption of corrugated cooking pots. Dr. Pierce’s work identified the technological changes involved in the development of corrugation, documented the spread of these technologies across the northern Southwest, and demonstrated cost and performance differences between plain and corrugated vessels. In this presentation, Chris reviews the results of his earlier work, presents four new possible explanations for the adoption and eventual rejection of corrugated cooking pots, and evaluates evidence to test one of these hypotheses. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
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