The moment is finally here—Monday, January 15, was my first day as President and CEO of Archaeology Southwest! So far, it has been every bit as exciting as I’d hoped. From the exceptionally capable and welcoming ASW staff to the unique office setting provided by the Bates Mansion and the Old Pueblo writ large, it is indeed good to be back in Tucson!
I have to say, however, it was a tough weekend. On Saturday, I left my wife Carmen and 15-year-old twin sons, Thomas and Charlie, as well as two cats and a dog, in the home we’ve made in Denver over the last 17 years. We shed a lot of tears, but we are also all comfortable knowing in our hearts that the opportunity to lead Archaeology Southwest is one I simply could not pass up, and is the right move for our family over the long term. We also took solace in speaking with family and friends who engage in commuter relationships. Simply put, it’s not the end of the world!
I want to take a moment to thank Bill Doelle, Linda Pierce, the entire staff and board of directors for all their work in easing my transition and creating a welcoming environment. From the first interview I enjoyed with the search committee back in July 2023, to my first day on the job this week, it has been abundantly clear that they have been working on this transition for a very long time. That kind of care and attention to leadership transitions is not as common as one might think. Archaeology Southwest set a model for others to follow.
What, then, of our future together? I will spend the next weeks and months getting to know more about all aspects of Archaeologist Southwest’s wonderful work, both in the lab and in the field. I will engage in a robust listening tour, and will begin to engage the staff and board in introspective exercises that will help us understand who we are, what we do, and most critically, continue to articulate our “why.”
I look forward to hearing from anyone and everyone who is willing to share with me their thoughts about the past, present, and future of Archaeology Southwest. Thank you, Bill, for all your gifts and visions. You’ve set us all up for continued success.
Stephen E. Nash
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Skylar Begay got this shot of my welcome lunch with staff and some of our volunteers in the Corona room of our Bates Mansion HQ. Those are replica pots and some of Allen Denoyer’s replica tools on the shelves at left. Lunch catered by Cafe 54, a very special Tucson bistro.
Field Museum Complies with Updated NAGPRA Regulations
The Field Museum in Chicago has covered up several display cases that feature Native American cultural items in response to new federal regulations that require museums to obtain consent from tribes before exhibiting objects connected to their heritage. Museums across the country have been preparing for the new regulations, which go into effect on Friday, with officials consulting lawyers as curators scramble to read through rules that will influence staffing and budgets for years to come. … The Field Museum’s decision relates to a provision that requires institutions to “obtain free, prior and informed consent” from tribes before exhibiting cultural items or human remains, or allowing research of them. Museums have had to decide whether to leave Native objects on display and risk violating the new rules, or to remove the objects while engaging in what might be a lengthy process of requesting tribal consent. The decision by the Field Museum, which was announced this week on its website, applies to display cases in its halls of the ancient Americas, focused on civilizations in the Western Hemisphere spanning 13,000 years, and in a hall about 10 Native nations in the Pacific Northwest. Julia Jacobs and Zachary Small in the New York Times | Read more »
Help Make an Important African American Heritage Site Part of the National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is conducting a Special Resource Study of the historic Dearfield settlement in Weld County, Colorado, to identify whether it meets criteria to be recommended for potential inclusion as a unit of the national park system. Established by Oliver Toussaint Jackson in 1910, Dearfield was the largest African American homesteading settlement in Colorado, reaching its peak in the late 1910s and early 1920s. National Park Service | Learn more »
Archaeological Resource Crime Reported near St. George UT
Southern Utah law enforcement officers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded and discovered an individual actively excavating a tunnel approximately 2 feet wide—and a staggering 15 feet deep—on state trust lands near a one-of-a-kind archaeological site. According to a press release, the site is well known for its rock imagery shown through over 100 individual petroglyphs. In addition to the petroglyphs at the site, there are intact subsurface archaeological deposits discovered during limited test excavations carried out in the late 1990s and early 2000s. … “We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” Washington County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Darrell Cashin. “The destruction was nothing like we’d ever seen before. The suspect had power and hand tools out there and he’d obviously been excavating for quite some time.” St. George News | Read more »
Continuing Coverage and Commentary: Resolution Copper and Oak Flat
My family has a long history and deep roots in Superior, Arizona. My father was born in this town, and my great-grandmother, parents and many other relatives are buried here. I was [a] year old when my parents moved back to Superior, and I spent most of my life in this town. I still have a partial interest in the ownership of our family home in Superior. My son, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, and other relatives still live in Superior. That is why what happens to Superior impacts me and matters so much to me. As someone who cares deeply about this community and as a former mine worker, I am fighting back and standing against Resolution Copper’s proposed mine at Oak Flat, which will not only create a crater almost 2-miles wide and 1,000 feet deep but also exhaust and pollute Superior’s water as well as the water nearby towns depend on. Sylvia Delgado Barrett for HECHO | Read now and watch video »
Video: Rediscovering the Fremont through Data-Driven Examination of Rock Imagery
With Elizabeth Hora. Using data from nearly 500 humanesque rock art images to learn more about the Fremont—who the people were, how they organized amongst themselves, and what war and peace among the Fremont may have been like. ARARA (American Rock Art Research Association) | Watch now »
New Album Celebrates Bears Ears
Hon Muru (Bear’s Ears) is a moving, mystical and evocative musical tribute to the picturesque national monument in southeastern Utah, established by President Barack Obama. After years of advocacy to protect Bears Ears National Monument, Hopi singer and former Vice Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, Clark Tenakhongva has released Hon Muru (Bear’s Ears) in honor of this sacred natural area. The album features original songs sung in the Hopi language resonate, honoring the Earth, supported by leena (Hopi long flute), considered the oldest known wind instrument in North America, played by Gary Stroutsos, a musician deeply inspired buy Native American music. Additionally, Matt Moon Nelson provides percussion on clay pots, water gourds, didjeridoo and other organic materials. Sonia Keller for World Music Central | Read more »
Publication Announcement: So Much Stuff
So Much Stuff: How Humans Discovered Tools, Invented Meaning, and Made More of Everything, by Chip Colwell. University of Chicago Press, 2023. Learn more »
Chip Colwell serves on Archaeology Southwest’s Board of Directors.
Volunteer Opportunity: Sabino Canyon Survey
This project will take place in Tucson, Arizona, from February 12–16 and February 19–23, 2024. Led by Sara Anderson and Allen Denoyer, the team will undertake pedestrian survey in Sabino Canyon from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The ideal field crew size for this project is 6 per day, including the field leaders, so we invite up to 4 volunteers daily. We understand that life can be unpredictable, so we offer you the option of participating for a full day or just a half day. Archaeology Southwest | Learn more »
January Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
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. 6:00 p.m., Santa Fe Women’s Club Auditorium, 1616 Old Pecos Trail. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: 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 »
REMINDER: Jan. 18 Online Event: The Perils of Dyhydrogen Monoxide—Challenging Myths about Two 1880 Engagements in the Apache Wars
With historian Robert N. Watt, PhD. This presentation seeks to challenge several myths concerning events surrounding the two engagements between the US Army Ninth Cavalry and Apaches led by Victorio in southern New Mexico’s Hembrillo Canyon and Basin between April 5 and 7, 1880. The historic record gave a clear account of the drinking of tainted water and overnight siege of Captain Henry Carroll’s two companies of Ninth Cavalry on April 6–7, 1880, in Hembrillo Basin. The historic record also revealed a detailed report left by Lieutenant John Conline of a skirmish between Company A, Ninth Cavalry, and Victorio’s warriors on April 5, 1880. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
Jan. 20 In-Person Event (Tucson AZ): AAHS Winter Party
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society will host its annual Winter Party on January 20, 2023, at historic Fort Lowell. This year the focus will be on providing information for students and young professionals, and to raise money for the Society’s annual Research and Travel Grants. The party, which begins at 10:00 a.m., will include walking tours, lunch, a professional panel of discussants, and keynote speaker Dr. Jeff Altschul. AAHS | Learn more »
Feb. 3 In-Person Class: How Did People Haft a Knife?
With Allen Denoyer. Explore the history of hafted stone knives inspired by Southwest traditions. Use pitch, sinew, and cordage to haft your knife. All materials provided, including an obsidian blade and saguaro root handle. Experience a live demonstration of making a pitch-resin adhesive. Shape the handle with stone tools and learn to saw the notch for blade insertion. Wear long pants and bring gloves for carving. Beginners are welcome! Open to individuals 12 years and older. $50 fee. Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more »
Feb. 15 Online Event: Recent University of New Mexico Research at Chaco Canyon
With W. H. Wills. Wills will provide a brief overview of UNM’s previous Chaco Canyon archaeological investigations and its more recent work that includes studies of water control features, agricultural suitability modeling, and remote sensing applications. Third Thursday Food for Thought Series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
May 13–31 In-Person Class (Tucson AZ and field): Dendrochronology
With Drs. Nicholas V. Kessler and Ronald H. Towner. Geos/Anth/WS 497J/597J Dendroarchaeology; 3 credits (non-credit option available); 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Bannister 110. The Laboratory of Tree-ring Research at the University of Arizona is pleased to offer its 20th presession course devoted entirely to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of archaeological tree-rings. Participants (undergrads, grads, professionals) will learn the most accurate and precise dating method used by archaeologists via lectures, laboratory exercises, and field work. The centerpiece of this intensive 3-week course is a field trip to various archaeological sites in Arizona and/or western New Mexico led by Dr. Nicolas V. Kessler. This course will be run in close collaboration with parallel presession courses focusing on Dendroecology and Dendroclimatology, giving participants in all three courses valuable insights on the inter-disciplinary nature of tree-ring research. Lectures will be presented by the course instructors and as well as other leading tree-ring scientists, including Jeffrey S. Dean. Malcolm K. Hughes, David Frank, and Paul Sheppard. The course will provide participants with a basic background in dendrochronololgical method and theory, and the history of archaeological tree-ring dating. The field trip to cliff dwellings in the Sedona area will illuminate aspects of field sampling and recording archaeological contexts. Back in Tucson, participants will prepare, crossdate, and interpret the dendroarchaeological samples collected during the field trip. For additional information, contact the instructors (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Save the Date: March 9–10, ASM Library Benefit Book Sale (Tucson AZ)
Shop a huge selection of used anthropology books with an emphasis on the Southwest but with selections from all of the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. A large number of volumes of American and world history, philosophy, biography, economics, etc. Many books are priced at $2 and $4. Proceeds support the Arizona State Museum library. Sponsored by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society.
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!