Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make Prismatic Blades, Featuring Greg Nunn

Blade Core with Elk Tine
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (March 14, 2017)—I recently attended WinterCount, an outdoor traditional technology gathering near Gila Bend, AZ. More than 650 people attended this sold-out event, more than 100 of whom were instructors. I attend as a student, to advance my skills in areas I have not yet explored. I […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make a Shell Tinkler

Shell Tinkler
Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (January 19, 2017)—Shell tinklers are a relatively common shell artifact we find in Hohokam and Salado archaeological sites in southern Arizona. Most are made of Conus shell or Olivella shell, both of which come from the Gulf of California. People strung the shells together such that they […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Incise Bone

Finished Awl Design
Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (December 22, 2016)—Last-minute holiday gift idea! Review my previous post on how to make bone awls, and then check out this post to learn how to decorate your awl. For this project, I used a large bone awl made out of an elk metacarpal. I made this […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make a Bone Awl

Nacho Splitting Bone
Monday, December 12th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (December 12, 2016)—You might have seen pictures on our Facebook page from a bone-tool making workshop I did recently. Here they are in case you missed them. And now here’s a post on how to make a bone awl. You can also sign up for my upcoming […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

What You Need to Know about the Dakota Access Pipeline Conflict

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

What You Need to Know about the Dakota Access Pipeline Conflict In recent weeks, protests against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline across North Dakota have escalated. Native American elders, families and children have set up tepees and tents on a campsite near the pipeline’s path in the hope of stopping its construction. Dave Archambault Jr., […]



Filed Under: Southwest Archaeology Today

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make Flintknapping Tools

Grinding Antler Tine
Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (October 27, 2016)—In this post, I’ll explain how to make a set of tools for flintknapping. Specifically, I will show how to create a set of traditional tools that is very much like what people used in the distant past. Many contemporary flintknappers use modern composite tools […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Painting Party

Nathan Denyoyer
Monday, October 10th, 2016

As International Archaeology Day (October 15, 2016) approaches, we’re celebrating by sharing posts about what we’re working on now—the daily work of archaeology. It could easily be argued that in this regard, Allen has the most fun of any of our staff on a daily basis! Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (October 10, 2016)—We […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Find Good Tool Stone

Flakeable Rock
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 28, 2016)—I often have people ask me how to find good stone to flintknap. It’s not easy. I enjoy working rock I have gathered myself from places I have visited or from areas near sites where I have worked. Looking at artifacts people made in the […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Heat-Treat Rock

Charcoal Burning
Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 23, 2016)—In this post, I show the process I use to heat-treat rocks. I learned this technique years ago and have been using it ever since. Why heat-treat rock? In short, because it makes tough or grainy rock easier to flake. The best rock for flintknapping […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Haft a Point into a Foreshaft

Sinew After Drying
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 7, 2016)—Hunters probably used foreshafts for multiple purposes, including as knives. In this example I will show how to use real sinew with pitch to haft a point. This makes a very strong haft. Putting a little bit of pitch over the sinew makes it waterproof […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Haft a Stone Knife, Dart Point, or Arrow Point

Hafting Knives
Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 2, 2016)—During the field school for the past two years we have used hafted stone knives to carve the hooks in our atlatls. These knives also work incredibly well for a variety of tasks, from carving wood to cutting willows. They can be used like a […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make Pitch Sticks

Pitch Sticks
Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 1, 2016)—All projectile points are but one component of a hunter’s equipment—each point would have been hafted to a foreshaft or handle. There are several materials that may be used to accomplish this task. In this post, I will show how I make a pine-pitch resin […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

50-Dollar Words, 1-Dollar Ideas, and Priceless People

PAFS Staff at Chaco
Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Lewis Borck, Preservation Archaeologist (August 30, 2016)—Archaeologists are really good at making up words, or at least turning nouns into verbs in really awkward ways. Many site reports in the English-speaking world are littered with the word “recordation,” as in, “this site underwent recordation” instead of “we recorded the site.” Part of this has to […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Ancient Solar Storms Offer a New Method for Calibrating Dendrochronology

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Ancient Solar Storms Offer a New Method for Calibrating Dendrochronology Archaeologists believe they have identified a new way of putting accurate dates to great events of prehistory. Rare and spectacular storms on the sun appear to have left their mark in forests and fields around the planet over the past 5,000 years. Michael Dee, of Oxford […]



Filed Under: Southwest Archaeology Today

Antelope Creek Obsidian

Bag of Obsidian
Monday, July 11th, 2016

Kaitlyn Cometa, University of Delaware (July 12, 2016)—What is the first thing you think of when you hear someone refer to the obsidian at a specific source as “bomb” obsidian? Probably that you don’t want to be near it when it blows up. I however, was drawn to the idea of the “bomb” obsidian and […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

In Appreciation

Carving Atlatls
Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Patrick Depret-Guillaume, University of Virginia (June 11, 2016)—Attending field school has given me a renewed appreciation for the skill and ingenuity of humanity’s common ancestors. For millions of years, stone technology underpinned our survival. For centuries considered crude and primitive, anthropologists have now demonstrated these tools to be a sophisticated, living cultural idiom. This summer, […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

A Fine Day at Himdag Ki

Atlatl Workshop
Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (March 8, 2016)—On February 26, a group of us gathered under an expansive mesquite ramada at Himdag Ki, the Tohono O’odham Cultural Center and Museum in Topawa, Arizona. I had been invited to show the group how to make atlatls using only stone tools. I had planned […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Like a Live Wire

Leslie Aragon and Robert Johnson
Monday, February 8th, 2016

Andy Laurenzi, Southwest Field Representative (February 8, 2016)—Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Catalina State Park’s Romero Ruin, Pueblo Grande Museum, Flagstaff’s Picture Canyon, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park—here in the American Southwest, there are ample opportunities to connect with the past. Like most people, when I’m at one of these special places, I can’t help but […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

An Adobe Pompeii

Sunset Mesa Site Tour
Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Doug Gann, Preservation Archaeologist and Digital Media Specialist (January 21, 2016)—When reading book reviews or other arguments in archaeology, one of the more common put-downs is the dreaded “Pompeii premise.” An archaeologist accused of this, so it goes, has been naive in assuming that the objects found in a given place reflect the actual last use […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Archaeology Southwest’s Most Memorable Moments of 2015

Doug Gann at Pecos
Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Kate Sarther Gann, Communications Coordinator   (December 31, 2015)—Inspired by a clever post from our friends at the Friends of Cedar Mesa, we decided to compile our own list. So, with a hat-tip to Amanda Nichols and Josh Ewing at FCM, we give you, in no particular order, Archaeology Southwest’s Most Memorable Moments of 2015 […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

My Flintknapping Problem

Bifaces
Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (December 17, 2015)—I was reading an old book (1927) about artifact collecting recently, and I came across a funny line. The author, Virgil Y. Russell, offered this advice on how to make “Indian arrowheads”: Don’t. Never even try. It is just as foolish as it would be […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Happy International Archaeology Day!

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

(October 17, 2015)—So, by now you have read our stories. (If you haven’t, check out the links below). What ties all this to International Archaeology Day? There are a few common themes to consider: A sense of something bigger than this time and place An innate interest in and respect for humanity An interest in […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

From Arrowhead Hunter to Archaeologist

Allen at Crow Canyon
Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Between now and October 17, 2015, Archaeology Southwest is participating in the Archaeological Institute of America’s celebration of International Archaeology Day (10/17/15) by sharing blog posts about why—or how—we became archaeologists. Today we feature Allen Denoyer, who leads our Hands-On Archaeology program. Previous posts in the series are here. Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Making Atlatls

The Atlatls
Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 30, 2015)—We carved atlatls again at this past summer’s Preservation Archaeology Field School, but this year the students had to use stone tools for the carving work. Previously, we used modern hand tools like wood rasps and files. I had experimented a lot with carving wood […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog

Raising the Roof

Salado Room Entryway at Night
Friday, August 7th, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (August 7, 2015)—The process began before the students arrived. After obtaining a Forest Service permit, I cut a couple of loads of juniper poles for the roof. I cut the poles when they were green, so they were heavy! I had the students use stone axes to […]



Filed Under: Preservation Archaeology Blog