Celebrating National Park Week

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Karen Gust Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist (April 19, 2017)—Happy National Park Week! This week, April 15–23, is a nationwide celebration of these public lands and the cultural and natural heritage they protect. Many of us here at Archaeology Southwest spend a lot of time in national parks (and monuments too). Our work takes us to beautiful […]

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I Took My Dremel to Vancouver

Bathroom Lab
Friday, April 7th, 2017

Karen Gust Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist (April 7, 2017)—Last week, several of us from Archaeology Southwest attended the Society for American Archaeology annual meetings in Vancouver, BC. Thousands of archaeologists migrated north and flocked to the Vancouver Convention Centre to spend five days seeing posters, forums, and 15-minute talks on virtually every archaeological topic imaginable. We […]

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The Fornholt Retrospective: An Introduction

Fornholt fieldwork, 2008
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Katherine Dungan, Preservation Archaeologist (December 6, 2016)—The archaeological site that we call Fornholt sits on a ridge overlooking the grassy, well-watered valley that surrounds Mule Creek, in southwestern New Mexico. Today, the most visible parts of the site are the two architectural mounds—the remains of masonry room blocks that likely date to sometime between the […]

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Learning the Secrets

Pinto Polychrome
Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Andy Ward, Potter and New Media Consultant (October 27, 2016)—Yesterday afternoon I drove out onto the Willcox Playa, where I dug down about a foot deep and found a rich layer of greenish clay, and now that clay is soaking in a bucket on my back porch. Over the last couple of weeks I have […]

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Cliff Valley Sherds
Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

As International Archaeology Day (October 15, 2016) approaches, we’ll celebrate by sharing posts about what we’re working on now—the daily work of archaeology. Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions! Katherine Dungan, Preservation Archaeologist (October 5, 2016)—One of the things I like most about working in archaeology is the variety. By that I mean the huge […]

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Where Most Research Happens

Lab Research
Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Katherine Dungan, Preservation Archaeologist (August 19, 2016)—Odds are good that when you think of archaeology, you’re thinking of an outdoor activity, whether that’s a bunch of dust-covered researchers poking around in square holes or just you, experiencing a place on the landscape with a deep human history. Protecting those kinds of places is absolutely at […]

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It’s Complex

Chacoan Window
Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Daniel Agudelo, University of Michigan (Posted July 13, 2016)—On Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19 we had the awesome pleasure of visiting Chaco Canyon and learning about Chacoan culture. Getting to Chaco was a trip in itself—over 10 miles of unpaved, hilly, and bumpy roads! I am so glad that this location as well […]

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The Durability of an Ancient Technology

On Survey
Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Alyssa Kyper, Eastern New Mexico University (Posted on July 13, 2016)—Today was an excellent day on survey with Evan, Karen, and Jon. We spent the cool, crisp morning showing Karen an array of check dams and terraces on a bench above the Gila River we had surveyed earlier in the season, double-checking the area to […]

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A Room Revealed

Mapping Manos
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Stacy L. Ryan, Teaching Assistant, Preservation Archaeology Field School (July 12, 2016)—Field school provides an opportunity to spend weeks getting to the bottom of a feature, and interpretations of what we encounter along the way can shift during the process. We proceed with patience and the desire to learn more about how people lived at […]

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Chasing the Past

Field School Students
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Lindsay Romo, Cochise College (June 11, 2016)—Advancing knowledge of past people’s lives, beliefs, and practices for future research is one of Preservation Archaeology’s main goals. Leaving parts of the past for future excavations ameliorates the process of understanding what really took place within a site. We only have so much knowledge at this present time, […]

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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 […]

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The Nature of Archaeology

El Morro National Monument
Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Lara Fields, Bryn Mawr College (July 7, 2016)—Since flying into Tucson, the Southwestern landscape has kept me in awe. From the dark orange expanse of the Sonoran desert to the tumbling grasslands of the Gila valley, I continue to be enthralled by a seemingly endless expanse of wilderness. Looking more closely, however, I begin to […]

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Investigating Kill Holes

Pottery Kill Hole
Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Carolyn Barton, University of South Florida (July 4, 2016)—Nearly every budding archaeologist looks for a research area that captivates them; some immediately know what they want to specialize in. For me, that was far from the reality when I came to this field school. Every aspect of archaeology seemed to fascinate me, making me want […]

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Community Outreach in Archaeology

Karen Gives Site Tours
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Peter Babala, Santa Rosa Junior College (July 3, 2016)—A huge part of what initially attracted me to the field of archaeology was the sense of connection I get when I learn little more about the places I have lived and where the roots of my ancestries lie. It is a gift to have been given […]

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On Origins and Homecomings

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Katelyn (Katie) Jacobson, University of California at Santa Cruz (July 1, 2016)—Listening to an origin story is a commitment. Migrations, war, a fall, an exodus, generations, exile, and a homecoming; crawling out of the sludge took 3.2 million years and if you want to stand out in the desert and tell someone how it went, […]

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The Importance of Floors: A Case Study of Feature 300

Adobe Room
Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Jonathan Alperstein, Vassar College (June 29, 2016)—Whether you are working in a pit house or a pueblo room block, one of the most exciting parts of an excavation unit to work on is the floor fill. This year, while excavating the pueblo room we labeled Feature 300, we removed a grueling number of buckets of […]

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Understanding the Landscape They Lived in

Burro Cienega
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Evan Giomi, Survey Director, University of Arizona (June 27, 2016)—Archaeological survey is the activity of locating, identifying, and recording archaeological sites to build a record that can be later used by archaeologists looking to put shovels in the ground or monitor any damage to the sites by vandalism or natural processes, like erosion. Although it […]

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Adobe Walls

Excavation unit
Monday, June 27th, 2016

Conner Awayda, SUNY–Buffalo (June 27, 2016)—Protecting from wind and rain, allowing cool temperatures in the summer, and heating in the winter, adobe makes up the walls of past homes. A mixture of sand and clay, adobe is made from earth and water. By mixing in water until the soil is the right consistency to be […]

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A Bee-Avoiding Field Trip

Anthropomorphic Petroglyph
Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Emily Marturano, University of Pittsburgh (June 17, 2016)—What do you do when bees decide to take over your excavation site and force an impromptu day off while the hive is removed? Drive to the middle of the desert to look at rock art, of course. In the name of bee avoidance, we headed to the […]

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The Archaeology of Looting

Looted Archaeological Site
Friday, June 17th, 2016

Elissa McDavid, Hendrix College (June 16, 2016)—Before arriving at field school, I had imagined well-preserved sites disturbed by nothing more than a few animal burrows, adobe walls and floors that behaved nicely, and no looting. (Blame National Geographic glamour and the fact that no one really wants to publish the holes—literal or figurative—in our sites […]

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Leave-No-Trace Archaeology

Historic Can
Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

 Lexie Bennicas, University of Hawaii (June 14, 2016)—When my turn at archaeological survey came, Evan led us past rattlesnakes and through thick brush into the valley of the Gila to a hill on the outskirts of the floodplain. Within minutes of approaching the hill we found artifacts ranging from ancient ceramic sherds to historic glass […]

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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, […]

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Survey Says…

Cholla in Full Bloom
Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Adam Sezate, Graduate of United States Naval Academy (June 8, 2016)–Under our survey supervisor, Evan Giomi, my partners and I had the opportunity to help the Nature Conservancy survey their land along the Gila River. My team and I were in search of any clues of past human settlement in an area several miles upriver […]

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Kickoff of Our 2016 Field School Blog Series

2016 Field School Crew
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Karen Gust Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist (June 7, 2016)—The 2016 field season brings several exciting changes for the Preservation Archaeology Field School. One of the biggest changes for us is a new excavation site. We finished our fieldwork at the Cliff phase (A.D. 1300–1450+) Dinwiddie site last summer, and have moved a few miles northeast to […]

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The Students Are Coming!

Map of Field School Students
Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Karen Gust Schollmeyer, Preservation Archaeologist (April 28, 2016)—Our 2016 Preservation Archaeology Field School is only a month away! For me, late April brings a list of quirky archaeological tasks, such as ordering thousands of very specific plastic bags for artifact curation and researching portable toilet companies. Jeff Clark and I recently took a brief break […]

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