Special Events > Advanced Seminars

2008 Pecos Conference Plenary Sessions

August 8
(download pdf doc)

Plenary 1, August 8, 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Celebration of One Hundred Years of Cooperation, Collaboration, and Progress

Chair: Dr. Robert Breunig, Director, Museum of Northern Arizona

The 100th anniversary of both the Coconino National Forest and the Rocky Mountain Forest Experiment Station, as well as the 80th anniversary of the Museum of Northern Arizona, is the occasion of this plenary session which will discuss the importance of cooperation and collaboration in the successful histories of these and several other institutions in Flagstaff, including the National Park Service, Northern Arizona University, and the Arizona Archaeological Society. As early as 1952, Gladys Reichard explained to a group of linguist friends how Harold Colton, the long-time chairman of the board of the Museum, did what he did: “In different fields the Research Center of the Museum of Northern Arizona in the six years since its founding [in 1946] has accomplished an incredible amount of essential research with very little money, but a great deal of cooperation with other institutions and with very careful management. To me the secret seems to be a determination to emphasize ability and achievement of personnel, combined with extreme tolerance of personal (“personality” if you will!) and institutional idiosyncrasies. One of their most successful and expanding projects involves the cooperation of the Navajo Tribal Council, the Department of Indian Affairs of the U. S. Government, and the Department of the Interior, the U. S. Geological Survey, and the University of Arizona. In this stupendous, almost miraculous, achievement the Research Center of the Museum of Northern Arizona acted as catalyst. The results grew out of goodwill, tolerance and cooperation. The Research Center is constructive, never destructive, but it is nevertheless discriminating.” This program continues to be inspirational today, and may be of equal interest to many Southwestern institutions.


Plenary 2, August 8, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Colton House Advanced Seminar and Pecos Conference Plenary Session on The Latest Research on the Earliest Farmers

Organizer and Chair: Dr. Sarah Herr, Desert Archaeology, Inc.

The 2008 Pecos Conference Organizing Committee, the Museum of Northern Arizona, Desert Archaeology, Inc., and the Center for Desert Archaeology are sponsoring an advanced seminar on The Latest Research on the Earliest Farmers to be held at the Colton House, August 5-7. In the past quarter century, some of the most significant advances in Southwest archaeology have come from the discovery of Early Agricultural period and Basketmaker II period sites with early dates and in a variety of settings. The results of this work have changed the way that scholars understand the introduction and adoption of domesticates into the region.

The invited participants are currently directing large scale or multi-year field projects, conducting regional syntheses, and working with pan-Southwest data sets. The goals of this session are to provide an overview of current research and identify the relevant problem domains within this time period. Because this is an extremely active research arena, presentations will attempt to identify the theoretical and methodological innovations that will move the discipline forward over the next decade. Topics for discussion include: environmental reconstructions; settlement strategies at local and regional levels; the basis for choices about whether to farm or to forage, and the ways technologies and knowledge change as a result of those decisions; changes in the individual and population at this time of transition; and ways of assessing social boundaries in this early time period.

The advanced seminar will be followed by a Friday morning (August 8) panel discussion at a plenary session of the Pecos Conference, where participants will briefly summarize their research and then invite open discussion with attendees. Plans are underway to “publish” the results in a timely way on the internet and in a special issue of Archaeology Southwest.


August 9 (download pdf doc)

Plenary 3, Saturday, August 9, 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Panel Discussion of the Comet Theory about the End of Clovis and the Black Mat

Chair: Dr. Christian E. Downum, Northern Arizona University

On Friday evening, at Cline Library Auditorium, Northern Arizona University, several proponents of the new theory that a comet explosion marked the end of Clovis times and the onset of the Upper Dryas period will hold forth. This plenary under the large Pecos tent will begin with a panel discussion by four eminent scholars (TBA). The scientists whose theory it is will then discuss the points made, and then the questioning will be opened to those assembled at the session.

Plenary 4, Saturday, August 9, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Mega-Databases in Southwestern Archaeology

Chair: Dr. David R. Wilcox, Museum of Northern Arizona


Southwestern archaeological institutions have assembled large databases of many kinds since their foundings. Today these data are being computerized and organized in to geographic information systems, often on remarkable spatial scales. These include the “management” databases of AZSITE and NMCRIS of all recorded site information in Arizona and New Mexico, respectively, and an increasing number of “pure research” databases such as the Coalescent Communities Database of all known sites of 13 room or more throughout the entire North American Southwest for the period AD 1200 to 1700. The increasing use of digital data in archaeology has prompted national concerns about the long-term maintenance and curation of such data, and its continuing accessibility (see archaeoinfomatics.com). A cross-section of the database managers of such databases will form a panel to discuss the current state of these initiatives, access, functionality, aspirations, and future directions.

The participants in the Mega-database Plenary are:

Chair: David R. Wilcox, Senior Research Anthropologist, Museum of Northern Arizona
Bill Doleman, Director of ARMS, Laboratory of Anthropology, Museum of New Mexico
Michael Barton, Chair of the AZSITE Consortium, Professor of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution & Social Change, Arizona State University
Jeffrey S. Dean, Professor, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona
David R. Wilcox again
Scott Ingram, Ph.D. Student, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University
Teresa Rodrigeus, Physical Anthropologist, Gila River Indian Community
Keith Kintigh, Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

Once each of the panelists speak, the microphone will be opened for discussion. We encourage others who have assembled mega-databases to come forward and give a brief report on what they are doing along this line.

About this symposium and the on-going work behind it Keith Kintigh notes:

"... With funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Archaeoinformatics.org (a consortium of 6 institutions: ASU, U of Arkansas, Penn State, SRI Foundation Washington State, U of York) has been working for the last 18 months to develop a plan for a digital information infrastructure for archaeology. Our two fundamental premises are: (1) as archaeologists we have ethical and legal responsibilities to assure the long-term preservation of irreplaceable digital representations of the archaeological record; and (2) improved access to digital reports, databases, images, and other records of archaeological investigations would improve the outcomes of current field research, enable comparative and synthetic research that could transform our understandings of prehistory, improve our ability to manage effectively the nation’s heritage resources, and speed and streamline the compliance process. At the same time ASU, with funding from NSF, has been building a prototype implementation of a platform, called tDAR for "the Digital Archaeological Record" that will allow integration of data across databases that use different recording schemes. At the 2008 Pecos Conference I will briefly introduce this initiative and describe its current state. See http://tdar.org and http://archaeoinformatics.org ... "