Message #198

Date:		Sun 21 Jun 1998 13:53:34
Subject:	Geo Magazine

From:  Eric Braunreuther
erik.braunreuther@stud.uni-muenchen.de

I am writing an article about the most interesting
actual theories on the anasazi-research and
archeology for a special-issue of the german
GEO-magazine. If you like, have a look on our
homepage www.geo.de. While searching
in the www I found your very helpful site full of
so much stuff and so I'd like to ask you what
theories or artifacts of the last time are worth
to show in my popular-scientific article. Maybe you
can recommend any other good related sites or
contacts to researchers able and probably willing
to help me. Thanks for your help.

Erik Braunreuther
Munich Germany

Reply:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding current
research theories about the Anasazi. In the article
you plan to write, I hope you will ask your readers
to visit the Southwestern Archaeology (SWA) website.
I am going to pass your inquiry to members of the
SWA e-mail list. Many of them can assist you as
they are engaged in Anasazi research or have
informed opinions. Many will be giving brief
presentations at the Pecos Conference this August
and may be willing to share their recent insights
with you.

Much of the archaeology work in the US at this
time is contract work related to civil engineering
projects (a new road here, a water pipeline there),
or, work related to the management of public,
state, or tribal lands (national parks, Indian
reservations, military facilities, sate trust lands,
etc). In Arizona, for example, only fifteen percent
of the land is privately owned; the remainder is
federal, state, or tribally-owned. This means that
there is much paid cultural resources management
(CRM) work for archaeologists -- federal and state
laws mandate historic preservation or scientific
investigation on government lands if a property
must be disturbed. Many other western states see
work done under similar conditions.

While a great deal of archaeological research is
conducted throughout the US as a result of
regulation, the southwest and western states seem
to get the 'lion's share' of available
archaeological funding.  But, we have fewer
historic buildings in the southwest and west, so
we don't see the same level of funding for the
preservation of old buildings... as say... some of
the eastern states (of course, I am speaking in
generalities....and there are exceptions to the
rule).

Because of the nature of CRM contract work, there
are tight time frames and a great deal of it seems
to get done with little grand theory building. Most
contract archaeology will examine the particular
issues of the site(s) investigated, and will address
existing theories and how the site(s) fit or don't
fit, but few contracts allow the time or flexibility
needed to develop synthetic works. (again, there
are exceptions to the rule...)

Given these circumstances -- when viewing
information on the World-Wide Web, and when reading
books -- it is best to keep in mind the diffrences
between contract work (CRM archaeology) and applied
or synthetic research coming from a university or
research institute. You should also note, nonetheless,
that many contract archaeologist have independently
gone on to write major synthetic works in their
off-duty hours once they have spent many years or
much effort with a particular region, culture or
topic.

The SWA SASIG archive has many articles about
Anasazi research -- cannibalism seems to have
re-emerged as a topic among the bio-archaeologists;
Steve Lekson (University of Colorado) has been
working in Bluff UT and is more focused on Anasazi
regional organization and intergration; George
Gumerman (now at UofA) for many years has focused
on the more theoretical aspects of organization;
Steve LeBlanc has interesting things to say about
Mogollon and Anasazi warfare in the southwest and
the introduction of the bow and arrow; some SWA
links point at how Chacoan roads were engineered on
the landscape or what they possibly mean politcally
and socially; you might contact Jonathan Haas and
Winifred Creamer, John Kantner (UCSB), Mike Adler
(SMU), and David Wilcox (MNA). These are just a few
examples. Some drop off the list for the summer or
while they are in the field, but they should be easy
to find.

I recommend that you use SWA to develop a list of
Anasazi researchers (use the many links provided as
well as the e-mail list mentioned above). A list
with email addresses could be included as a side-bar
article to your main article. The public would enjoy
this. The researchers you contact from this list may
be able to provide for you a thematically-organized
reading list of current Anasazi research topics. 

I would urge to rank for your readers the
universities from where you see the major synthetic
works emanating -- I think that this effort will
encourage researchers to contact and share
information with you -- if they know they will be
ranked, they will want their research and their
university or research institute to receive
favorable mention.

There are several products -- cd-rom, for example,
that your readers may find interesting. I am sure
individuals can make you aware of these items. Your
article would be most useful if you could include
a review of currently available materrials.

Finally, I urge you to address the topic of vandalism
of archaeological sites. Many materials are ripped
from sites and sold on the antiquities market. Your
readers should know how Anasazi sites have been
plundered, and, how they can avoid being part of this
illegal activity.

Let me know when you article will appear in GEO
magazine. I hope I answered your question properly.
Feel free to contact me if you have additional
inquiries.