Tuesday October 26, 1999


From: Jeffery A. Thomas Excavations and Culture - The Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association regional conference, February 9-12, 2000 at the Sheraton Old Town Hotel, 800 Rio Grande Blvd., Albuquerque, N.M. 87104, (505)843-6300. Please submit presentation and papers on any of the following or related topics: Excavating the Southwest; Interpretation of Southwestern History, Pre-Hispanic and Later; The Effect of Southwestern Excavations on the Image of the Southwest; Native American Views of Archaeological Excavation; Excavations and Commerce in the Southwest; Southwestern Archaeological Excavations: Past and Present; Images of Chaco Canyon and the Pre-Hispanic Southwest; History of Southwest Archaeology; Trading Posts and Archaeology; Pre-"Professional" Archaeology in the Southwest: Wetherills. Send a 200 word abstract before December 1, 1999 to Dr. Jeffery A. Thomas, Northland Pioneer College, PO Box 610 Holbrook, AZ 86025; (520) 289-6527, Fax (520)289-6521;; Call for Papers: New Mexico boasts a range of museums. Archaeologist Neal Ackerly worked the site, finding evidence of deteriorated nails around the remains - an indication that the body had been buried in a coffin. There could be 30 to 400 bodies on the property. He also estimated it would cost $850 to remove each body and examine it as required by law.

COLORADO Hundreds of skeletons have been discovered in Pueblo. Although no one is positive about the origins of the mass grave, it may have been used to bury patients who fell victim to a flu epidemic in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The discovery will add $200,000 to the cost of expanding the existing prison. The money would be used to unearth the remains, which would be turned over to the anthropology department at Colorado College. The bones would be used to determine the types of medication used on the mentally ill a century ago. After research expected to last 15 years, the bones would be returned to the state for proper burial. An 1893 earthen dam has become the centerpiece of a citizens group's plan to preserve open space.

ARIZONA Museums and cultural organizations contributed to $245 million of Tucson's economic activity in 1998. That is a 21 percent increase over the total in 1994. The study found that 445 people are employed full time in the arts or museum fields and 3,000 more work for them either part time or on temporary contracts. One in 10 Tucson jobs is related to tourism - a $1.5 billion-a-year clean industry that uses little water or other resources.

MEXICO It's late in the afternoon on a bumpy two-lane road between Guerrero, Coahuila, Mexico and Eagle Pass, Texas. Professor Mario Montano is driving. Days and hundreds of miles ago, near Brownsville, his 11 tired students heard a talk on immigration by a US Border Patrol agent. They attended a lecture on palm-forest ecology, and learned about folk religions and water rights. Images of days spent hard by the Rio Grande with poor Mexicans are recorded in their journals. Yes, there will be a test, and an oral presentation, an annotated bibliography, an electronic portfolio, and a Web page. All in 3,000 miles and three weeks. Colorado College's Anthropology 385, "Rio Grande River," is just one of several cutting-edge classes pushing the boundaries of traditional course design on campuses nationwide.

VANDALS Police say Ricky and Pauline Whitted, both 40, may be responsible for numerous thefts of Indian artifacts in the Southwest. Whitted has a previous arrest for extortion in Arizona, but his wife has no record. Respected purveyors of culture have been dispatching street thieves to heist funerary ornaments to sell to customers who, in some cases, are aware of the thefts. Two dealers and a collector have been charged with felony possession of stolen goods.

CYBERIA Indiana Jones in the real world. Archeology is the study of past cultures through artifacts. The goal of archaeology is to study artifacts in an attempt to reconstruct and learn about past cultures. To do this, archeologists must record where they found an object, what objects it was found with, and when it was used. Without this information, there is little we can learn from any object. Hard work is involved in excavating an archaeological site. A grant to digitize some 1,000 original documents and visual images relating to Native Americans of the Southeastern United States will revolutionize access to the vulnerable materials, increasing usage by everyone from scholars to school children. Primary sources remain scarce, especially for students below the college level and for the general public. Michael Xu theorizes that China had contact with the Americas before the early 19th century. Xu's Mayan artifacts bear an extraordinary resemblance to Chinese bone inscriptions from the Shang dynasty, about 1600 to 1100 B.C. Betty Meggers, a research archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution, thinks Asian contact goes back even further, to 5,000 years ago. Gary Downey, an anthropology professor who also has a degree in engineering, offers a course entitled "Engineering Cultures" to get engineers more in touch with international and other viewpoints.

LOOKIN' FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES An international team of scientists has documented through new radiocarbon dating that Neandertals roamed central Europe as recently as 28,000 years ago, and there was probably a good deal of genetic exchange between Neandertals and modern humans.,1575,ART-36800,00.html Humans and Neanderthals interbred or at least had "plenty of opportunities. Yet there is no evidence showing how the two species dealt with each other.,2107,500049541-500081111-500245787-0,00.html "You could argue that they lived apart in the same area and threw rocks at each other instead of genes," said Howell. Neanderthals in the gene pool.

SWA's funraising efforts continue through October. E-mail a pledge to Send your tax deductible donation to Southwestern Archaeology, Inc., P.O. Box 61203, Phoenix AZ 85082-1203. Who loves ya, baby!