Desert Archaeology ground stone use-wear usewear use wear Nov 30

The Tell-tale Art: Recognizing Use-wear on Stone Tools

Dr. Jenny Adams follows up her mano/metate identification blog with a discussion of use-wear analysis on ground stone tools. One of the tools I have in my analysis toolbox is use-wear analysis. Use-wear analysis relies on both macroscopic and microscopic observations to recognize how tools were used. "Wear" is generally…

Nov 23

Suppertime at the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel starts off the fall/winter feasting season with a look at the foods prepared by residents of Tucson during the Presidio era. It's that time of year when residents of Tucson sit down for big meals at various holidays. We go to our local supermarkets or farmers…

Nov 16

It Takes Both: Identifying Mano and Metate Types

Dr. Jenny Adams is Desert Archaeology's ground stone analyst, and is recognized both nationally and internationally as the authority in the field of ground stone technology. This week she talks about the basic tools of food grinding. When I first learned about manos and metates used in the U.S. Southwest…

Nov 3

Up in Smoke: A History of Tobacco in Tucson

Desert Archaeology paleoethnobotanist Dr. Michael Diehl joins up with historical archaeologist Homer Thiel to discuss Nicotiana sp. and its use through time in southern Arizona. In January 1964, Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States shocked American citizens by documenting the…

Oct 31

Historical Archaeology Halloween: The Burials under the Bank

Homer Thiel presents the story of two forgotten burials from the abandoned Court Street Cemetery north of downtown Tucson. In 2012, Desert Archaeology was contracted by the City of Tucson to examine a parcel of land located at the southwest corner of N. Stone Avenue and W. Speedway Boulevard. At…

Oct 13

Tiny Artifacts, Big Questions: More from the World of Disk Beads

Ground stone expert Jenny Adams has more to share about the analysis of disk beads. My previous blog about distinguishing stone from fired-clay disk beads using low-power magnification techniques was just a teaser. There is much more to learn about disk beads—I didn’t even mention the identification of shell disk…

Disk bead studied by Desert Archaeology Oct 6

Archaeological Conundrum: The Tiny Disk Bead

Desert Archaeology's ground stone expert, Jenny Adams, explores a different sort of artifact this week--one that poses vexing problems, raises interesting questions, and may or may not even be made of stone. How can something be whole and part of a whole at the same time? The tiny disk bead…

Desert Archaeology research on the Early Ceramic period Sep 29

Time of Transition: The Early Ceramic Period in the Tucson Basin

Homer Thiel discusses the state of our knowledge—and lingering questions—about the Early Ceramic period. Around AD 50, the lives of the Native Americans living in the Tucson Basin began to dramatically change. This was the start of what archaeologists call the Early Ceramic period (also known as the Agua Caliente…

Desert Archaeology ceramic petrography by Mary Ownby Sep 22

It’s Getting Hot Around Here! The 2017 Southwest Kiln Conference

Desert Archaeology ceramic petrographer Mary Ownby writes about the innovations and experimentation inspired by this year’s pottery conference. The annual Southwest Kiln Conference was held in early August in Tijeras, New Mexico. This event brings together a wonderful group of people interested in prehistoric pottery. A number of the individuals…