Hohokam flake tool excavated by Desert Archaeology Jun 16

Hohokam Flake Tools and the Eye of the Beholder

RJ Sliva is Desert’s senior flaked stone analyst. Think about the last time you used a metal tool. Maybe you sliced up a peach  to make your yogurt palatable or fired up a Dremel to carve some stone beads for your Etsy shop. Now think about performing those tasks without…

Jun 9

The Archaeology of Children in Territorial-era Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel is back with more insights into life in 19th century Tucson--this week, about the kids. What was life like for the children who lived in Tucson during the American Territorial Period, from 1856 to 1912? Surviving documents—newspaper articles, school records, and censuses—can tell us some basic…

Jun 2

Native American Pottery in Historic Period Tucson

Desert Archaeology’s ceramic analyst Jim Heidke writes this week’s blog. In 1958, four graduate students (Bernard Fontana, William Robinson, Charles Cormack, and Ernest Leavitt, Jr.) took a seminar from Dr. Emil Haury at the University of Arizona. They chose to study historic period Native American pottery, specifically, Papago ceramics. At…

May 26

Experimental Archaeology: Traditional Maize Gardening and Grinding

Jenny Adams, Desert Archaeology’s resident internationally recognized expert on ground stone technology, writes this week's blog about collaborating with heritage gardener Joyce Rychener. Everyone should know about Joyce Rychener and her Heritage Garden project at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley, Arizona. Her work at the garden, growing heirloom crops using…

Signs are among Desert Archaeology's public outreach products. May 19

Desert Archaeology Public Outreach: Bringing the Past to the Present

Project director and historical archaeologist Homer Thiel showcases the variety of public outreach products created by Desert Archaeology. After the excavations are finished, the artifacts analyzed, and the reports written, what else is left to do? For Desert Archaeology staff members, sharing the results of their work with the public…

May 12

Desert Dissertations: CRM Archaeology and Advanced Academics

Desert Archaeology president Sarah Herr discusses Desert staff members who have earned graduate degrees on the foundations of CRM work. When Desert Archaeology project director Jim Vint successfully defended his doctoral dissertation this week, he became the latest in a long line of Desert staff who have translated their work…

May 5

Construction Monitoring: CRM Archaeology One Trench at a Time

What do archaeologists do? The first answer that probably comes to mind is “Dig!” We do indeed spend a lot of time moving dirt with mattocks, shovels, trowels, and dental picks as we excavate sites to recover cultural data. Most people are not as familiar with archaeological construction monitoring, which involves…

Apr 28

Mark Elson—Heading Off to an Active Retirement

Desert Archaeology founder and vice president Bill Doelle pens a testimonial to principal investigator, archaeologist, and volcano aficionado Mark Elson on his retirement. Mark Elson slipped into Tucson while I was away. I arrived in 1972, and I departed for a little over three years in late 1978. Upon returning…

Historic diet in Tucson Apr 21

What’s for Supper? Exploring Historic Period Diet in Tucson

In December 2015, Tucson was designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the first in the United States. This honor was given for many reasons, among them Tucson's 4,100 years of agriculture, the interest in preserving heritage crops by Native Seed Search and the Kino Heritage Fruit Tree project, and the…

Desert Archaeology artist Rob Ciaccio's reconstruction of a native settlement near the Spanish mission garden, Tucson, Arizona Apr 14

Archaeological Illustration with Rob Ciaccio: Bringing the Past to Life

Desert archaeologist, photographer, and artist-in-residence Rob Ciaccio talks about the archaeological illustration process behind his artistic reconstructions of past lifeways, which have been featured in Desert Archaeology reports and Archaeology Southwest publications, as well as on national monument signage. In the days of my youth, I would find myself imagining…