Ceramic petrography slide at Desert Archaeology Apr 7

Petrography and Archaeology: Microscopic Fun with Pottery

Dr. Mary Ownby writes this week’s blog on ceramic petrography. As the resident petrographer for Desert Archaeology, Inc., I am occasionally invited to give guest lectures at field schools, classrooms, and other public venues. I delight in these experiences, but it also reminds me that what I do is largely unknown…

Desert Archaeology flotation sample analysis Mar 31

What’s in that Bag of Dirt? Flotation Samples and Archaeology

Michael Diehl, Desert Archaeology’s resident paleoethnobotanist, brings us the first installment of an occasional series about the world of flotation samples. Buy a five-pound bag of flour. Dump out the flour. Grab a spade, head out into your yard, and shovel in enough dirt to fill the bag. Fill your…

Desert Archaeology at the SAA meeting Mar 24

Desert Archaeology Participation in the 2017 SAA Meeting

Sarah Herr details what Desert Archaeology will be up to at the SAA meeting this year. Springtime means the SAAs are coming up again. An essential component of our mission is communicating the results of our research to our colleagues working in the Southwest and beyond, so every year we…

Mar 17

How We Ask Questions: CRM Archaeology and the Land Between

This week’s blog is by Sarah Herr, owner and president of Desert Archaeology. What do you imagine when you think of archaeology sites in the Southwest? Cliff Palace and other dwellings at Mesa Verde, silently keeping watch over the canyon? The towering architecture of Pueblo Bonito, oriented with cosmographic phenomena?…

Desert Archaeology illustration answering the question what is a pithouse Mar 9

Answering Archaeology Questions: Pithouse Architecture

Homer Thiel explores pithouse architecture and how the most common prehistoric dwellings in southern Arizona changed over time. The illustration at the top is by Robert Ciaccio. For several thousand years people have been constructing pithouses in the Sonoran Desert. Desert Archaeology employees are frequently asked "What is a pithouse?"…

Mar 2

Desert Archaeology in Downtown Tucson: Telling Their Stories

Homer Thiel is Desert Archaeology's historical archaeology expert. He writes this week about our work uncovering the history of Block 91, now the eastern gateway to downtown Tucson, and how the everyday items we found illuminate the lives of the ordinary people who lived and worked there at the turn…

Feb 24

Artifact Curation and Archaeological Research: Keep Everything

R.J. Sliva is Desert Archaeology's senior flaked stone analyst. One of the first questions people usually ask archaeologists—after “What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever found?”—is “Where does all the stuff go?” The short answer is “to the museum,” which is our shorthand for “artifact curation facility.” Curation is a hot…

The 2013 Guevavi Field School participants standing in front of the Guevavi chapel. Feb 10

Desert Archaeology-Partnered Field School Wins Diversity Award

Homer Thiel reports this week on recognition for the Guevavi field school. The Gender and Minority Affairs Committee was established to foster diversity and equity within the Society for Historical Archaeology and promote consideration of issues relevant to under-represented groups. The field school competition awards programs that increase participant diversity and/or…

Desert Archaeology UAV aerial photogrammetry by Michael Brack Feb 3

Desert Archaeology Cartography & the UAV Photogrammetry Revolution

This week's blog is by Mike Brack, Desert Archaeology's mapping director and licensed UAV airman. I am fascinated with the technological change I have witnessed over a 25-year career of archaeology, cartography, and land surveying. From plane table and alidade to transit to electronic total station to the modern standard…