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 illustration by Robert Ciaccio Sep 15

Hohokam Ceramic Studies: Past, Present, Future

This week's blog is written by James Heidke, Desert Archaeology’s senior ceramic analyst. Archaeologists have been studying Hohokam pottery for about 100 years. One might think that we would know everything there is to know about the subject by now, but new discoveries are being made in both museum collections…

Jul 7

Interpretive Graphics: Charting both the Forest and the Trees

Catherine Gilman, Desert Archaeology’s graphics and mapping specialist, writes this week about innovation and collaboration in creating interpretive graphics. Readers need visual guidance to gain purchase on the science we produce. Making ideas approachable through better graphics is a good way to reach beyond the specialist’s view and into the…

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…

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…

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…