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 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…

Jul 28

The Early Agricultural Period Construction Boom

Homer Thiel discusses architecture and recounts the Desert Archaeology investigations he has led that encountered Early Agricultural period pithouses in the vicinity of downtown Tucson.  A construction boom is currently underway in downtown Tucson and in the area west of the Santa Cruz River as new housing and businesses—including the…

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…

Desert Archaeology cultural resources management CRM graphics illustration photography services 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…

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?"…

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…