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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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?"…

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…

Pit dug for corn-roasting experiments at Desert Archaeology Jan 6

Experimental Archaeology: Learning by Doing

R.J. Sliva, who has done the compulsory lithics graduate student curing-hides-with-brains experiment, recounts the more informative experimental archaeology conducted by Desert staff.  Some men simply want to watch the world burn... particularly when it advances archaeological knowledge. Traditional technologies expert and long-time Desert associate Allen Denoyer led the team that…