Feb 16

Soledad Jacome: Historical Archaeology and a Rediscovered Life

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel shows how the artifacts we excavate are used to fill in details of lives that are otherwise lost to the passage of time. Life in Territorial-era Tucson was often difficult. In 1873, Soledad Jacome's common-law husband, Juan Siqueiros, disappears from the documentary record. He may have…

Desert Archaeology Tucson DBE woman-owned cultural resources management historical history Feb 2

Donald Page: Tucson’s Tragic First Historical Archaeologist

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel writes this week’s blog. Donald William Page only lived in Tucson for three years. But during that time he turned his attention to the community’s history and archaeology. He interviewed elderly residents, explored and mapped ruins, and, in 1929, conducted the first historical archaeological excavation in…

Jan 19

The Chinese Gardeners of Historic Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel discusses the lives of Chinese immigrants in late 19th and early 20th century Tucson. The first Chinese immigrants arrived in Tucson in the mid-1870s, several decades after Chinese people came to California during the 1849 Gold Rush. The initial arrivals operated restaurants, cooking American-style food at…

Nov 23

Suppertime at the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel starts off the fall/winter feasting season with a look at the foods prepared by residents of Tucson during the Presidio era. It's that time of year when residents of Tucson sit down for big meals at various holidays. We go to our local supermarkets or farmers…

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 31

Historical Archaeology Halloween: The Burials under the Bank

Homer Thiel presents the story of two forgotten burials from the abandoned Court Street Cemetery north of downtown Tucson. In 2012, Desert Archaeology was contracted by the City of Tucson to examine a parcel of land located at the southwest corner of N. Stone Avenue and W. Speedway Boulevard. At…

Desert Archaeology research on the Early Ceramic period Sep 29

Time of Transition: The Early Ceramic Period in the Tucson Basin

Homer Thiel discusses the state of our knowledge—and lingering questions—about the Early Ceramic period. Around AD 50, the lives of the Native Americans living in the Tucson Basin began to dramatically change. This was the start of what archaeologists call the Early Ceramic period (also known as the Agua Caliente…

Sep 8

Funeral Bills and Coroner’s Inquests: The Other Block 92 Scandal

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel continues the story of 19th-century Tucson’s scandalous Block 92. A previous blog post chronicled the scandalous history of Block 92 resident Jack Boleyn. As a historical archaeologist, I use documents (deeds, court records, maps, photographs, newspaper articles, etc.) along with archaeological features and artifacts to reconstruct…