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…

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…

Jul 10

Think of Me.

Today marks historical archaeologist Homer Thiel's 25th anniversary at Desert Archaeology. In a special blog entry, he thinks back to two key finds that encapsulate his career. The phone in my Tempe apartment rang on July 10th, 1992. "Hello, this is Bill Doelle of Desert Archaeology in Tucson..." Bill was…

Jun 9

The Archaeology of Children in Territorial-era Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel is back with more insights into life in 19th century Tucson--this week, about the kids. What was life like for the children who lived in Tucson during the American Territorial Period, from 1856 to 1912? Surviving documents—newspaper articles, school records, and censuses—can tell us some basic…

Signs are among Desert Archaeology's public outreach products. May 19

Desert Archaeology Public Outreach: Bringing the Past to the Present

Project director and historical archaeologist Homer Thiel showcases the variety of public outreach products created by Desert Archaeology. After the excavations are finished, the artifacts analyzed, and the reports written, what else is left to do? For Desert Archaeology staff members, sharing the results of their work with the public…