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…

May 5

Construction Monitoring: CRM Archaeology One Trench at a Time

RJ Sliva gets out of the lab from time to time, trading the lithic analyst hat for a construction monitor's hard hat and safety vest. What do archaeologists do? The first answer that probably comes to mind is “Dig!” We do indeed spend a lot of time moving dirt with…

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…

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…

Mission San Agustin del Tucson ruins Dec 30

Celebrating the Past, Looking to the Future

R.J. Sliva mulls the end of 2016 and what historical preservation means to a community. Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me. -- “The World Was…

Historic place setting excavated by Desert Archaeology in downtown Tucson, Arizona Dec 20

The Benefits of CRM Archaeology: Tucson, History, and Food.

R.J. Sliva considers how history and cuisine have intertwined to make Tucson a singular place. This week, as people celebrate a variety of winter holiday traditions with special foods, we turn our attention to an important question. Why does CRM (cultural resources management) archaeology matter? Your answer may run the…