Jul 15

Early Agricultural Period Ceramic Figurines

Jim Heidke, Desert Archaeology’s senior ceramic analyst, explores the clay figurines made by the earliest farmers in the Tucson Basin. At once recognizable and enigmatic, these small artifacts played an important but as-yet incompletely understood role in the lives of the Tucson Basin’s earliest farmers. Since 1986, Desert Archaeology and…

Church at Tucson on San Antonio's Day, 1860," from The Loyal West in the Times of the Rebellion by John W. Barber and Henry Howe, 1865 Jun 13

World Without End: Archaeology of the Catholic Church in Tucson

Homer Thiel details some of the history and artifacts connected to the Catholic Church in Tucson. In the mid-1690s, an Italian-born Jesuit priest, Father Francisco Eusebio Kino, set out from his mission in Dolores, Sonora, heading north into what is now southern Arizona. Kino was seeking to convert the local…

Feb 8

The Broken and the Whole: Cruciforms in the Tucson Basin

Desert Archaeology's ground stone analysts, Dr. Jenny Adams and Tessa Branyan, discuss a rare Early Agricultural period artifact type. What do the Las Capas, Los Pozos, Santa Cruz Bend, and Clearwater sites have in common, besides the fact that people lived in these settlements along the Santa Cruz River during…

Feb 5

Home, Sweet Home in the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel takes us on a home tour of 18th- and 19th-century Presidio households. Tucson was a Spanish and then Mexican fortress from its establishment in 1775 until the last Mexican soldiers marched away in March 1856. During this 81-year time span, the average population numbered between 400…

Dec 13

Answering Archaeology Questions: How Do Archaeologists Find Sites?

If you follow our Instagram (@desert_archaeology), you’ve seen plenty of photos taken by our survey crews in the wilds of central Arizona. Homer Thiel explains the ins and outs of why we survey and how we use these often strenuous hikes through unforgiving terrain to find sites and understand how…

Oct 12

Two Unusual Burials from the Court Street Cemetery

On October 15, 2018, Homer Thiel will be giving a talk at the monthly meeting of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, titled "A Drear Bleak, Desolate Place: The Archaeology of the Court Street Cemetery.” The talk is open to the public and free; find details at the end of…

Sep 28

A Tale of Two Parks

Many of the public parks currently enjoyed by Tucson residents lie on parcels of land whose history goes back hundreds of years. Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel explores some of the hidden history uncovered by Desert Archaeology in two very different parks located at different edges of the Tucson Basin... and…