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…

Aug 10

Early Agricultural Period Shell Ornaments in the Tucson Basin

Desert Archaeology shell specialist Chris Lange provides a blog-friendly version of a poster she presented at the 91st annual Pecos Conference (August 9-11, 2018) in Flagstaff, Arizona. Recent excavations at Early Agricultural period sites in the Tucson Basin have produced a number of marine shell ornaments.  Sites dating to the…

Desert Archaeology historic arrow points Mar 12

Historic Native American Arrow Points in Southern Arizona

Homer Thiel and R. J. Sliva discuss Historic-era arrow points, with photos from recent research in Tucson. Native Americans in Arizona have used projectile points for at least 12,000 years for hunting and warfare. Large, heavy points that tipped darts (long, compound spears) were utilized for much of this time.…

Desert Archaeology ground stone use-wear usewear use wear Nov 30

The Tell-tale Art: Recognizing Use-wear on Stone Tools

Dr. Jenny Adams follows up her mano/metate identification blog with a discussion of use-wear analysis on ground stone tools. One of the tools I have in my analysis toolbox is use-wear analysis. Use-wear analysis relies on both macroscopic and microscopic observations to recognize how tools were used. "Wear" is generally…

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…

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 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…