May 27

The Beginning of Hohokam Sand Temper Provenance Studies

This week’s blog is written by James Heidke, Desert Archaeology’s senior ceramic analyst. Douglas Craig, an outstanding Southwestern US archaeologist and former Desert Archaeology colleague, passed in mid-May 2020. Most people who know Doug Craig’s professional reputation will think of him as a project director, and, indeed, I worked with…

May 8

Zuni Pottery from the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Desert Archaeology historical archaeologist Homer Thiel and ceramic analyst Jim Heidke discuss the ceramics used by 18th-century residents of the Presidio, including some surprising souvenirs brought home by Spanish soldiers from a long-distance military expedition.  The Presidio San Agustín del Tucson was a Spanish and Mexican period (AD 1775-1856) fortress…

Jan 24

Meat: What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper!

Desert Archaeology zooarchaeologist Jenny Waters and historical archaeologist Homer Thiel talk about how archaeologists use animal bone to explore the meats eaten by people in the past. There were probably few, if any, vegans or vegetarians in southern Arizona during the pre-contact, Spanish, Mexican, or American Territorial periods. People hunted…

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…

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…