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…

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…