Desert Archaeology research on the Early Ceramic period Sep 29

Time of Transition: The Early Ceramic Period in the Tucson Basin

Homer Thiel discusses the state of our knowledge—and lingering questions—about the Early Ceramic period. Around AD 50, the lives of the Native Americans living in the Tucson Basin began to dramatically change. This was the start of what archaeologists call the Early Ceramic period (also known as the Agua Caliente…

Desert Archaeology illustration by Robert Ciaccio Sep 15

Hohokam Ceramic Studies: Past, Present, Future

This week's blog is written by James Heidke, Desert Archaeology’s senior ceramic analyst. Archaeologists have been studying Hohokam pottery for about 100 years. One might think that we would know everything there is to know about the subject by now, but new discoveries are being made in both museum collections…

Aug 4

Axe Head Road Trip: What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Desert Archaeology ground stone expert Jenny Adams returns to the blog with a story of a summer road trip that showed her not only the half of the country east of the Mississippi, but several intriguing ancient axe heads as well. This summer, during a tour of states east of…

Jul 28

The Early Agricultural Period Construction Boom

Homer Thiel discusses architecture and recounts the Desert Archaeology investigations he has led that encountered Early Agricultural period pithouses in the vicinity of downtown Tucson.  A construction boom is currently underway in downtown Tucson and in the area west of the Santa Cruz River as new housing and businesses—including the…

Jun 2

Native American Pottery in Historic Period Tucson

Desert Archaeology’s ceramic analyst Jim Heidke writes this week’s blog. In 1958, four graduate students (Bernard Fontana, William Robinson, Charles Cormack, and Ernest Leavitt, Jr.) took a seminar from Dr. Emil Haury at the University of Arizona. They chose to study historic period Native American pottery, specifically, Papago ceramics. At…

Historic diet in Tucson Apr 21

What’s for Supper? Exploring Historic Period Diet in Tucson

In December 2015, Tucson was designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the first in the United States. This honor was given for many reasons, among them Tucson's 4,100 years of agriculture, the interest in preserving heritage crops by Native Seed Search and the Kino Heritage Fruit Tree project, and the…

Mar 17

How We Ask Questions: CRM Archaeology and the Land Between

This week’s blog is by Sarah Herr, owner and president of Desert Archaeology. What do you imagine when you think of archaeology sites in the Southwest? Cliff Palace and other dwellings at Mesa Verde, silently keeping watch over the canyon? The towering architecture of Pueblo Bonito, oriented with cosmographic phenomena?…

Desert Archaeology illustration answering the question what is a pithouse Mar 9

Answering Archaeology Questions: Pithouse Architecture

Homer Thiel explores pithouse architecture and how the most common prehistoric dwellings in southern Arizona changed over time. The illustration at the top is by Robert Ciaccio. For several thousand years people have been constructing pithouses in the Sonoran Desert. Desert Archaeology employees are frequently asked "What is a pithouse?"…

Feb 24

Artifact Curation and Archaeological Research: Keep Everything

R. J. Sliva, Desert Archaeology's senior flaked stone analyst, shows how revisiting curated collections can answer new questions. 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…

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…