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 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…

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…

Aug 24

Under the Floors: Archaeology inside the Brown House

The C. O. Brown House in downtown Tucson is now dwarfed by the new concrete-and-steel buildings that have sprung up on either side of it in recent years. But how long, exactly, has this tenacious adobe house been hanging on to the middle of its block on Broadway? Homer Thiel…

Aug 17

Answering Archaeological Questions: What Happens when You Find a Burial

Homer Thiel discusses the procedures followed when encountering human remains in Arizona--on an archaeological excavation or while digging up your garden. People have lived in Arizona for perhaps 12,000 years or more. Hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, have died within the modern political boundaries of our state.…

Jun 15

Downtown Historical Archaeology: The Tucson Sampling Works

Homer Thiel tells the story of a 19th-century ore assayer whose office was unearthed during archaeological work near the historic train depot in downtown Tucson. Arizona has long been marketed as the land of “5 Cs”:Climate, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus, and Copper. In the last quarter of the 19th century and…

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.…

Feb 16

Soledad Jacome: Historical Archaeology and a Rediscovered Life

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel shows how the artifacts we excavate are used to fill in details of lives that are otherwise lost to the passage of time. Life in Territorial-era Tucson was often difficult. In 1873, Soledad Jacome's common-law husband, Juan Siqueiros, disappears from the documentary record. He may have…