Desert Archaeology Tucson DBE woman-owned cultural resources management historical history Feb 2

Donald Page: Tucson’s Tragic First Historical Archaeologist

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel writes this week’s blog. Donald William Page only lived in Tucson for three years. But during that time he turned his attention to the community’s history and archaeology. He interviewed elderly residents, explored and mapped ruins, and, in 1929, conducted the first historical archaeological excavation in…

Jan 19

The Chinese Gardeners of Historic Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel discusses the lives of Chinese immigrants in late 19th and early 20th century Tucson. The first Chinese immigrants arrived in Tucson in the mid-1870s, several decades after Chinese people came to California during the 1849 Gold Rush. The initial arrivals operated restaurants, cooking American-style food at…

Nov 23

Suppertime at the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel starts off the fall/winter feasting season with a look at the foods prepared by residents of Tucson during the Presidio era. It's that time of year when residents of Tucson sit down for big meals at various holidays. We go to our local supermarkets or farmers…

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 31

Historical Archaeology Halloween: The Burials under the Bank

Homer Thiel presents the story of two forgotten burials from the abandoned Court Street Cemetery north of downtown Tucson. In 2012, Desert Archaeology was contracted by the City of Tucson to examine a parcel of land located at the southwest corner of N. Stone Avenue and W. Speedway Boulevard. At…

Sep 8

Funeral Bills and Coroner’s Inquests: The Other Block 92 Scandal

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel continues the story of 19th-century Tucson’s scandalous Block 92. A previous blog post chronicled the scandalous history of Block 92 resident Jack Boleyn. As a historical archaeologist, I use documents (deeds, court records, maps, photographs, newspaper articles, etc.) along with archaeological features and artifacts to reconstruct…

Jul 10

Think of Me.

Today marks historical archaeologist Homer Thiel's 25th anniversary at Desert Archaeology. In a special blog entry, he thinks back to two key finds that encapsulate his career. The phone in my Tempe apartment rang on July 10th, 1992. "Hello, this is Bill Doelle of Desert Archaeology in Tucson..." Bill was…