Aug 19

New Insights on the Tucson Presidio from the Historic Pima County Courthouse

Homer Thiel discusses ancient and historical cultural resources encountered on the grounds of the Historic Pima County Courthouse in Tucson during renovations and the construction of the January 8 Memorial. Pima County has recently completed the renovation of the 1929 Pima County Courthouse, now the home of the Southern Arizona…

Aug 9

The Hohokam of Fort Lowell: The Hardy Site

Homer Thiel talks about the Hardy Site and what the structures and artifacts recorded there teach us about Hohokam lifeways in the eastern Tucson Basin. The word Hohokam refers to the archaeological culture that existed in the Sonoran Desert from about AD 500 to 1450. The Hohokam are well known…

Aug 3

Black, Red, and Green: Abalone Shell Trade in the Ancient Southwest

Desert Archaeology project director Erina Gruner’s recent doctoral dissertation explored the exchange of ritual paraphernalia and exotic trade goods during the Chacoan and post-Chacoan periods (AD 875–1300) in the San Juan Basin, Here, she discusses the exchange of abalone shell by groups living in Arizona and New Mexico a thousand years…

Desert Archaeology Tucson DBE woman-owned cultural resources management rabbit Feb 9

Rabbit, Rabbit: The Small, Furry, and Fast Dietary Staple of Ancient Arizona

Desert Archaeology zooarchaeologist Jenny Waters teams with Homer Thiel this week to explore the go-to protein source for ancient inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert. Content advisory: this post contains a historic photograph of the aftermath of a jackrabbit hunt. Ten years ago Desert Archaeology conducted excavations at a portion of…

Nov 16

It Takes Both: Identifying Mano and Metate Types

Dr. Jenny Adams is Desert Archaeology's ground stone analyst, and is recognized both nationally and internationally as the authority in the field of ground stone technology. This week she talks about the basic tools of food grinding. When I first learned about manos and metates used in the U.S. Southwest…

Oct 13

Tiny Artifacts, Big Questions: More from the World of Disk Beads

Ground stone expert Jenny Adams has more to share about the analysis of disk beads. My previous blog about distinguishing stone from fired-clay disk beads using low-power magnification techniques was just a teaser. There is much more to learn about disk beads—I didn’t even mention the identification of shell disk…

Disk bead studied by Desert Archaeology Oct 6

Archaeological Conundrum: The Tiny Disk Bead

Desert Archaeology's ground stone expert, Jenny Adams, explores a different sort of artifact this week--one that poses vexing problems, raises interesting questions, and may or may not even be made of stone. How can something be whole and part of a whole at the same time? The tiny disk bead…

Hohokam flake tool excavated by Desert Archaeology Jun 16

Hohokam Flake Tools and the Eye of the Beholder

R. J. Sliva, Desert’s senior flaked stone analyst, has thoughts about an often-maligned set of stone artifacts. Think about the last time you used a metal tool. Maybe you sliced up a peach to make your yogurt palatable or fired up a Dremel to carve some stone beads for your…