Aug 12

Remembering Quintus Monier and Brickyard Workers

The upcoming opening of a new building prompts Desert Archaeology project director Mike Diehl to revisit an early Tucson architect, his brickyard, and the workers who made the bricks that built city landmarks. In Autumn 2020, the Monier Building, a mixed-use 122 unit residential and 13,000 square foot commercial space,…

1918 Spanish flu ward Apr 8

We Have Been Here Before: A History of Epidemics in Southern Arizona

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel provided information for a newspaper article on the 1918 Spanish flu, published by the Arizona Daily Star on April 6, 2020. This blog entry is an expanded presentation of Homer's research on the history of epidemics in the Tucson area. The appearance of the COVID-19 virus…

Feb 21

The Soldiers of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Homer Thiel explores what documents and artifacts tell us about the the lives of the Spanish and Mexican soldiers who were garrisoned at the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson between 1775 and 1856. On August 20th, 1775, Hugo O'Conor, an Irishman employed by the Spanish military, selected the location of…

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…

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…

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…

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…