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…

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…

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…

Jun 9

The Archaeology of Children in Territorial-era Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel is back with more insights into life in 19th century Tucson--this week, about the kids. What was life like for the children who lived in Tucson during the American Territorial Period, from 1856 to 1912? Surviving documents—newspaper articles, school records, and censuses—can tell us some basic…