Arizona Archaeological Council

AAC 2009 Fall Conference Program

Presented by

The Arizona Archaeological Council

Arizona Archaeology in the Twenty-First Century

The Fall Conference will be held on Saturday, November 14, at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Our theme is "Arizona Archaeology in the Twenty-First Century," and we expect many exciting presentations. We will meet in the auditorium of the Chase-Branigar Discovery Center. Coffee and goodies will be provided, and tables will be available for sale of books. Beginning at 6 p.m., there will be a reception at the President's home in Flagstaff.

Positions papers and abstracts

(listed alphabetically by presenter(s) surname)

» James T. Watson and John McClelland (Arizona State Museum)
» Davina Two Bears (Navajo Nation)
» Sophia E. Kelly, J. Benton, and Lorie Sinclair (Arizona State University)
» William M. Graves (Statistical Research, Inc.)
» J. Jefferson Reid (University of Arizona)
» Stephanie M. Whittlesey (Jacobs Engineering Group)
» Kelley Hays-Gilpin (Northern Arizona University and Museum of Northern Arizona)
» Michael W. Lindeman (Desert Archaeology, Inc.)

James T. Watson and John McClelland - Arizona State Museum

Bioarchaeology in Arizona at the Beginning of a New Century

Bioarchaeology has consistently lagged behind other sciences in the development and application of new theoretical and methodological approaches, and Arizona serves as a microcosm of broader trends in the science. Arizona has several characteristics that should make us a leader of advancements in bioarchaeology, including excellent archaeological preservation, extensive and sustained development, the presence and active involvement of numerous Native nations, and a top-ranked academic program. Instead, work in the state highlights the inconsistencies in applications and quality that have characterized its practice nationally. The first decade of this new century has seen signs of positive directions for bioarchaeology, both nationally and in Arizona. In our paper, we describe two recent case studies that highlight advances in the method, theory, and application of bioarchaeology in Arizona.

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Davina Two Bears - Navajo Nation

The New Navajo Nation Curation Policy

In the mid 1990s, several individuals came together to formulate a draft curation policy for the Navajo Nation. This draft was then shelved until 2007, when it was dusted off and approved as an official policy of the Navajo Nation government. It is a policy that essentially calls for the reburial of all artifacts excavated on Navajo Nation lands. This paper discusses the current situation of artifact curation on Navajo Nation lands, contents of the new Navajo Nation Curation policy, and the development of unique challenges related to artifact curation as a result of this new policy.

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Sophia E. Kelly, J. Benton, and Lorie Sinclair - Arizona State University

Refining the Phoenix Basin Sand Petrofacies Model for Identification Using a Binocular Microscope

The recent characterization of geographically discrete sand petrofacies across the Phoenix Basin provides remarkable precision to Hohokam ceramic-provenance studies. The application of the petrofacies model, however, has been limited by the time, expense, and training required for ceramic thin-section analysis. Ongoing research at the Gila River Indian Community attempts to convert ceramic point-count parameters to variables that can be identified under a low-powered binocular microscope. This research involves the development and implementation of a computer program to apply the classification criteria.

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William M. Graves - Statistical Research, Inc.

Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, and the Hohokam

At first glance, there would seem to be little common ground between the writings of Michel Foucault and the work of Antonio Gramsci. Likewise, what could be the relevance of these two twentieth-century social theorists to the study of the Hohokam archaeological culture of southern and central Arizona? In my presentation, I discuss how these two scholars’ notions of structural power relations can provide some insight into social and political relations in Hohokam society. In particular, it is Foucault’s ideas of disciplinary power and Gramsci’s thoughts on culture and hegemony that may help us understand the nature of power among the Hohokam as well as how changes in power relations may have played a role in the major transformations we see in Hohokam society during the Pre-Classic to Classic period transition.

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J. Jefferson Reid - University of Arizona

To Soothe the Salvage Beast, Redux

In this paper, I place the future of Arizona archaeology in historical perspective using as a baseline my presentation to the American Association of Conservation Archaeology symposium at the 1978 annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. A lifetime of academic/contract archaeology beginning with river-basin salvage in 1962 concludes with the evaluation that Arizona archaeology must continue to confront the “salvage beast.”

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Stephanie M. Whittlesey - Jacobs Engineering Group

Back to Basics: Reinventing the Archaeological Context

Although some may disagree, accomplishing important archaeological research within a for-profit, cultural resource management framework is becoming increasingly difficult. Constraints of time, money, sampling, agency requirements, and personnel typically preclude significant analysis and sound inferences about prehistory and history. Accepting this premise, my paper takes a behavioral archaeology approach to ways in which we can make the simple description of the archaeological context more useful to future researchers for comparison and study. The crisis in compliance archaeology takes on increased urgency when considered in light of academic archaeology’s current trend toward presentations lacking in data and heavily oriented toward concepts that are difficult or impossible to explore with material culture, such as agency, negotiation, power relationships, and so on.

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Kelley Hays-Gilpin - Northern Arizona University and Museum of Northern Arizona

Remembering a Mythological Archaeologist: Michael Kabotie at the Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona and southwestern archaeologists lost a treasured friend and colleague in October. Michael Kabotie, Snow Clan, village of Songoopavi, used to say that he was a mythological archaeologist, and in this presentation, I will explain what he meant by that and what he was trying to accomplish with his unorthodox alliance between art and archaeology.

Mike Kabotie was a world-renowned Hopi painter and jeweler who worked closely with many archaeologists to explore Hopi history. Mike had a special relationship with the ancestral Hopi village of Awat’ovi. He said that for him, Awat’ovi was the source of the language that provided a way of telling about the Hopi world and a way of visually rendering a four-dimensional world in two dimensions. Mike was a key advisor on the “Hopi Iconography Project,” a program of research, publication, and exhibit planning at the Museum of Northern Arizona. One of Mike’s roles in that program was to interview archaeologists and explore ancestral places with Hopi religious leaders. What happened at Awat’ovi is painful for most Hopi people, and most still think it is better not to discuss it. But Mike said that it takes hard work, pain, and suffering for something beautiful to be created, for anything significant to be learned. He thought that research done in the service of elucidating Hopi history was important, and it was necessary to revisit painful moments in history in order to learn and grow. Archaeology is one way of learning about the past that contributes to building a healthy, sustainable future. Kabotie has pointed the way to an archaeology that can make relevant contributions to contemporary indigenous people.

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Michael W. Lindeman - Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Comparing Multigenerational Households: An End to Uniformitarianism

When walking through a modern American neighborhood, there is no expectation that people living in the houses are socially or economically uniform. Certainly similarities exist among neighbors, but differences in employment, hobbies, and aptitudes are pervasive. Even in the newest tract developments, where houses are outwardly indistinguishable, it would be foolhardy to assume social and economic homogeneity among the residents. However, many archaeological analyses assume just this type of homogeneity, using the site as the unit of analysis and at least implicitly assuming homogeneity among the residents.

Current conceptions of social systems postulate that they are composed of actively engaged actors with many differing goals, placing understanding variability among small social units at the center of archaeological and anthropological research. Neighbors can have different productive strategies, social standings, and differing access to resources. Such disparities can lead to a variety of social actions that must be negotiated within and between households. Conversely, assumptions of household uniformity can mask this irregularity, limiting our understanding of the variety of activities, goals, conflicts, and the resolutions of conflicts that shaped prehistoric society. Research in the Hohokam area has produced copious amounts of data on multigenerational households that we can use to examine the small social units that constitute what we recognize as Hohokam.

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