Thursday, May 26, 2011


A young archaeology student that I know and work with was doing a research project on reworked prehistoric pottery sherds.
Reworked means the sherds - broken vessel pieces - were reshaped, usually by grinding the edges, for an additional use.

Sherds, particularly decorated sherds, were reshaped to be pot lids, gaming pieces, jewelry, spindle whorls and for other uses.

Recycling by prehistoric people is not uncommon in the archaeological record at least here in the southwest.

The student thought some larger pieces had been used as holders or stands for ollas (pronounced oy ya) – large water jars. He explained the shape and size to me.

Wow! I thought I knew where some such sherds existed on a site out side of town.

He wanted to see and photograph them.

I called a few Site Stewards who monitored the site regularly. We made a date to visit the site and take the student with us.

The sherds, as the others and I remembered, were extruding from a small rivulet next to the dirt road.

We walked right to the area in question.

They were gone!

We could see the shovel marks, brand new shovel marks at that. The pothunters had just been there.

Those sherds had been there the month before, in fact, 1000 years before and some slob, “blankety-blank” of a pothunter had decided to dig them out and take them.

For what use?

Sell on eBay?

I doubt that as U.S. Federal agents now monitor eBay. Pot hunting and sale of the artifacts is a felony you know.

Will they be recycled in their home as MONOPOLY gaming pieces? Or used as an ornamental display – proof of their felonious minds and activities?

I have no idea what use they would be to a pothunter but I do know the felons took away some of our past and robbed us of past cultural knowledge.

This is not my idea of recycling!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I really love jade and have thought for most of my life that jade has “good luck” properties!
It is a very pretty stone that comes in many different colors.

I have a jade bead necklace of a variety of colors: white, green, black, and coral.

I have rings and bracelets too but those are the typical green jade.

The other day I was feeling rather down and had an Archaeological “DO” to go to. So as a pick me up and to foster that ‘good luck’ myth I wore 2 jade rings, a jade pendant and a jade bracelet.

At this ‘DO’ when the MC was announcing the speaker he said he had late breaking news:

One of us sitting in the audience had just been awarded the Governor’s Public Archaeology Award.

Then he announced my name!

I was and am dumbstruck.

I am sure I over did the wearing of the jade!

Friday, May 13, 2011


On our way to the survey area we passed thru the old, 1866, town of Florence once the Pinal County seat.
The historic district is fun with its Victorian style and ornately painted buildings.

Main Street is old style in that the sidewalks are wood covered. One can imagine hitching posts and spittoons along the walk!

Florence is the ‘home’ of Arizona State Prison and several other detention centers.

Hey, what did that small store sign say?

Prison Outlet Store


Turn around. Enter and park in the big dirt parking lot with tall stacks of baled hay ($6.50/bale).

Outside, a few men in orange jump suits are hosing down the patio and off-loading a semi truck bed with its very small load. No guard is visible.

A small low slung, dark wood building, ala 1880’s cowboy style, greets us.

Inside of the long, bowling alley type room: oil paintings, t-shirts, origami, other art works, loaves of freshly made whole wheat bread and cookies at 99 cents, hand painted cards for all occasions and FREE beets grown in the prison gardens.

We are told the purchase money goes to the prisoner who made the item.

We browse and buy. One orders a specialized license plate. One buys origami and greeting cards.

I buy a white t-shirt with black lettering that reads:

Florence Prison
A Gated Community

To see a picture of the Prison Outlet Store:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recap of Survey

During the last 4 months we, a crew of 4, have relocated, evaluated and surveyed more than 40 prehistoric Hohokam sites.
Read a quick bit about Hohokam. See:

During this time we:

Saw 1 Gila Monster: See:

Relocated 5 ballcourts. See:

Discovered 3 oval mortars (not normal!) See:

Had 1 flat tire: See:

Saw too many jack rabbits to count. See:

Traveled the naked desert floor.

Walked through jumping cholla forests. See:

Saw a pygmy owl in a saguaro: See

Viewed the desert from ridge tops.

Were in boulder strewn mountain canyons with trees in bloom. See:

Saw about six sites of just petroglyphs: See

Saw lots of Hohokam pottery sherds. See:

Were followed by 2 Blackhawk helicopters: See

And had more fun than is legal!

Oh! Did I mention the new racing stripes along my vehicle sides?

Addendum: I tried to click the URLs and they worked for me. I hope they work for you too. I guess if they don't --well just copy and paste! Sorry
but enjoy!