One of the parts of my work that is difficult to explain is training people to tell the difference between human and non-human bone. So every two years or so, the bioarchaeologists and zooarchaeologist at the Arizona State Museum are invited to do a 2 hour training. I happen to be the zooarch at the museum for the time being, and it was an honor for me to take part. So I packed up a coyote, dog, rabbit, quail, and javelina skeletons as well as some frequently confused fragments, and we headed to the San Xavier District Council Chambers. Above is a picture of one of the dogs we brought in its plastic conservation tent.
If you’d like to know more about telling the difference between human and non-human bone, check out ASM’s site.
I was lucky enough to go on my first visit to the Sonora missions this past spring 2016. It was a short 3-day trip through the Southwestern Mission Research Center, and was the second trip the group led since it re-started tours to Spanish missions in northern Sonora. Concerns about border violence briefly paused the visits.
San Diego de Pitiquito was built in the 1770s by O’odham artisans, and the paintings were likely finished around that time. Below are a few photos of the original painted decorations, which are helpful reminder that missions were often brightly colored. Local history has it that the walls were plastered a plain white in the 20th century and the paintings were re-discovered by accident. There’s a whole story about that.
Here are images of the celestial decoration above the sanctuary, the Queen of Heaven, and an enormous skeleton. You can also see a rooster and the ox representative of St. Luke. Both of these animals were introduced as a result of contact with Europeans that was initiated in Pitiquito in 1694. By the time the church was built, these animals had been around for almost 100 years.
“For in the seemingly little and insignificant things that accumulate to create a lifetime, the essence of our existence is captured.”
James Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten: The Archeology of Early America, 1977, p. 161.
As part of my time in Tucson, I have had the privilege to take part in some awesome events, programs, and discussions. The raison d’être of this blog is to simply curate a few of those things. It seems a shame they should be lost on the corner of a listserv, left as a single bullet on a progress report, or misplaced in a Facebook feed. This is my small effort to find the best, pick them up, brush them off, and present them in my internet collection.