Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bandelier National Monument and Santa Fe

The end of fieldwork means that we can all move on the bigger and better things -- namely, sitting at a desk and analyzing stuff that you picked up out in the field. Honestly, not my favorite thing to do -- never has been since field school -- but, of course, just as important as the fieldwork. (Just not as fun, imho.)

So that weekend, before we hit the analysis head on, we took some time to play at Bandelier and Santa Fe. In retrospect, it's a good thing we went when we did, since the Las Conchas Fire has since shut down the Santa Fe Forest, including adjacent Bandelier. Santa Fe was a real delight, having seen "La Conquistadora" at the cathedral and wandering the museums (the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum). Along with having been remiss in my blog-writing duties, I've been remiss with my New Mexico restaurant Yelps -- so, more to come, shortly.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chaco Canyon and Tovakwa/Amoxiumqua

My second trip to Chaco. Like the dodo that I am, I forgot my boots and went hiking around Chaco Canyon in Tevas. Tevas + bad ankles = estúpida. I spent the next week limping around Tovakwa/Amoxiumqua trying to accomplish archaeology but succeeding in RICE-ing (rest, ice, compress, elevate) the ankle instead. :(

For the limited amount of time we were able to do fieldwork, I'd say we got a lot accomplished. We surveyed using an RTK (radio working and all) and found its strengths and limitations. Portions of the site were also surveyed using GPR. We brought in a total station to map in a few of our problem areas and did artifact collection with a few people from Jemez on the last couple days. Finally, some productive field time! I didn't mind the long days (or the bumpy-as-hell two hour ride in to the site) as long as we were hauling ass in the field.

If there is anything I've learned, it's that loud classic rock makes the day go by much, much faster.

On the last day of fieldwork, we were pretty tuckered out -- especially Archaeology Pup, who undoubtedly worked the hardest out of any of us.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The OTHER other desert cities

The title for this blog is taken from the signs I'd see along the I-10 in Southern California on my way towards Palm Springs. This blog is not about those cities per se, or about the band, or the book, or the off-Broadway play. This blog is about ... ... other desert cities. The ones I like to visit, the ones where I like to work, take pictures, eat, sleep, and play. These days, those cities are in New Mexico.

I've been remiss in my blog writing for three main reasons: 1) my internet connection, until recently, was non-existent; 2) we got the RTK up and running with one week left before we had to send it back to Cambridge, so it was virtually non-stop work from dawn to dusk; 3) I've been working out in my head what to actually write about. Do I write about archaeology? Do I write about my non-project life and adventures in NM? Do I write about my first few baby steps into ethnographic work? What is sacrosanct and what is fair game? Will anyone be interested, and if so, who?

I suspect these answers all fall somewhere in between and beyond the issues listed here. Blogging for the public is one thing -- but what do I publish for public consumption with regard to my work? I'm finding out it's not as easy as simply not writing anything that would offend or upset other people. The tricky part lies in determining just what those things are. I'm very much looking forward to the PAIG Symposium at the next SAAs, as well as future dialogue about blogging and archaeology.

Meanwhile, it's time to play catch up. Here are photos from the sites of Patokwa and Astialakwa:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

RTK schmar-TK

Having a blog about archaeological adventures over the summer seemed like a cool idea when you think that you're going to get work done. The RTK GPS unit that we're trying to get up and running is giving us a world of trouble. For some reason, the radio isn't transmitting or receiving signals the way it's supposed to, and so our work has been stymied.

Techmology 1 | Archamachology 0

Speaking of scoreboards, at least the Bruins came back and the Stanley Cup Final Series is tied 2-2. That's the only solace I have out here.

Earlier in the week we visited one of the sites in the area which, if we ever get the radio to cooperate, we will map. It's one site (out of many) on top of a mesa and it's a brutal hike, especially when you've been sitting on your butt for the good part of the school year reading and writing papers. Regardless, the view is worth it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Real World: Jemez Pueblo Edition

"This is the true story of seven four strangers graduate students picked [by the project director] to live in a house and have their lives taped crawl to the top of a mesa through the midday sun and do some mapping. Find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real complaining under their breath. The Real World..."

Pics of the student house:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I love Albuquerque.

I really, really do. It was like driving into Rancho Cucamonga. There was a Panda Express and a P.F. Chang's off the I-40, and the Southwestern-motif-ed overpasses looked like they'd just been built in the past few years. So, heck yeah, I could live in Albuquerque for two months. I could live in Albuquerque for a long, long time, I think.

I watched the transformation of the changing landscape go from green to yellow to brown and to red and then there was Jemez Pueblo. After picking up groceries for the forty minute drive into the pueblo, I headed up, up up in altitude -- Jemez Pueblo sits at over a mile high in elevation. When I got in, it was dark, and a fire in Arizona had flooded the Rio Grande Valley with smoke. I could hardly see to the left or the right of me. The house sits at the top of a steep hill, and I could make out very little of the road. I was exhausted and fell dead asleep.

Waking up the next morning, I felt just like Frodo waking up in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring -- you know, after he totally just got his ass kicked by the Nazgûl and he miraculously wakes up in Rivendell. I'd gotten my ass kicked by the road trip, but I woke up healed and in beautiful, heavenly surroundings.

(okay. maybe not just like frodo. i'll post pictures of the house later.)

My first Friday in was my day to relax and to check out the area. I journeyed out with the other project members to Jemez Springs to check out the area. First was Giusewa, the Jemez State Monument.

Oscar Wilbur Hammer (a.k.a. "archaeology puppy"), who is a Boston terrier and comprises 1/2 of the Jemez Pueblo Student House Zoo (Sonny the Sun Conure being the second half), did well for being out in the sun (as could be expected of a puppy); although, truth be told, at the end of the short walk through the monument, he had to be airlifted out (i.e., carried out) by his momma.

archy pup fail
Next was Soda Dam. Oscar did much better and proved himself to be quite the brave rock climber.

We went to Battleship Rock next. Yup. Looked like a battleship ... if you used a healthy helping of imagination. Little did we know that it held warm springs on a mile-long hike in, and there was even a waterfall at the end of two miles. Well, we'll save that for another day.


My advisor came by and took us out for dinner out in the big city of Jemez Springs. The Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon was bustling and it had lots more character than I thought it would have. I wasn't thrilled with their eponymous house special, but I like to remain optimistic. I'm sure there's something else on the menu that will rock my socks, 'cause NM is the land of enchantment. I wouldn't want to accuse them of false advertising.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Notes Photos from the road