Mar 302005

ABQjournal: Hike Through Diablo Canyon Area Spotlights Early Human Presence in North America By Patrick Miller, For the Journal

WHAT: “12,000 Years of Santa Fe History” — hikes led by The New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies
WHEN: Periodically through Oct. 15
WHERE: Santa Fe area and northern Rio Grande Valley
HOW MUCH: $45 for Friends of Archaeology members; $55 for the general public. For information, including dates and destinations, contact the Office of Archaeological Studies at 827-6343.

On the windswept mesa overlooking Diablo Canyon, near the city of Santa Fe’s Buckman well field, are some of the earliest signs of human existence in North America. Shiny flecks of obsidian sparkle in the afternoon sun; a blanched petroglyph gazes from the smooth face of a boulder.

Of all the sites where Charles Hannaford, an archaeologist for the state’s Office of Archaeological Studies, and his colleague Steve Post lead public hikes, this one stands apart.

It’s a very unusual site, explains Hannaford, because it dates back 10,000 years— to Paleoindian times. Paleoindian sites are more common at lower elevations, says Hannaford, and the state didn’t even know this site existed until the late 1970s, when an amateur artifact collector was arrested for pillaging the site. The collector relinquished the 900 artifacts that he plucked from the area and gave archaeologists detailed notes about the site that he had compiled over two years.

The man’s work destroyed the archaeological value of the site, Hannaford says as he gathers the group in front of a stone structure. “There is no context.” …

Hannaford said the predominant migration theory holds that people trickled into North America around 12,000 years ago from Siberia over a now-submerged thousand-mile-wide land bridge in the Bering Sea. A more recent, competing theory points to what Hannaford called a possible maritime route along the coastlines of North America. This theory suggests wayfarers roamed the Pacific coast as far south as Chile instead of moving immediately into the continent’s interior.

A combination of both is the most likely explanation of Paleoindian presence in North America, he said.

“The various data suggests that there were multiple migrations. Linguists feel that there were probably three languages, and geneticists suggest four to five founding lineages,” he said. “Today’s Native Americans are descendants of these migrations.”

Regardless of how Paleoindians wound up at the Diablo Canyon site, the fact that they settled here is strange, he said. The area would probably not have been particularly rich with big game, which Paleoindians pursued across plains like those in Eastern New Mexico, Hannaford said.

“There were probably herd fragments here, but they may not have been hunting here at all. It may have been ceremonial. That’s one of the mysteries of this site,” he said.

Nor, said Post, do archaeologists know why these ancient people left. Perhaps as the weather got warmer, streams and arroyos became unreliable and without a steady water supply, animals drifted away. Perhaps the human population began to dwindle.

Post speculated that once the site was abandoned, it may have lain untouched until the 1200s, when descendants of those early residents settled in the area.


 Posted by at 9:59 pm
Mar 282005

ABQjournal Opinion

Time To Revisit Wolf Boundary Restrictions

In the San Mateo Mountains, southwest of Socorro, leg traps are being set for a pair of Mexican gray wolves. It’s not because they’ve developed a taste for beef. In fact, a spokesman for the New Mexico Game and Fish Department has said the two are living off natural prey like deer. And it’s not because the wolves have taken to hassling or threatening people. There have been no such reports.

Instead, these wolves are guilty of roaming outside a political boundary they can’t see. It’s a boundary that program rules require they stay behind.

That’s a tall order because wolves naturally roam. But rules are rules. This rule, however, has been heavily scrutinized by both government biologists and independent biologists charged with evaluating the overall health of the wolf recovery effort.

“Present recovery zone boundaries are inadequate and are impeding wolf recovery,” an interagency field team concluded as part of a five-year review of the program earlier this year. That was also one of the findings of a distinguished panel of independent scientists in 2001.

Despite these findings, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to propose a federal rule change on the boundaries.

It stands to reason that, as the wild wolf population steadily rises — as it has — established packs crowd out newer packs. This has been especially evident on the Arizona side of the recovery zone where wolves are initially released.

When wolves wander outside the permissible territory, they’re marked for capture, which has often resulted in injuries, even death, to these critically endangered animals. Packs often split up due to the stress. To date, more than one-third of wolf removals have been due to the current boundary rule.

Fish and Wildlife should follow through on its own experts’ recommendations. If wolves become habituated to livestock, or if they threaten humans, they absolutely should be removed to remote wilderness. But as their population grows, the invisible political boundaries also need to expand.


 Posted by at 2:44 pm
Mar 232005

ABQjournal: Traps Are Set for Wayward Wolves
By Tania Soussan, Journal Staff Writer

Traps are set for wolves that have twice chosen to make their home in the San Mateo Mountains — apparently good wolf habitat, but outside the official boundaries of where wolves are allowed.

The endangered Mexican gray wolves will be recaptured and removed from the mountains southwest of Socorro, where they have been living since last October without killing livestock or causing other problems.

The interagency wolf reintroduction program allows wolves to set up territories only within the boundaries of a federally designated recovery area. The San Mateo pair is outside that area.

“The only thing they’re guilty of is walking across an arbitrarily drawn boundary,” said Craig Miller of Defenders of Wildlife. …

The pair was first captured from the San Mateos last August. They were re-released in the Gila Wilderness in October but soon returned to the San Mateos.

“They seem to have settled in over there and they’re making a living off deer,” Williams said. “They seem to like it in the San Mateos.”

The current problem with the pair highlights a years-long controversy over the boundary rule. An independent team of scientists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s own biologists have recommended changing it. …

Miller said the agency is emphasizing politics over biology and is catering to the livestock industry.

Moving wolves is traumatic, especially during the denning season, Miller said.

The female is likely to be pregnant but not to have denned yet, said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Vicki Fox.

Once caught, the wolves will be returned to captivity and possibly released later near the opposite end of the recovery area in Arizona.

Meanwhile, the reintroduction team plans to release a separate pair of wolves in the Gila Wilderness this spring to make up for the loss of a breeding pair in the wild and to increase genetic diversity.

There are about 50 Mexican gray wolves free in Arizona and New Mexico.

The San Mateos seem great wolf territory. Ranchers should not have veto power over public lands. mjh

San Mateo Mountains, New Mexico — Photos
August, 2004


 Posted by at 2:57 pm
Mar 222005

“Where I live … perfect strangers … turn and say to each other, without embarrassment or hesitation: isn’t it beautiful!

“Indeed it is. We are gifted wherever we look….

“We know there are more people coming, every year, to our personal paradise. No one, however, has yet suggested we close the bridge. And not only because of the commercial gain realized from tourism, but, I think, out of a sense of fairness — what we have in plenty, and all year, surely should be available to everyone, at least for a while. Moreover, there is always the hope and the chance that the astonishing natural beauty here will open the heart, of both tourist and resident, to a new striving after virtue: such immutable suggestive power the natural world has always had, and offers to each of us.”

From Long Life, Essays and Other Writings
Landscape by Mary Oliver, from Dream Work

Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about

spiritual patience? Isn’t it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?

Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.

Every morning, so far, I’m alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky—as though

all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.

The Writer’s Almanac – MARCH 21 – 27, 2005

Poet: Mary Oliver – All poems of Mary Oliver


 Posted by at 2:56 pm
Mar 222005

ABQjournal: Letters to the Editor

Thunderbolt in Motion

THE MUCH-CRITICIZED state motto “crescit eundo” is actually a quotation from the first-century B.C. Latin poet Lucretius in his epic poem De Rerum Natura, “On The Nature of Things,” book 6.

In context it refers to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes. Whoever chose that as a state motto in the old frontier days obviously knew the classics.

Once one realizes that the motto is comparing the state of New Mexico to a mighty thunderbolt flashing across the sky, it gives a whole new meaning to the expression.

Professor of classics, University of New Mexico


 Posted by at 11:19 am
Mar 212005

Sun Earth Day 2005 – Ancient Observatories

Satellite Image Gallery of Ancient Observatories Developed for Sun-Earth Day 2005

In honor of Sun-Earth Day 2005, Space Imaging has created a special IKONOS satellite image gallery of 13 ancient observatories around the world. Known for their ability to precisely align with the sun, moon and stars, these observatories are scientific marvels — then and now. The IKONOS satellite imagery captures the beauty of these ancient structures and allows viewers to see the architecture in relationship to its surroundings, creating a wonderful visual experience and providing a way to recognize Sun-Earth Day.

The development of the gallery coincides with the vernal (Spring) equinox
in the northern hemisphere, taking place on March 20, 2005. The equinox
occurs twice per year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and when
night and day are nearly the same length. Space Imaging designed its Ancient
Observatories satellite gallery as an adjunct to the NASA and Exploratorium
multimedia project “Ancient Observatories: Timeless Knowledge,” which is aimed
at students and museums and focuses on the link between ancient and modern
The 13 satellite images are available on Space Imaging’s Web site at

* Abu Simbel, Egypt
* Angkor Wat, Cambodia
* Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
* Casa Rinconada, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
* Dzibilchaltun, Yucatan, Mexico
* Easter Island, Chile
* Hovenweep National Monument, Utah
* Machu Picchu, Peru
* Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico
* Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
* Stonehenge, Great Britain
* Teotihuacan, Mexico
* Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

All of the images were taken from 423 miles in space as IKONOS moved over
the Earth in a north-to-south orbit at 17,000 mph. Users will be able to zoom
in and out of images and explore every detail of these historic landmarks.

Space Imaging


 Posted by at 2:54 pm
Mar 152005

Mountain dwellers live longer than people in lowland areas

Mountain dwellers live longer than people in lowland areas, finds research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. …

[The researchers] point out that living at moderately high altitude produces long term physiological changes in the body to enable it to cope with lower levels of oxygen, and that this, combined with the exertion required to walk uphill regularly on rugged terrain, could give the heart a better work-out.


 Posted by at 9:10 pm
Mar 142005

ABQjournal: Hantavirus, Plague May Start Early Because of Wet Winter By Jackie Jadrnak, Journal Staff Writer

Wet weather that has brought joy to skiers’ and gardeners’ hearts can have a down side. The moisture helps plants flourish that, in turn, nourish wild critters that sometimes carry diseases that can be passed to humans.

Reports of Hantavirus seem to rise after a wet winter and fall after a dry one….

Hantavirus isn’t the only concern. Health officials are on the lookout for what the mild, wet winter might portend for other animal- or insect-carried diseases.

Reports of plague often rise after such weather, although the effect can be delayed a year, Ettestad said. In other words, this winter might mean more plague cases in 2006. …

And it’s anyone’s guess what the weather will mean for West Nile virus….


 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Mar 142005

ABQjournal: Plan Would Close Some SF Forest Roads By Adam Rankin, Journal Staff Writer

The Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest has a problem: too many open roads — 1,860 miles of them, or about 2.7 miles of road per square mile of forest, to be exact.

That density, the highest of any Southwestern national forest, puts the district out of compliance with its management plan, which seeks to keep road densities under 2.5 miles per square mile of forest for optimal watershed health.

“The primary concern is that we simply have more roads than we can maintain, and we have more roads than we need,” said Coyote Ranger District resource planner John Phillips.


 Posted by at 3:22 pm
Mar 132005

Aspen Times News for Aspen Colorado – News

Ralston is the first climber to complete the Colorado fourteener winter solo project (by a count of 54, 59 or whatever). And he’s just the third climber to reach the top of all the fourteeners in calendar winter (from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox). …

Ralston started the project seven years ago, during the winter of 1998-99. He climbed 45 of the fourteeners, including all of the Elk Range fourteeners in the 2002-03 season, before the accident in Utah’s Canyonlands in the spring of 2003 cost him his right wrist and hand. He bagged two peaks last winter and the final 12 since this December, including the privately owned Culebra, wearing a 10-pound suit of plate-mail ice because of a storm.


 Posted by at 12:01 pm
Mar 112005

National Park Service’s Park of the Week. At the moment it is Bandelier National Monument.

“It is the grandest thing I ever saw,” proclaimed Adolph F. Bandelier as he stood at the rim of Frijoles (free-HOH-lace) Canyon in 1880. The grand thing to which he referred was the remains of dwellings of the area’s earlier inhabitants, the Ancestral Pueblo people. Today, hundreds of thousands of people a year visit these dwellings; and, descendents of the Ancestral Pueblo people live in nearby pueblo communities along the Rio Grande.

[original tip from Silicon Heights Software]


 Posted by at 1:05 pm
Feb 282005

ABQjournal: Pueblo San Marcos Once a Thriving Trade Hub By Patrick Miller, For the Journal

From about 1350 to 1680, more than a half-dozen similarly sized pueblos spanned the basin. San Marcos was the largest, and its 2,000-room village was probably the valley’s economic powerhouse, according to Mark Michel, president of The Archaeological Conservancy, an Albuquerque-based organization that now owns most of the site.

Spread over about 60 acres on a bluff overlooking the San Marcos Arroyo, the pueblo thrived thanks to its lucrative trade in turquoise and distinctive lead-glazed ceramic pottery.

“San Marcos is only one of two places in the New World where it was developed. The other was Honduras,” Michel said. …

Passed by Congress last year, the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act is the first step toward what Michel hopes will be a long-range plan to preserve the Galisteo Basin’s most important sites, most of which are on private land. …

The new law designates 24 sites in the basin. “It sets up a framework for protecting them in a public and private partnership,” Michel said. “It does allow the federal government to acquire sites from willing landowners.”

But Congress has yet to fund the bill. Michel said his group is asking for $2.5 million to fully implement the act. …

Regardless of how the pueblos withered, there is no doubt the Galisteo Basin is a national treasure unlike any other, Michel said as he stood on a recently excavated mound of earth. The pueblos were among the largest in what would become the United States far surpassing the size of settlements in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park or Mesa Verde National Park.

To schedule a free tour of Pueblo San Marcos, contact The Archaeological Conservancy at (505) 266-1540.
- – -

UNM – Quantum Fall 1999 – San Marcos Pueblo
The Secrets of San Marcos Pueblo by Michael Padilla
UNM archaeologists use old and new technologies to uncover answers to questions about an ancient Pueblo.


 Posted by at 1:59 pm