Hello and welcome to the TARL blog!
Here at the Texas Archeological Research Lab we underwent some new and important changes over the course of 2014. A new Director, a new Head of Collections, a new position created for a NAGPRA Specialist and a new sense of commitment to making the archeological collections and associated records available to the university and academic communities, CRM firms and various government entities. Combining new staff, ideas and collections management approaches with the dedicated existing staff, organizational history and long standing position within Texas archeology as a center for research, TARL is moving forward into an exciting new era as an eminent steward of Texas history. The purpose of this blog is to invite the public along with us on this ‘re-commitment’ as we undertake and encourage collections-based projects that will deepen our understanding of the cultural, historical and biological origins of our shared past. We will post information about current and ongoing projects here, provide updates about their progress, introduce you to our staff and students, and give you insight into the deep time and broad cultural landscapes represented in the vast collections curated at TARL. Being that blogs are inherently informal and more conversational, for more thorough information about any of the topics you read about here you should visit our organizational website, http://www.utexas.edu/research/tarl/, and also the comprehensive educational website Texas Beyond History at http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/. The staff here at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory is extremely passionate about Texas archeology, making TARL’s collections available for research, and working with students and the public to expand their understanding of how the collections we steward here inform our understanding of the past, present and future. We look forward to sharing that knowledge and passion with you!
DID YOU KNOW?
The artifact pictured above in this post is a turquoise basketry armband and part of a group of artifacts excavated at Ceremonial Cave. Per Susan Dial, Editor and Project Manager of the virtual museum Texas Beyond History, this artifact is a:
“Unique fiber basketry armband with polished turquoise affixed with pitch. This unique object is from Ceremonial Cave near El Paso, Texas, one of the earliest known shrine caves in the American Southwest. The armband probably dates to around AD 1000 and is believed to relate to the Jornada-Mogollon culture. The object was acquired by Eileen and Burrow Alves in the 1920s, donated to Gila Pueblo Archaeological Foundation of Globe, Arizona, then transferred to the Arizona State Museum, and ultimately transferred to TARL in 1990. The specimen measures ca. 10 cm in diameter . Other pieces recovered from the site included turquoise pendants, beads and other adornments made of exotic shell, and a large assemblage of well-preserved hafted darts and spears . To learn more about Ceremonial Cave and other shrine objects deposited there, see http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/ceremonial/index.html. ”