In an intriguing reconstruction project, restoration archaeologist Allen Denoyer has been experimenting with ancient technology, exploring how the Salado (a neighboring culture contemporaneous with the Hohokam) might have constructed their walls. Check out the "Hands-On Archaeology" article on adobe walls in Southwest Archaeology's Preservation Archaeology blog.
I love Jane Austen's writing and have read and reread her novels for many years. With no word processor to enable quick and easy changes, her books were so well crafted in the early drafts that she could simply write in small changes and pin substantial changes made on separate slips right onto the page.
The Hohokam built many things: great mounds, vast networks of canals, huge buildings, several different kinds of dwellings, work areas, and storage structures. One of the most interesting features that existed throughout Hohokam country is ballcourts. Although the ballgame fell out of favor before the time of my "Tales of the Watermasters" novels, not all of the ballcourts wound up being filled with trash or otherwise repurposed. I use one of the relic ballcourts as a setting for a scene in the first volume, Swallowing the Sun, which should be available for sale in a few months.
Archaeology Southwest has published a summary of what is known about the Hohokam ballcourt. The illustrator, Rob Ciaccio, has taken research and produced his vision of the Hohokam world, much as I have done for my novels.
AD 1275 kicked off a period of change marked by violence and cultural shifts and large-scale movement of people in the Southwest. Archaeologist Karen Gust Schollmeyer has written an interesting summary of that era. The books in my "Tales of the Watermasters" series are set approximately a century later, when the central Arizona valley witnessed still more change.
Ancient vessels that once contained wine were recently discovered in caves in southwestern Sicily.
Sicily is a fascinating place historically and geographically, one of my favorite parts of a trip to Italy and Greece a few years back.
Wine production may have allowed the Sicilians to trade for metal tools in the early Mediterranean maritime trade.
Oh, the places I've been and the people I've seen . . .
Family commitments have kept me from my Knoxville home and work commitments limited the amount of time I could spend on my writing, including this blog.
But my imagination has taken me far away, back to the Gila River valley where my People of Two Rivers live.
Those sites in the Phoenix and Tucson areas where I used to go to do research undisturbed have become tourist attractions. Where I once would be alone as I wandered taking pictures, on this latest trip I had to wait in line to get a photograph that didn't have someone's head in it. Or even more disruptive, a vehicle coming past or a leafblower running in the background of a video.
Yet the fact that people are interested in these places is a great thing.
More pictures and words will come later, once I am back in Knoxville and have real Internet access again. Thanks for listening.
The first draft is done!
It took me two weeks to outline and two months to write this initial 80,000 words, the fastest any book has ever come together for me.
Now I'll put it away for a few months and go back to "Swallowing the Sun."
The Akimel O'odham and Tohono O'odham make magnificent baskets using the same materials and probably (judging by recovered Hohokam pottery) the same patterns as those of the Hohokam. Here is a sampling of basket patterns and types. The Smithsonian has a collection, including the plants used to make these baskets.
I had my mother teach me to read when I was four, and I've never stopped. Now I can play with words all day long... it's the best job in the world.
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