archaeological monuments

GOP leaders want some national monument designations revoked

PORTLAND, Maine — Republican leaders in Maine and Utah are asking President Trump to step into uncharted territory and rescind national monument designations made by his predecessor.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 doesn’t give the president power to undo a designation, and no president has ever taken such a step. But Trump isn’t like other presidents.

Then-president Barack Obama used his power under the act to permanently preserve more land and water using national monument designations than any other president. The land is generally off-limits to timber harvesting, mining and pipelines, and commercial development.

Obama created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine last summer on 87,500 acres of donated forestland. The expanse includes part of the Penobscot River and stunning views of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain. In Utah, Obama created Bears Ears National Monument on 1.3 million acres of land that’s sacred to Native Americans and is home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings. Read more.

“Interno del Colosseo” by Giovanni Battista Altadonna

Italian, 1850s

albumen silver print from glass negative

Metropolitan Museum of Art

npr.org
Trump To Sign Executive Order That Could Shrink National Monuments
The Interior Secretary says, under the policy, his department will review protective designations since 1996 of 100,000 acres or more, particularly their size.

Oh hell no.  NO no no no no no no.

Monuments under threat:

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by President Clinton in 1996. (1.7 million acres).

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (1 million acres).

Giant Sequoia National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (327,769 acres).

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (279,568 acres).

Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (194,450 acres).

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (175,160 acres).

Ironwood Forest National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (128,917 acres).

Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (486,149 acres).

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (377,346 acres).

Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (204,107 acres).

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and expanded by President Barack Obama in 2016, (89.6 million acres).

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in California, Hawaii and Alaska, proclaimed by Bush in 2008 (4 million acres).

Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (60.9 million acres).

Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 and enlarged by Obama in 2014. (55.6 million acres).

Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (8.6 million acres).

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2013. (242,555 acres).

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2014 (496,330 acres).

Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (703,585 acres).

Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (330,780 acres).

Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (3.1 million acres).

Mojave Trails National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.6 million acres).

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.4 million acres).

Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (296,937 acres).

Sand to Snow National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (154,000 acres).

(stats from USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/26/24-national-monuments-threatened-trumps-executive-order/100925418/)

Happy Memorial Day! 

Today we celebrate those men and women who have bravely given their lives for our nation. A recent research expedition to Midway Atoll in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway and honored the legacy of the brave men who helped turn the tide in the Pacific during the battle. 

Scientists explored sunken aircraft associated with the battle, adding an important maritime heritage component to our understanding of the broader history of World War II in the Pacific. They also investigated the role shipwrecks and debris may play in harboring invasive species in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Here, diver Brian Hauk sets an invasive species quadrat on the stern of the USS Macaw

(Image courtesy of Brett Seymour, Exploring the Sunken Heritage of Midway Atoll expedition)

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Visiting the New Bears Ears National Monument

In an area as vast and diverse as the new Bears Ears National Monument in Southeastern Utah, it’s hard to know where to start in exploring. Here are some ideas for capturing a sampling of what the new National Monument offers.

On the Northern end, take state route 211 into spectacular Indian Creek Canyon. Stop at Newspaper Rock, a large and spectacular petroglyph panel with carvings dating back to 2,000 years. Further along, the canyon opens up into a wide valley rimmed by Navajo Sandstone. The iconic “Sixshooter” spires soon become visible. Look for rock climbers scaling the narrow cracks in the vertical Navajo Sandstone.

Further south, Take Highway 261 and 95 onto Cedar Mesa. The twin Bears Ears rise just north of the mesa. This is one of the most significant archaeological regions anywhere, with ancient pueblos tucked into endless canyons. Visiting many of the pueblos require planning ahead as they include hikes and some also require visitor permits. However, a view of the spectacular Butler Wash Ruin is a one hour round trip hike from a developed trailhead while the Mule Canyon Ruin is located along the highway.

Driving south along the rolling pinion uplands of Cedar Mesa does not prepare one for the descent of Highway 261 via the “Moki Dugway”. The route drops precipitously with views of Monument Valley in the distance. Similar landforms to Monument Valley’s famous formations are found along a 17 mile unpaved loop drive beginning at the base of the Dugway which traverses the Valley of the Gods.

A final stop along the southern border of the monument is also a must see. The viewpoint at Goosenecks State Park takes in a spectacular sequence of tight and colorful meanders of the San Jun River carved into the sandstone cliffs.

Many parts of the new national monument are remote and there are no services. Make sure to stock up with supplies in Monticello, Blanding or Bluff which all offer a full array of services as well as accommodations.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico preserves 2000 years of archaeological treasures. Visitors can learn the incredible story of the Mogollon Culture and see the fascinating cliff structures they left behind. It’s a great experience for the mind and the eyes. Photo by Janice Wei, National Park Service.

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Archaeological Museum of Thebes:

Grave stele. Hellenistic period and used subsequently in the1st century B.C, possibly by members of the same family. Found at Trikalitis’ plot in Thebes. Preserved on one side, a male portrait with the inscription “Theodoros Farewell” (ΘΕΟΔΩΡΟΣ ΧΑΙΡΕ). On the other side, without a representation, the inscription “Theodoros Worthy” (ΘΕΟΔΩΡΟΣ ΧΡΗΣΤΟΣ)

This grave stele was discovered recently, and it is one of the newest additions in the exhibition of the museum. That was the main reason for wanting to visit the museum as soon as it opened. I am in a bit of a quest to document works of ancient greek painting. I first saw the portrait of “Theodoros” on an article, in a blurry photo, and then at the online guidebook of the museum. Before this, the only works of ancient greek painting I had seen up close, were the funerary stelai at Pella, and some designs on tombs at Thessaloniki. A few days ago I finally saw this portrait in person and I was elated. Theodoros looks so alive- I guess that was the point. 

Last summer I was in for a surpise when I visited the Archaeological Museum of Volos. I had seen a picture of another painted funerary stele with a woman lying in bed dying after having given birth. The quality of the photo was not very good, but the stele was to be found in a greek museum. I drove all the way to Volos just so I could see this stele, and I found dozens of them with vivid scenes and bright colors. Now there are news of two Macedonian tombs with beautiful paintings opening to the public. I think finally ancient greek painting starts gaining the attention it deserves.

Enjoy the sites and monuments of Greece

Greece is home to many archaeological sites and monuments and their distinctive prestige and charm reflects the various periods that have combined, through history, to produce such a rich culture.

For the modern day visitor, these landmarks offer a superb opportunity to journey through this exceptional mosaic of culture and history that have left an indelible mark on every region of the country.

Feeling the wanderlust? See more beautiful things from Greece here.

Archaeological Museum of Dion:

Funerary stele depicting a young hunter with his dog. From Kitros. (4th century B.C)

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#TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick Continues with Day Trips Near the Vegas Strip.

About two hours from Las Vegas in a very remote, lightly populated area is the Basin and Range National Monument. It is truly an iconic American landscape. The vast, rugged landscape redefines one’s notions of distance and space and offers great landscape photography opportunities among its vast valleys surrounded by rugged mountains. The Monument preserves the legacies of 13,000 years of culture and the White River Narrows and Mount Irish Archaeological Districts, which include large concentrations of prehistoric rock art. During the late 19th century, Basque and other ranchers brought sheep and cattle into the valleys, and ranching remains an important part of the local culture to this day.  This is a very remote area with no visitor facilities and limited cell phone coverage, so come prepared.

Photo tip: Learn to use a digital editing program.  There are many on the market that will work perfectly well for most basic photo adjustments.  Great photographers like Ansel Adams spent much more time in the darkroom than they did in the field. Now we have the advantage of doing the same types of adjustments digitally. Adjusting contrast, light balance and other basic fine-tuning will make your images pop – the key is to be subtle and not overdo it.  I always shoot “RAW” images and do the all image adjustments myself. Most people who think adjustments are “cheating” don’t realize that if they don’t shoot RAW files, their camera is doing many adjustments automatically and they are giving up personal artistic control. 

Check out our @esri Nevada daytrips multimedia storymap for more stunning photos, videos, helpful links and maps of the area: mypubliclands.tumblr.com/traveltuesdaynevada.