(Many thanks to Mark Evans my indomitable editor for helping me finally get this together and ready to publish. In the future, digital Neanderthal that I am notwithstanding, I’ll try and manage better on my own. MBS)
Success, by my own standards at least, in my other writing (ReTired Tucson Teacher) has encouraged me to venture back in time to my first profession: archaeology. I spent several years working as an archaeologist back in the 70s and then as I moved into education I continued to dabble in the field both figuratively and in fact. While I would like to say that I enjoyed the scientific investigation and thrill of discovery but, truth is, I just loved getting dirty.
My intent in these articles is to take you places you may be interested in seeing. Most of you will probably never get to these places in person. If you are a professional archaeologist you have probably already been to most of them so it may not be of that much interest to you. But I will highlight some of my favorite archaeological sites that are off the well-beaten, asphalt path or gravel path, okay, barely recognizable marks of tire tracks in the dirt; and in doing so I hope to convey to the interested layman or the involved avocational archaeologist, some of the wonder I feel upon arriving at places of storied history and less storied prehistory for the first time.
For twenty years I worked for Pima College. Part of the time it was as an archaeologist working in a lab analyzing archaeological finds. But for most of those two decades I was a teacher in community service classes and a tour guide to various archaeological and anthropological sites in the southwest. I described the job as going to the places I liked to go to and taking other people with me. It was the best second job ever!
Most of my tours were localized in Arizona and New Mexico though I also visited places in Colorado and Utah. Occasionally I would even venture across the border into Mexico. Usually I would be gone for three to five days staying in motels near to where we were going. I got to know some of the best restaurants in towns like Gallup and Chinle. And to answer your question, “Yes there are some!” I also got to know a lot of great people along the way and I will share some of my memories of them. Come along for the ride if you like, I’m going places that I like to go and you are welcome to join me.