MARCH 5, 2014

Desert Foothills Chapter AAS presents Dr. Todd Bostwick

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dr. todd bostwickArizona Humanities speaker Dr. Todd W. Bostwick, PH.D., RPA presents a recently created lecture on “Native American Salt Procurement, Use, and Rituals in the American Southwest.” He has a Masters Degree in Anthropology and PH.D. in History from Arizona State University with 35 years of archaeological research experience in the American Southwest. Dr. Bostwick was the Phoenix City Archaeologist at Pueblo Grande Museum for 21 years before retiring in 2010. He is currently the Director of Archaeology at Verde Valley Archaeology Center and Senior Research Archaeologist for PaleoWest Archaeology. He is also a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. Dr. Bostwick wrote and edited numerous articles and books on the American Southwest, including Landscape of the Spirits: Hohokam Rock Art at South Mountain Park published by the University of Arizona Press.

Salt is necessary for human survival and regarded as a valuable trade item throughout human history. For the Maya, salt was considered white gold. In the American Southwest, salt procurement involved dangerous journeys and was closely related to ritual activities and sacred landscapes associated with a deity called Salt Woman. Salt was obtained from Gulf of California beaches, the shores of natural lakes, and mining buried deposits. This presentation discusses several examples of Native American salt procurement sites in Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Nevada. Oral traditions about Salt Woman are summarized and prehistoric tools used for mining salt examined, including numerous artifacts recovered from the Sinagua salt mine in Camp Verde, Arizona.

The general public may attend an Arizona Archaeology Society – Desert Foothills Chapter meeting at no charge, except for the holiday party in December. The AAS-DFC meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May. There are refreshments available at 7 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. usually ending prior to 9 p.m. The meetings are held in the community room (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331. Visit