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A Portrait of the Southwestern Archaeology Web Site

Brian Kenney and Matthias Giessler

The Southwestern Archaeology (SWA) World Wide Web site was first conceived of in February 1995 by the present writers. We initially met over the Internet exchanging email about a common interest in southwestern archaeology. Out of this correspondence grew the idea for a web site that might serve as an information resource for professional and avocational archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians studying the varied cultures and landscapes of the American Southwest.

Although we try hard to make the information on SWA as accessible and informative as possible, our own sense of organization may not be entirely transparent to the casual visitor. On SWA's opening page, we briefly state the scope of our interests and provide a series of links that lead to more detailed information. The following provides a brief tour of our site.

At the top of the opening screen, we link to a page of health and safety tips for archaeologists and anthropologists working in the Southwest. In addition to links to other web sites, this page features Portable Document Format (PDF) files on the Hantavirus, tick-borne diseases, bats and public health, and trench safety, for example.

Another page explains at some length the goals of the SWA site. In general, we try to provide relevant information to and connect people interested in the archaeology, anthropology, and history of the region. To make the site as accessible and informative as possible, we solicit input, submissions, data, and criticisms from visitors to our site. To that end, we publish a page that shows the many ways in which one can contribute. We encourage you to use this page; contributions help to widen the site's scope. Because the webmasters both live in Arizona, in many instances the SWA site is Arizona-centric, despite the fact that we have every intention to serve the entire region.

We also offer extensive information on the Annual Pecos Conference. We publish Pecos Conference papers and talks and house the Pecos T-shirt designs archive. Recently, we put up conference and registration information for the 1996 Pecos Conference held in the Coconino National Forest north of Flagstaff, Ariz. We hope to provide 1997 Pecos Conference details as soon as they are available.

SWA also mirrors the Southwestern Archaeology Special Interest Group (SASIG) on AzTeC, which is a free, community-based, text-only Internet access provider serving Phoenix, Tucson, and other communities in Arizona. SASIG is an electronic bulletin board of messages, including those sent via the SWA mailing list. Members of the community, students of prehistory, and avocational and professional archaeologists are encouraged to post appropriate questions, messages, and information about southwestern archaeology, prehistory, and history. Over the past year, we have posted more than 600 messages to the SASIG. Currently, the SWA mailing list includes over 275 members and is growing steadily. Many of our members tell us that they redistribute select SWA messages to colleagues within their organizations and agencies. In this way, SWA effectively reaches many more people than just those signed up to receive the SASIG email.

Since one of our main goals is to serve as a nexus for professional and avocational archaeologists, we try to make information available that allows people in the field to find and contact one another on the Internet. Apart from our SWA mailing list, which publishes the members' names, professions, and email addresses, we provide addresses for archaeological consultants with Arizona State Museum permits, the Arizona Archaeology Advisory Commission membership, archaeological societies and newsletters, and regional legislators.

At present, SWA also provides links to more than 1,000 other web sites, most of them relevant to southwestern archaeology and some dealing with broader archaeological topics. We have subdivided SWA information according to geographic and political regions: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Lower Colorado River, Trans-Pecos, and Mexico. Pages for each region list a great number of resources, including both primary data residing on our server and relevant off-site links. Among the primary data we provide for these regions are:

We think the Internet will be a useful medium for communication and information exchange among professional and avocational archaeologists. We always welcome substantive contributions of information that can be shared with the public.

Brian W. Kenny is environmental program manager and anthropologist with the Maricopa County Department of Transportation, Phoenix, Ariz. Matthias Giessler is director of Internet Services, College of Education, Technology-Based Learning and Research, Arizona State University, Tempe.

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