Living in the Desert. Review of nine months at the University of Arizona

OLD MAIN – THE OLDEST BUILDING ON CAMPUS. OLD MAIN – THE OLDEST BUILDING ON CAMPUS.[/caption] I have found life in Tucson very pleasant. The city is located in the Sonoran Desert, less than 100 km from the Mexican border. It has (very) hot summers and mild winters. If it is probably not as vibrant as New York or Boston, Tucson has nevertheless much to offer from the cultural point of view. It has multiple museums for amateurs of art, archaeology, wildlife, natural history, or even aircrafts. Sport events are numerous (Go, Wildcats!), just like concerts and theatre performances, and the annual “Tucson Meet Yourself” festival allows a glimpse into the cultural diversity of the city’s population. But what stunned me the most in Tucson was the environment. The region is gorgeous, and it has amazing fauna and flora. I could not get tired of watching hummingbirds flying around the tree outside my window, and I still find myself stopping my bicycle to observe huge saguaros or blooming prickly pears. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"]Déderix_fig.2 GIANT SAGUARO AND BLOOMING CACTI.[/caption] I came to the University of Arizona to pursue research in Greek archaeology – which some might find odd. Nevertheless, my stay here was an opportunity to learn more about the recent and distant past of the region. Readings and daily interactions with the graduate students with whom I shared an office allowed me to get a little bit more familiar with the Hohokam, the Mogollon, and the Anasazi, for instance. And earlier this month, I was invited by my host professor to join a team of southwestern archaeologists led by Prof. J. Welch (Simon Fraser University) and participate in an archaeological survey in the region of Fort Apache. Over the course of five days, we recorded pottery and lithic tools in the White Mountain Reservation, which was the most perfect way for me to end a fantastic academic year of discovery in Arizona. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"]Déderix_fig.3 HIKING IN THE SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK, TO THE EAST OF TUCSON[/caption] — Dr. Sylviane Déderix, Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Arizona]]>