Docent really 'digs' archaeology


February 17, 2010

Shelley Rasmussen drives 50 miles each way for her one-day-a-week job – and she gets no pay.

But she wouldn’t trade her commute for anything. She’s doing what she loves most: helping people learn more about archaeology. Download Full Image

Rasmussen, a Wickenburg resident, is a docent at ASU’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center. She drives to the DVRAC every Tuesday to lead tours or do whatever else comes along.

It truly is a labor of love for Rasmussen, who says she is an “avocational archaeologist.”

Her relationship with DVRAC is not a new one, however. She was keeping watch over the site even before there was a DVRAC as a site steward for Arizona Historic Preservation.

“When I heard it was going to become rock art center I went to Peter Welsh (the first director) and asked if he would need docents. I wanted to help out if I could.”

Rasmussen says rock art is one of her passions. “I don’t have a degree. What got me interested in archaeology was working with Pueblo Grande Museum. I was trained there to be a docent – I did tours and archaeology hikes for them for many years.”

Rasmussen’s car could, perhaps, navigate its own way down Deer Valley Road. “The DVRAC is like home because I’ve been there so long,” Rasmussen said. “It’s something very special. It’s one of the major archeological sites that hasn’t been impacted by growth and development.

“It’ a way of preserving a very important part of the past. Actually there were three prehistoric cultures there. The rock art tell us that – there are 3 three different styles there.”

Though Rasmussen is thrilled that the rock art at Hedgpeth Hills is safe, she has a broader dream. “I would like to save every archeological site in the world. It’s a great loss to see houses constructed on any land that might have archaeological information. We always learn more about prehistoric cultures when any excavation is going on. We never stop learning.”

One way to save the past is to give it to the future. For Rasmussen, that means teaching the younger generations about rock art and its significance.

“It’s the children,” she said. “I love working with the children, helping them learn respect for these archaeological sites.”

Ezugha, Bethke named ASU Athletes of the Week


February 17, 2010

Women's track and field jumper Constance Ezugha has been named ASU's Female Athlete of the Week for the week ending February 20th. Her solid performance in the long-jump has placed her 8th overall (a jump of 6.26m) on ASU's all-time list. She passed last week's athlete of the week winner, Christabel Nettey, who now sits with the ninth best jump. The Sun Devils will send several athletes to Flagstaff once again next week as they will compete in the NAU Tune-up on Friday, February 19. One day later, the Sun Devil program will play host to the Diablo Relays at Sun Angel Stadium, which is an all-comers meet.

Ezugha won the long jump at the NAU Invitational in Flagstaff on Saturday with a mark of 6.26m (20-06.50), which placed her eighth on the school's all-time list and 13th in the NCAA so far this year. Her mark, which provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Indoor Championships next month, is the best in the nation among freshmen and makes her one of only two rookies to record a national qualifying mark (the other is her Sun Devil teammate, Christabel Nettey). Download Full Image

Men's track & field runner Brandon Bethke has been named ASU's Male Athlete of the Week for the week ending February 20th. In his track & field season debut, Bethke set a new-school record in the 3,000m run, with a time of 7:54.27. This is Brandon's third athlete of the week award on the season, having one two already in cross country. The Sun Devils will send several athletes to Flagstaff once again next week as they will compete in the NAU Tune-up on Friday, February 19. One day later, the Sun Devil program will play host to the Diablo Relays at Sun Angel Stadium, which is an all-comers meet.

Bethke ran his first individual indoor race for the Sun Devils on Saturday at the Husky Classic in Seattle and walked away with a time of 7:54.27, which automatically qualified him for the NCAA Indoor Championships next month in Arkansas. His time, which ranks as the sixth-best in the nation currently, is a school record, bettering the time of 7:54.31 that Todd Lewis recorded 19 years ago (1991).