Accessing and advancing the ancient

By J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.

J.D. RottweilerOn a recent morning walk along the Cracchiolo Pathway to Higher Education, which meanders across Cochise College and connects Cochise with the University of Arizona South and Buena High School, I was struck by the contrasting realities of education.

On the one hand, at the ribbon cutting of that very pathway several years ago, I spoke of education and its relationships to connectivity (bandwidth) and of the power of knowledge. The SSVEC and CenturyLink facilities that exist along the path inspired those remarks, which fit well with where we are as a modern society and how education can help us as we increase our connectivity to others and leverage the power of knowledge.

During that same stroll, I thought of a letter I recently received thanking the college for the opportunity to examine its archaeological collections. Researchers participating in Archaeology Southwest’s “Edge of the Salado Project” funded by the National Science Foundation examined ceramic pottery fragments and pieces of volcanic glass from seven regional sites. The pieces are housed at the college and curated by faculty member Rebecca Orozco; you can see some of them in displays funded by John and Rosaline Pintek at the Douglas and Sierra Vista Campuses.

The researchers’ findings were used to determine with whom prehistoric inhabitants traded (connected), where and how they made ceramics (knowledge), and when they were there. The information also was used to understand how local groups during the period A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1450 reacted to immigrants from northern Arizona that led to the development and spread of the “Salado” culture, which the researchers now believe was both political and religious.

So far, data from Cochise College’s collections have been used by researchers in a recently finished dissertation; one book chapter and three soon-to-be-submitted journal articles; and several presentations geared toward the general public. You can view the presentations by Dr. Lewis Borck at

My point in this is that knowledge continues to be power and connectivity can unite peoples today just like it did in the past. Only today the power of knowledge and the connectivity of people is accelerated by and with technology. The data contained in Cochise College’s archaeological collection are now part of one of the Southwest’s largest databases and can be accessed by researchers across the globe to provide insight on how people lived, worked, worshiped and connected with others.

As Cochise College finishes up a quiet summer session and prepares to return for fall, I want to reinforce that knowledge is power, education transforms lives and shapes how we see the world, and thanks in part to modern connectivity, it’s more accessible than ever.

J.D. Rottweiler is president of Cochise College. Contact him at