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Museums and archaeology

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Title:
Museums and archaeology the collecting tradition of the Colorado Historical Society and the potential for research
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Kane, Katherine D
Colorado Historical Society
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English
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116 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Museums -- Research -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Museums -- Research ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (pages 105-116).
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Typescript, photocopy.
General Note:
Thesis, M.A., University of Colorado, Department of Anthropology, 1985.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Katherine D. Kane.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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Full Text
MUSEUMS AND ARCHAEOLOGY: THE COLLECTING TRADITION OF
THE COLORADO HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND THE
POTENTIAL FOR RESEARCH
by
Katherine D. Kane
B.A., University of Denver, 1972
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of Anthropology
1985
#


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by-
Katherine D. Kane
has been approved for the
Department of
Anthropology
by
Date
7/31/85


Ill
Kane, Katherine D. (M.A., Anthropology)
Museums and Archaeology: The Collecting Tradition of
the Colorado Historical Society and the Potential
for Research
Thesis directed by Janet R. Moone, Associate Professor
The Colorado Historical Society's archaeolog-
ical collections are some of the earliest and largest
from their particular sources. From the acquisition of
the first archaeological material taken from Mesa Verde
in 1888 and 1889 through the historical archaeology
conducted at frontier forts in the 1960s, the State
Historical Society has sponsored or conducted numerous
expeditions. This collecting tradition has never been
reviewed as a whole.
With less money available for survey and exca-
vation and the great 1970s boom in contract archaeology
over, it is important to assess the potential of such
existing collections for contemporary research. In
this thesis, I have reviewed the collecting tradition
of the Colorado Historical Society, examined the
contemporary use of such collections, and applied this
perspective to one portion of the Society's archaeo-
logical materials.


iv
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I am indebted to the Colorado Historical
Society for the opportunity to work with their collec-
tions, both artifactual and documentary. Susan
Gillis, previously Society assistant curator for
material culture, initially raised the issue of investi-
gating sources of documentation for the collections and
it was through discussions with her that I became
interested. Janet Moone and Jane Day, two of my
committee members, have consistently offered support
and ideas not only for this project but others as well.
And Frank Kane has persevered with love and faith through
thick and thin.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION ................................... 1
II. THE POTENTIAL OF EXISTING
MUSEUM COLLECTIONS ........................... 7
The Historic Interrelationship
of Museums and Anthropology ............... 7
The Research Potential of
Existing Museum Collections ...... 11
Biases of Existing Collections ...... 19
Summary and Recommendations ................. 23
III. ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPEDITIONS OF
THE COLORADO HISTORICAL
SOCIETY...................................... 30
The Wetherill and Willmarth
Collections ...... ....................... 30
Wetherill-Willmarth Catalogs
at the Colorado Historical
Society................................. 42
Cannonball Ruin............................ 4 3
The Pagosa-Piedra Region .................... 44
The Ackmen-Lowry Area........................ 47
Paradox Valley .............................. 48
Excavations at Historic Sites ............... 49
IV. THE PAGOSA-PIEDRA EXPEDITIONS ................. 52
The 19 21 Season............................ 54
Charles E. Mitton's Journal
of the 19 21 Season .................... 62


VI
CHAPTER
The 1922 Season............................. 63
The 1923 Season............................. 65
The 19 24 Season.......................... 7 3 .
Excavations ............................ 73
The Mapping Project....................... 76
Artifacts................................. 78
Summary . ......................... 8 0
Other Events of 19 24 .................... 80
The 1925 Season............................. 81
Plaza Grande.............................. 82
The Cobblestone Tower.................... 86
Other Excavations....................... 8 7
Artifacts................................. 88
Summary................................. 89
V. THE POTENTIAL OF COLLECTIONS OF
THE COLORADO HISTORICAL
SOCIETY..................................... 91
Previous Work............................... 91
Collection Biases .......................... 96
Accessibility ............................ 98
Summary of the Study's
Accomplishments .......................... 99
Recommendations ........................... 100
REFERENCES CITED .................................... 105


Vll
FIGURES
Figure
1. Locations of archaeological
activity of the State Historical
Society of Colorado........................... 31
2. Map of Chimney Rock Ruins showing
location of rooms excavated and
others located together with
general topographic features of
surrounding vicinity ......................... 56
3. The Chimney Rock area......................... 58
4. Chimney Rock Ruin........................... 6 0
5. Site locations in the Pagosa
Junction-Trujillo area ....................... 67
6. Site locations along the Piedra
River between Chimney Rock and
Arboles....................................... 68
7. Site locations in the Ignacio
area.......................................... 69
8. Site locations in the southwestern
Corner of Colorado............................ 70
9. 19 25 excavations ............................ 83
10. Plan and profile of Plaza
Grande........................................ 84
11. House A in Plaza Grande....................... 90


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
From the acquisition of the first archaeological
collection taken from Mesa Verde in 1888 and 1889
through the historical archaeology conducted at Fort
Vasquez and Fort Massachusetts in the 1960s, the State
Historical Society of Colorado has sponsored or con-
ducted numerous archaeological expeditions. The arti-
factual assemblages of these expeditions are curated
at the Colorado State Museum in Denver.
The purchase of the Wetherill family's Mesa
Verde material was the Society's first direct sponsor-
ship of archaeology, and it was to initiate a tradi-
tion of involvement in the state's prehistoric
resources that would last until the present. The
Colorado Historical Society was founded in 1879 with
a $500 appropriation by the General Assembly (Benson
1980) with the instruction that it was to collect and
preserve the history and natural history of the state.
Until 1896, the Society operated under, the direction of
its board, but in that year Will Ferrill, the first paid
employee, was hired as curator. Collecting momentum
grew quickly under Mr. Ferrill' s. guidance.


2
After being housed in a series of temporary
locations, in 1915 the Society moved the rapidly grow-
ing collections into the new Colorado State Museum
across from the state capitol in Denver.. During the
next sixty years, collections, staff, and programs
grew and matured. A publications series was inaugur-
ated in 1922 with the report of the 1921 archaeological
season and was formalized the following year with the
first volume of Colorado Magazine. The Society's
research program and exhibits were boosted in the
1930s with the additional help of WPA-sponsored
historians and artists. Statewide presence was rein-
forced with the addition of regional museums, and in
1977 the Society moved into a new State Museum two
blocks from the outgrown old one.
Following the acquisition of the Mesa Verde
collection in 1889, the Colorado Historical Society
continued to involve itself in archaeological activ-
ities, adding the artifacts to a growing collection.
As with many museum archaeological collections, the
Society's are prime examples of early archaeology in
the United States. They were not conducted with the
methodological sophistication used today, and they are
so poorly provenienced that the application of the
rigorous criteria of contemporary analysis is difficult.


3
I Yet these collections are' some of the earliest and
largest from their particular sources, and it seems
reasonable to expect they can yield valuable informa-
tion.
The Society's collecting tradition has never
been reviewed as a whole, even though some of the work
.
was precursor to later and more famous investigations.
Archaeologists who were just beginning their long
careers conducted some of this work, and neither they
nor the Society have received the credit they deserve.
There is an additional reason for my interest
in these collections. The conservation ethic that
first received explicit discussion in the mid-1970s
(Lipe 1974) has been encouraged in the profession for
some time, however, its application is more directly
the result of practical economics. The Society for
American Archaeology has taken the position that as
significant, unrenewable resources, archaeological
sites are best preserved in the ground. They are
"... valuable as an intrinsic source of intangible
contextual information and are an irreplaceable data
base for research into the history of human technology,
behavior and development" (Knudson 1982). The imple-
mentation of this attitude implicitly encourages

professionals to use available collections. I believe


4
museums should exploit this situation to the advantage
of their collections and of the scholars.
With less money available for survey and exca-
vation and the great 1970s boom in contact archae-
ology over, it is important to assess the potential of
existing collections for contemporary research. Museum
storerooms contain many such collections. They range
from material where the significance lies in the early
date of excavation from a site that no longer exists to
methodologically correct recent excavations that have
received no attention. Their potential is barely tapped.
The Colorado Historical Society's provenienced archae-
ological collections, obtained through the Society's own
expeditions in the tradition of anthropological museums
in the United States, are among these.
My purpose in this thesis has been to review
the archaeological expeditions sponsored by the Colorado
Historical Society; develop a perspective on the compre-
hensiveness of the artifactual collections; and locate,
evaluate, and review the supporting documentary informa-
tion for each expedition. This approach has two
purposes: to lay the groundwork for future research by
Society staff as well as scholars and to provide a
preliminary review of the collections and their docu-
mentation as part of the Society's archaeological


5
exhibit review and development and collection manage-
ment procedures.
In conjunction with this survey of the Society's
archaeological collections and its documentation, I
searched the literature for examples of research using
museum collections and considered the potential for such
investigations. It was by specific example that I
wished to demonstrate the research potential of the
Colorado Historical Society's collections.
Having familiarized myself with the Society's
archaeology storage area and the catalog of the collec-
tions, I turned to Colorado Magazine, the regular
publication of the Colorado Historical Society from
1923 until 1981 and the source of considerable informa-
tion on the institution and its activities. The
Magazine contains most of the reports of the Society's
archaeological expeditions that have been published.
With the hope of locating field notes, I searched the
manuscript collections, the Society's institutional
archive, and the files in the office of the material
culture department. Each source yielded new informa-
ation and the pieces combined into a more comprehensive
picture. It is that picture that I have reported here.
Chapter II surveys the potential of existing
museum collections, and Chapter III reviews


6
archaeological expeditions conducted by the Society.
Chapter IV expands on one series of the expeditions,
those to the Pagosa-Piedra region, as an example of
the issues to be considered in using such a collection
for research. Finally, a discussion of the potential
areas for work with the Society's collections, along
with recommendations for improvements in cataloging and
accessibility is contained in Chapter V.


CHAPTER II
THE POTENTIAL OF EXISTING MUSEUM
COLLECTIONS
In this chapter, I will review the relationship
of museums and the field of anthropology to consider
changes that have occurred in that relationship affect-
ing the use of museum collections for original research.
I will discuss the research potential of these collec-
tions with an emphasis on archaeological material and
survey some contemporary examples of such research.
The effect of curation and storage techniques will be
reviewed to enumerate the inherent biases of museum
material. Finally, a set ofrecommendations regarding
similar collections will be presented.
The Historical Interrelationship of
Museums and Anthropology
Museums as Western institutions were direct
products of the sixteenth and seventeenth century's age
of exploration when adventurers brought back strange and
exotic things that were added to their patrons'
"cabinets des curiosities" (Collier and Tschopik 1954;
Fenton 1960). The transition from private to public
institutions was complete by the end of the eighteenth


8
century, and in the United States, the period from 18 60-
1900 has been called the "museum period" (Fenton 1960)
because of the high level of activity and research
centered in museums. The nineteenth century growth of
anthropology was closely related to this period.
Two figures were prominent in the post-Civil
War collecting activities that led to the development of
U.S. museums. John Wesley Powell and the founding of
the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1879 brought a
research focus not necessarily related to collecting
activity, while Frederick Ward Putnam led the transition
from natural science and biological techniques to
archaeology and material culture (Fenton 1960).
Putnam encouraged fieldwork for the purpose of
collecting artifacts, and he insisted on good documenta-
tion for the material. During his career, Putnam .was
associated with the Peabody Museum of Harvard, the
American Museum of Natural History's anthropology
department, and the museum of the University of Cali-
fornia. At the American Museum, he and Franz Boas
began to collect ethnology of the vanishing Northwest
Coast cultures and to publish the information in
monographic form. He was responsible for organizing,
with Boas as his assistant, anthropological collecting
for the exhibits of the 1893 World's Columbian


9
Exposition in Chicago which led to the founding of the
Field Museum. This huge enterprise, with over one
hundred people under Putnam's direction, served to focus
activity and stimulate interest and financial support
for the field of anthropology (Collier and Tschopik
1964) .
Anthropology in museums from 1900 to about 1930
was patterned around exhibits, research, teaching, and
lectures. Fieldwork was stimulated by the perception
that preliterate cultures were rapidly disappearing.
With the anthropological research of the period gener-
ally centered in museums, a direct motivation for field-
work was also the desire of these institutions to develop
and increase their collections (Collier and Tschopik
1954). Most anthropologists were trained in museums
and tended to have additional appointments in local
universities (Fenton 1974), but museum jobs were the
most desirable (Fenton 1960). Publications were descrip-
tive, comparative monographs with a lot of discussion of
material culture (Collier and Tschopik 1954). Under
the influence of Boas, the perspective was empirical,
historial, and anti-evolutionary (Harris 1968).
As the leaders of the historical particularist
tradition began to turn toward an interest in culture
and personality in the early 1930s, the emphasis on the


10
objects of culture lessened, and the scholarly center
of anthropology moved from the large museums to univer-
sities. Process, causality, cross-cultural comparisons,
and social structure were becoming more important than
in-depth analysis of particular cultural groups.
At the same time, the rise of the philanthropic
foundations changed funding sources from the private
sponsorship of the individual donors to a market where
museum activities were in direct competition with
universities and medical research (Dockstader 1967).
These changes have resulted in anthropological museums
playing a lesser role in anthropology than would be
expected by their prominent involvement in the field's
beginning in the United States (Rothschild and Cantwell
1981). The rush to collect the ethnographic data of
disappearing societies had lessened, and museums had
large holdings of material culture from these peoples
in their storage areas. Their primary responsibility
for the care of this material reinforced a conservative
attitude within museums (Collier 1962), an attitude that
is under revision currently within the museum community
itself (American Association of Museums 1984).
As anthropological interest in technology and
material culture waned (Collier 1962), and as special-
izations within the field diversified (Collier and


11
Tschopik 1954), the gap between anthropological museums
and academics widened. The role of the teacher of
anthropology transferred gradually from museums to
universities, with an attendant change in emphasis
further away from the research use of museum collec-
tions (Dockstader 1967). University professionals,
responsible for training the next generations of anthro-
pologists, tend neither to use museums nor to introduce
their students to them, reinforcing a subtle negative
attitude on museums' value for anthropology and
diminishing the potential of the whole field (Mason
1960, Collier 1962, Lurie 1981). Without professionals
trained in utilizing museum collections for anthropo-
logical research, no available pool of people capable
of using the material in this way exists (Dockstader
1967). This dearth results in a reliance on profes-
sionals from other disciplines. Museum staffs may be
trained in museum studies programs without theoretical
grounding in any particular discipline, or they may be
trained in history, art history, American studies, or
in anthropology.
The Research Potential of Existing
Museum Collections
The systematic collecting activity of the
earlier period of anthropology has left large numbers of


12
unstudied and not-recently studied material in museum
A 1
storage areas. This situation was aptly described by
Sturtevant (1973: 49): "A vast amount of data awaits
anthropological research in the huge, tangled puzzles
of museum collections." Considering the current limited
funding sources for fieldwork, it is appropriate to
review the possible uses of archaeology collections
that are available in museums. Often the material is
unusual, rare, or substantial, and contains information
that cannot be duplicated because it was collected early
in the historic settlement of an area before sites had
undergone many disturbances by treasure-seekers, agri-
cultural activity, or urban growth. A museum may hold
the most significant or only material available.
In archaeology the tradition of collecting
one's own data through conducting fieldwork remains
strong. This tradition has been called a rite of
passage (Cantwell and Rothschild 1981) and is expected
of all practicing professionals. I suggest, though, that
this emphasis is irresponsible when viewed in the light
of the conservation ethic because museums and reposi-
tories are full of artifacts to stimulate potential new
lines of inquiry. By its sheer volume the museum
material prompts the question of how it can possibly be
useful.


13
The potential of existing collections may be
limited by age, scope, and collecting biases, and many
of them have the additional limitation of being
gathered without the scientific emphasis of contem-
porary research designs. Besides remarking that the
collections now being gathered will have the same
limitations for future archaeologists, I intend to
make come constructive comments on potential use of
existing museum collections.
The archaeologist's dependence on artifactual
analysis as a basic source of information on past
lifeways has led to innovative work (Fontana 1978) as
well as stimulated efforts to go beyond the restrictive
framework of archaeological analysis (Schiffer 1976,
and Binford 1978, for example). Existing collections
can play a role in such investigations by serving to
stimulate research questions as well as helping to test
them.
Because proper analysis requires considerably
more time than the fieldwork itself, artifacts accumu-
late at a greater rate than they are examined. Even
those collections that were early subjected to thorough
analysis can yield new information as technology and
methodology improve. The course of future technological
innovations cannot be predicted, and carbon 14 is a


14
prime example of yielding new information on old collec-
tions (Griffin 1981). Trace element analysis (Blakely
and Beck 1981, Day 1984), X-ray diffraction (Williams
1981), and scanning electron microscope (Shipman 1981)
are also notable additions. Computer-aided statistical
manipulations have already revolutionized archaeolo-
gists' approach to their data, and it is difficult to
project where such analyses can take interpretation.
The founding of the Ethnobotanical Laboratory
of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of
Michigan was an innovation that has had important rami-
fications for New World studies of plant domestication
(Ford 1981). By providing curated organic remains for
comparative purposes, the laboratory assisted on work
in North America (Brown and Anderson 1947, Heiser 1955,
Kaplan 1956) and the Tamaulipas Valley of Mexico
(Whitaker, Cutler, and MacNeish 1957).
Certain geographic areas with archaeological
sites that have been greatly disturbed will benefit from
examination of museum collections. The Southeastern
United States, an area that supported a highly developed
prehistoric culture and which has been subjected to
excavations of all types since European settlement, is
an excellent example. At Moundville, a Mississippian
site on the Black Warrior River in Alabama, excavations


15
occurring over a hundred-year period produced a
tremendous volume of artifacts, most of which had never
been analyzed and which were dispersed through several
museums. Changes in the methodology of excavation
provided more information as the years proceeded. The
most extensive excavations were between 1929 and 1941,
but a grid system of recording finds was not begun
until 1932. Skeletal material was saved beginning in
1929, though previously the burials and the associated
finds had been noted only in a general way. Sherds
were not saved until 1932, and it was not until that
year that features other than burials were mapped. Even
with this assortment of field notes, maps, recording
methods, and the widely dispersed artifacts, a recent
comprehensive analysis yielded a variety of new informa-
tion (Peebles, Schoeninger, Steponaitis and Scarry
1981). Vincas Steponaitis (1983) has specifically
studied the Moundville ceramics that are in museum
collections to develop successfully a chronology more
specific than the five hundred year Moundville Phase.
The rarity and fragility of some types of
cultural remains may mean that it is important to
increase the sample size by considering those that are
available in museum collections. Archaeological tex-
tile samples and basketry remains are included here.


16
Adovasio's work with basketry (Adovasio 1979, Adovasio
and Gunn 1977) and Kate Peck Kent's with prehistoric
textiles (Kent 1983) are prominent examples. Exami-
nation and analysis of woven fiber-based organics is
dependent in part on the availability of these arti-
facts. The investigator needs to be able to handle and
manipulate each fragment (King 1978), and storage condi-
tions can affect this fragile material more adversely
than other types of artifacts (Kent 1983).
Using, among others, ceramics excavated in 1960
at two early village sites in Iran that were stored at
the Royal Ontario Museum, Hendrickson and McDonald
(1983) compared prehistoric pottery forms with func-
tional classes derived from ethnographic information.
They were able to reinforce their conclusions with
archaeological context and artifact wear patterns,
noting that such analysis can yield insights on activity
areas and subsistence.
A collection of Hopi pottery from the site
Kawika-a excavated by Earl Morris in 1928 for the
University of Colorado's Henderson Museum was examined
with the intention of finding the work of individual
potters within a group of 115 vessels. By comparing
her own classification of the pottery made without
benefit of contextual data with another classification


17
that had included context and testing both with computer-
aided attribute analysis, the researcher identified
thirty-four separate potters (Huse 1976).
The Hendrickson and McDonald (1983) and Huse
(1976) studies were done with provenienced collections.
Day's (1984) analysis of Costa Rican ceramics, though
based in part on available archaeological information,
used a poorly provenienced collection in an unusual
multidisciplinary approach that contributed significantly
to regional knowledge of the area's prehistory.
Use-wear analysis has been used a great deal
with museum collections (Semenov 1964). Chernela (1969)
discusses the problems of handling and examining pieces
without biasing the analysis by the introduction of more
scratches.
Flenniken (1978) re-examined the Lindenmeier
lithic material curated at the Denver Museum of Natural
History. This Folsom material from northeastern
Colorado was excavated in 1935. In his replication
experiments, Flenniken determined that the critical
fluting did not take place as part of the final stage
of preparation but occurred earlier in manufacture.
For the tool-maker, such a technique would have meant
much less time was invested in the tool if for some
reason the fluting was unsuccessful.


18
All of the above studies were conducted without
additional excavation; however, analysis of existing
collections can benefit and complement excavation. The
Agate Basin site on the high plains of eastern Wyoming
had been excavated in 1942 and 1961, as well as being
subjected to pothunting activities. In conjunction with
excavations conducted between 1975 and 1980, Frison and
Stanford (1982) reviewed all the private and public
collections of artifacts they could locate. This
information was incorporated into their analysis and
included material from the Smithsonian and the University
of Wyoming.
A major reason for the use of museum collections
in archaeological analysis is the re-evaluation of
earlier work. In the 1950s, Newberry Cave in the
eastern desert of California was excavated by volunteers
from the San Bernardino County Museum. A preliminary
report was published in 1956 and the material curated
at the Museum. Since no final report was written and
since the site was significant to the evaluation of
California prehistory, Davis and Smith (1981) produced
a report for the site by using the field notes, inter-
viewing people involved, analyzing the collections, and
visiting the site.


19
Such analysis as the examples above could not
take place if these collections did not exist or if
they had been seriously modified by curation. With
constant changes in scientific procedures and with
never before analyzed collections subjected to scrutiny,
historic collections continue to be valuable for
archaeologists. They are available without the great
cost of mounting fieldwork, and they may represent
sites that are seriously disturbed or even gone. With
this attitude, museum collections can be approached,
with their particular biases in mind, viewing the need
for innovative treatment as a challenge and a stimulus
to research design.
Biases of Existing Collections
Archaeological collections made in the past and
curated in museums are subject to a variety of effects
that may bias the information they can give.
Not only do we [as archaeologists] deal with
durable items and their patterns of manufacture,
distribution and use, discard, deposition, and
destruction, but we have to confront and trans-
late patterns of archaeological excavation,
description, preservation, and curation several
generations removed from our own (Peebles, Schoen-
inger, Steponaitis, and Scarry 1981: 434).
Individual theoretical orientations and collecting
methods of the field workers must be interpreted as


20
fully as possible in order to reconstruct the excavation
or survey that brought the artifacts to the museum.
For example, when museums were excavating with collec-
tion development as a primary goal, the tendency was to
bring in the pretty pot, leaving the utilitarian ware
behind. Collection bias, of course, begins with the
collecting activity itself but continues in the museum.
The availability of the original field notes
and other documentation is invaluable for reconstruct-
ing the order or excavation and for information about
each piece's provenience. Frequently, though, they
are dispersed in various places through the institu-
tion and even if available, field notes may not be
complete and understandable.
A standard maxim of museum collection manage-
ment holds that each time an object is handled it
shortens the object's life. With an archaeological
collection, handling may result in loss or breakage
with attendant effects on the integrity of the collec-
tion. Kintigh's (1981) re-study of Spier's 1916
Zuni pottery material demonstrated that changes by
random loss or breakage have little effect on the use
of the collection, but that systematic loss will skew
available information. Such systematic losses include,
for example, throwing away all undecorated sherds,


21
removing unusual sherds for a type collection, or
boxing all the sherds of one type together with the
box subsequently lost. As Kintigh points out, the
real problem can be that there is no way to tell what
changes have taken place in the collection during its
storage. Thus it is important to try to reconstruct
these changes.
It was once common for museums to trade arti-
facts from the strengths of their collections to add
to weak areas. Such attrition can be devastating to an
archaeological assemblage. Entire collections may be
dispersed or split, which, even if carefully done,
effectively separates the information, making it much
less available to scholars. It is also almost impossible
to accomplish without broken or misplaced items or
documentary material (Griffin 1981).
Stored collections are also subject to the needs,
biases, and values of those who curate them (Freed
1981). At excavation the equilibrium of the artifact
is disturbed, and the quality of the storage environ-
ment over time continues to affect the condition of the
artifacts. Excessive light or humidity, for example,
can have permanent effects on even the most indestruct-
ible items. Conservation methods require decisions
on the extent of any treatment, and for archaeological


22
collections in particular, aesthetic considerations
shouldbe placed last. Among other things, recon-
struction can obscure wear patterns, and cleaning can
remove particles of pollen or food residue. Dirt,
though, has abrasive particles and can hide inter-
pretive information so it is important to keep the
storage area as clean as possible. The conflict
between the museum exhibit staff who want nice clean
items for display and the needs of scholars must be
mediated by informed curators.
Curation, or the long-term care, of archae-
ological collections, is a problem-filled responsi-
bility. Funding sources are not stable, staff changes
disrupt consistency of treatment, and storage areas
fill more quickly than could possibly be believed.
The latter problem has been addressed in conjunction
with the growth of data associated with federally
conducted and contract archaeology (for example:
Lindsay, Williams-Dean and Haas 1980, Lipe 1974).
Because archaeological sites are a limited resource,
and because excavations presumably will diminish in
number, both the material now being collected and that
already in storerooms has great potential value.
Properly caring for these collections is a primary
responsibility. Maintaining, as much as possible, the


23
integrity of the material and the supporting resources
is a service to future scholars that should not be
depreciated (Brown 1981).
Summary and Recommendations
With the availability of extensive archae-
ological collections in their institutions, museum
professionals should take an active role in promoting
the use of these collections as research subjects.
Despite inherent biases and problems, successful and
timely work has been conducted using such material
(Cantwell et al. 1981, and see above). Innumerable
intact, comprehensive collections are available to be
studied.
One major method for promoting the use of these
accumulated artifacts in research is to encourage
intra-museum research programs. In a recent editorial
article in History News, Thomas Leavitt decried the
current state of research by museum staffers.
The fact that we sponsor and conduct so little
research that compares favorably in quality or
quantity with the research conducted or spon-
sored by our academic counterparts is a source
of great embarrassment for those of us in the
museum business (Leavitt 1984).
Museums attract professionals of all fields
but those who are interested in scholarship are of


24
necessity caught up in operational aspects. This
encourages nonspecialization and as a result museums
are losing the academically oriented people who could
complement the collections with quality research.
Curators have traditionally had the responsi-
bility for carrying out research in their collection,
but when that is added to their other responsibilities
of exhibits, collection development, storage, and
interpretation, scholarly research is overwhelmed by
everyday activities (Ford 1977, Lurie 1981). With
museums chronically short on funds and staff, support
personnel for curators may not exist, and when time and
staff are short, research is the first thing to go
(Ford 1977). Since the priority for allocating funds
must go to the care of the existing collections,
research, important as it is, does not stand a chance
when the competition is storage facilities and supplies.
Museums have a built-in dichotomy in their
responsibilities. They are charged with collecting
and preserving, but also with interpreting. The two
often compete directly for the resources of money and
staff time.
Most research in museums today is carried.out
in preparation for exhibitions.' Museums take an active
role for the public in the interpretation of


25
anthropology and archaeology (Collier and Tschopik
1954), and this has prompted a re-examination of
exhibition techniques. How is it possible, for
example, to take concepts of theory and present them
using three-dimensional artifacts but without a lot of
explanatory labels? Museums are the only place where
we can, as visitors, ^compare objects and ideas.
Through exhibits and through scholarship, research
"brings museum collections to life" (American Associ-
ation of Museums 1984: 49). Well trained in the
anthropological perspective, archaeologists bring with
them the holistic approach to material culture (Lurie
1981) that can jump the gap between artifact and idea.
Leavitt (1984) recommends exploiting the
connection between exhibits and research by producing .
only exhibits that require a catalog. This is an
unrealistic suggestion because museums are in compe-
tition in the cultural marketplace and changing
exhibits are one of the primary ways of encouraging
return visits from the public. The museum must be able
to do "quick and dirty" exhibits as well as large and
innovative ones that would deserve a catalog. More
reasonable suggestions are to make research credentials
part of curatorial job requirements, planning research
time into curatorial jobs, and fund raising specifically


26
for research. Though such concerns must be meshed with
other institutional responsibilities, they must be
directly addressed if museums are to remain as leaders
in the interpretation of our own and past cultures.
To be useful to scholars, collections must be
accessible, but a multitude of problems interfere with
scholarly access to museum collections. If storage
space is inadequate, no place may be available for a
visitor to work. Storage may lack a locational index
for artifacts and may be so crowded that objects are
only retrievable with difficulty. For security
reasons, and to help locate artifacts, many institu-
tions make a staff member available to visitors, a
service often eliminated if it is necessary to make
staff cuts. Cataloging can be incomplete;, artifacts can
be misplaced or mislabeled. The accumulated effects
of environment and age can create conservation problems
that are aggravated by additional handling. All of
these are the products of staffing and funding short-
ages that over the years have taken their toll on
accessibility. They are discouraging facts of life
that in turn serve to reduce the requests from scholars,
because to encourage research, scholars must be made
welcome (Ford 1977).


27
Involving more anthropology students as interns
or work-study employees serves the double purpose of
effectively adding to staff as well as educating young
scholars on the functions and collections of museums
(Collier and Tschopik 1954). An active recruitment
program among regional university departments can pay
dividends in talented students and potential future
researchers.
Well-documented collections will have a much
greater use for researchers than those without docu-
mentation. Field notes, reports, and analyses should
be maintained together in labeled files for easy
retrieval. The institution should be sure to obtain
copies of personal field notes from crew members. There
cannot be too much documentary material (Lurie 1981).
On a national level, a serious hindrance to
scholarly use of museum collections is the limited
amount of information available on them. There have
been several proposals to develop a nationwide inven-
tory of museum collections (Fenton 1960, Hunter 1967,
Ford 1977, Mathews 1981, American Association of
Museums 1984), a monumental task made potentially
more manageable by the developing sophistication of
computer cataloging. This inventory would be the
ultimate in the exchange of information for scholars


28
and for museums' promotion of the use of their collec-
tions.
Beyond research, promotion, and access,
other specific recommendations relating to collections
management can be directed toward museums. Excavated
archaeological collections should be stored together
within the limits of proper care for the collections.
Such storage would alleviate some of the problems of
missing artifacts and make work with a cohesive unit
possible (Sturtevant 1973). Responsible collections
management would indicate that of those archaeological
collections that are systematic, internally cohesive
collections should receive curatorial care before those
that are not (Ford 1977). When archaeological collec-
tions are accessioned, the museum catalog number should
be cross-referenced with the field number; ideally they
will be the same. And finally, museums will do well to
heed the recommendations in a new handbook to be pub-
lished by the Society of American Archivists, Manual
for the Preservation of Fieldwork, which gives instruc-
tions for the archival preservation of the documentation
of fieldwork.
There are also specific recommendations that
can be directed to the archaeologist considering using
museum collections for original research. The


29
collections may be used both to generate research ques-
tions for testing in the field and as support material
for excavation background. To overcome biases inherent
in any one collection and the limitations of small sample
size, investigators should use as many collections from
as many museums as feasible (Mori and Mori 1972,
Sturtevant 1973). And in the report, the source and
location of the collections should be noted (Sabloff
1980).
For the archaeologist, though research based on
museum collections may not carry the same rewards as
fieldwork, such studies also do not carry the financial
costs or the battle with the elements inherent in
excavation or survey. The rewards of such research,
however, are similar: long-hidden information may be
brought to light, dust and dirt can be a problem, but
an innovative and creative approach can foster success-
ful problem-centered research with museum collections.


CHAPTER III
ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPEDITIONS OF THE
COLORADO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Since its beginning in 1879, three years after
Colorado gained statehood, the Colorado Historical
Society has demonstrated a strong interest in the pre-
historic inhabitants of the state. This interest
culminated in a series of collecting expeditions
intended to investigate the state's archaeological
resources and to develop the Society's prehistoric
collections (Figure 1).
The Wetherill and Willmarth
Collections
Approximately 3,000 artifacts from the Mesa
Verde region comprise the most important of the
Society's archaeological collections. These collec-
tions were made by the Wetherill- family of Mancos
between 1888 and 1893 and are the first and the
fourth of the four collections the Wetherills made
from the district. The second is now at the University
of Pennsylvania Museum, while the third, made with
Gustav Nordenskiold, is at the state museum of
Finland. Because these four collections are


Key
1.
2 .
3 .
4.
5.
Mesa Verde
(Wetherill-
Willmarth)
Cannonball Ruin
Pagosa-Piedra
Ackmen-Lowry
Paradox Valley
Locations of archaeological activity
of the State Historical Society of Colorado
Figure 1


32
interrelated in time and were made by the same people
in the same general manner, discussion will not be
limited to those acquired by the Society.
The family of Benjamen Wetherill arrived at the
foot of the Mesa Verde in 1880. They settled in the
Mancos River Valley and named their new home the Alamo
Ranch. The Wetherills' discovery of Cliff Palace in
1888 (Mason 1918; Fletcher 1977: 110) inaugurated a
period of systematic exploration of the mesas and
canyons of the Mancos River valley. The five Wetherill
brothers (Richard, A1, John, Clayton and Win) and their
sister's husband, Charles Mason, were on friendly terms
with the Utes and seem to have had more freedom in
roaming the canyons than some other local residents
(Mason 1918). Of all the brothers, Richard and A1 were
particularly interested in the ruins and between the
two of them their knowledge of the area was superior
(Nordenskiold 1893).
Thirty years later, Charles Mason (1918: 3)
described the spectacle of Cliff Palace as he first saw
it. "It appeared as though the inhabitants had left
everything they possessed right where they had used it
last." And Al Wetherill said,
Things were arranged in the rooms as if the people
might just have been out visiting somewhere. Per-
haps specimens of pottery sat on the floors and


33
other convenient locations; stone implements and
household equipment were where the housewives had
last used the articles; evidence of children play-
ing house even as children do now; estufas where
the men congregated, leaving the ancient ashes of
altar fires long dead (Fletcher 1977; 111).
Shortly after this momentous discovery, and in
conjunction with their own collection activities, the
family "grubstaked" (Fletcher 1977: 124) a trio of
miners: Charles McLoyd, Howard Graham, and L. C. Patrick
These gentlemen, with the assistance of the Wetherills,
spent the winter of 1888-89 gathering what became the
first Mesa Verde collection to go to the Colorado
Historical Society. A catalog of that collection was
published in 1889 as a "Catalogue of Ancient Aztec
Relics from the Mancos Canon, La Plata County, South-
Western Colorado" (Durango Herald 1889). It consists
of approximately 1,200 artifacts and is known as the
Wetherill collection.
The collection had a circuitous trip to its
final destination at the Society. It was taken to
Durango and Pueblo for exhibition, but apparently drew
little attention. With the cooperation of the Denver
and Rio Grande it was shipped to Denver where the same
results were obtained. All were discouraged. But
fortuitously, Clay Wetherill and Charles Mason dis-
covered the first mummy from Mesa Verdethat of a


34
childand it was added to the collection in Denver.
This exotic addition drew much public attention.
The collection was purchased by the Colorado
Historical Society (then called the State Historical
and Natural History Society, or SHNHS) (Mason 1918) for
$3,000. Raising this sum was difficult for the Society
since the total annual appropriation for 1889 and 1890
was $3,000. The Society's funds supplied $1,500 with
three individuals signing personal notes for the balance
(Bancroft, Todd and Dudley 1890).
The material was described in the Society's
Biennial Report for 1889-90.
The collection embraces bone and stone implements,
skulls, human bones, the mummified body of a young
child, baskets, necklaces and other adornments,
parts of a loom, sandals, some braided or woven
fabrics, a large number of jars or other utensils
made from clay, and a variety of articles the use
of which is not known. In all, there are about
twelve hundred articles (Bancroft, Todd and Dudley
1890: 4).
The suggestion that these relics might leave the
state if they were not obtained for the Society gave a
strong motivation to the effort to raise the funds.
This theme of a perceived threat to Colorado's prehis-
toric resources by the activities of "outsiders" was
an issue that continued for several decades.
The approach to the second collection was more
systematic since the family made it "in a more


35
businesslike manner" (Mason 1918: 3). It was begun in
the winter of 1889 and grew through the winter of
1891-92. It was sold to C. D. Hazzard of the H. Jay
Smith Exploring Company of Jackson Park, Illinois
(Mason 1918; McNitt 1957: 32). Al Wetherill, though,
in his reminiscences, believes that it was this collec-
tion rather than the first one that went to Durango,
Pueblo, and Denver to little public acclaim.
In this second collection were the living and
burial customs. When the exhibit was ready, we
. . shipped it to Durango. . (but] the
public did not particularly care about being
educated. ... We went on to Pueblo . meeting
indifference verging on ridicule. ... We shipped
the whole works and ourselves on north (Fletcher
1977: 125-26).
In Denver the brothers were saved from returning home
paupers by the Director of the Minneapolis Industrial
Exposition who purchased the material (Fletcher 1977:
126; A. Wetherill 1953).
This confusion may be in part because of the
great number of years between these events and the time
Wetherill was recording them. The Director of the
Minneapolis Industrial Exposition was H. Jay Smith, and
Fletcher (1977) records his signature in the Wetherill's
ranch guest book on March 5, 1892. Charles Mason
(1918) notes Smith exploring Mesa Verde and the McElmo
valley in the company of the Wetherills and an artist
that Smith had brought with him to record the cliff


36
houses in sketches. In addition, Warren K. Moorehead,
leading an expedition on the San Juan to collect speci-
mens for the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, noted
"the Wetherills, a family of several brothers, were
recently through the canyon [McElmo] with a Mr. H. Jay
Smith ..." (Moorehead 1892a: 361).
This second collection was exhibited at the
Columbian Exposition in 1893. Hazzard subsequently
loaned it to the University of Pennsylvania Museum. It
was then purchased by Mrs. Phoebe A. Hearst who donated
it to the University Museum while retaining a portion
for herself (McNitt 1957). These latter eventually
went to the Lowie Museum at the University of Cali-
fornia, Berkeley.
The Moorehead connection to this series of
events is interesting. Moorehead apparently had a
major responsibility for the archaeological exhibits
at the Exposition Griffin 1981) During an expedition
he led for the magazine Illustrated American in 1892,
he traveled widely in the four corners area but does
not mention if he explored the Mesa Verde. He seemed,
instead, to circumvent it. He mentions the Wetherills
several times in the serialized report of the expedition
and, in fact, Richard Wetherill subsequently published
in the Archaeologist, a magazine for which Moorehead


37
was editor. McNitt (1957) in his biography of Richard
Wetherill, does not, during this time, mention Moore-
head in any context other than that of editor of the
Archaeologist. Yet the finale of the Illustrated
American expedition was the purchase, from Charles
McLoyd, of a large collection of relics from the
Colorado River drainage. This is the same McLoyd who
was grubstaked for the first. Wetherill collection
(Moorehead 1892b). After the Exposition, this collec-
tion was added to the holdings of the American Museum
of Natural History.
The interrelationship of the nineteenth century
archaeological community, both independent private
collectors and those representing institutions, is
demonstrated by these connections. The difficulty of
travel in the Southwest, the desire to discuss their
collecting interests with others, and the general
curiosity regarding the prehistoric people who had left
these remains, brought such people as Moorehead, Smith,
McLoyd, and the Wetherills together as a network of
information. The result of this collaboration was
that Colorado was represented at the famous 1893
World's Columbian Exposition by three prehistoric
collections from its southwestern corner: the second
Wetherill collection, purchased by Smith; the Moorehead


38
Illustrated American collection; and the fourth
Wetherill collection.
The third Wetherill collection was made by the
young Swede Gustav Nordenskiold in the summer of 1891
with the guidance and assistance of Wetherill family
members. Nordenskiold was a naturalist, the son of a
well-known scientist, and he had been traveling in the
United States when he heard in Denver of the famous
cliff-dwellings near Durango. Intending to spend only
a week, he traveled to Mancos and was guided into the
canyon areas by the Wetherills. Nordenskiold was so
interested that he spent the summer. His thorough
descriptions of the ruins and his excavations there,
published in the beautiful volume The Cliff Dwellers of
Mesa Verde (Nordenskiold 1893), provide a great deal of.
information on the earlier activities of the Wetherills.
When Nordenskiold was prepared to leave the
United States with the artifacts he had excavated, he
had them transported to Durango. There he was met with
a warrant and the crates were impounded. Citizens were
disturbed that he was carrying the heritage of Colorado
out of the country. Investigation showed there was no
legal reason to retain him or the material, though, so
it was released (McNitt 1957: 42-43). The collection is
currently housed at the state museum of Finland.


39
The fourth and final collection was initi-
ated when the State Legislature appropriated funds
for Colorado exhibits at the 1893 World's Columbian
Exposition. A. F. Willmarth was appointed to
obtain prehistoric material, and he contacted the
Wetherills. Gathered in 1892 Mason (1918: 6) said
of this collection, "In spite of the fact that all
of the cliff dwellings had been worked over 2-3
times, we succeeded in making a very good show-
ing "
Society archives record that Willmarth
attempted to add the first Mesa Verde collection to
the newly collected artifacts traveling to Chicago
but that the Executive Board of the Society decided
that it had no right to let the collection leave
the state (Hafen 1953a).
After the Chicago Exposition closed, the
fourth collection made from Mesa Verde by the Wetherills
returned to the SHNHS where it is known as the Will-
marth collection.
Documentation and provenience. on all of the
collections that the Wetherills made, except that accom-
plished with Nordenskiold, is minimal. No field notes of
any kind exist at the Colorado Historical Society to


40
complement these important artifacts; however, there is
evidence that the Wetherills did take such notes
(Switzer 1979). Al Wetherill complains that the McLoyd,
Graham, and Patrick team that helped compile the first
material kept no records of where they found things
(Fletcher 1977: 125), and though this is negative
evidence, it indicates that others were recording
locations. Prudden (1927: 140) notes, "The excavations
controlled by them were conducted with the utmost care
and conservatism, careful records and descriptions
being made." Rohn (1971), in his report on the
excavations at Mug House, refers several times to the
notes made by Richard Wetherill on file at the University
of Pennsylvania Museum.
Nordenskiold's visit put the Wetherills in
contact with a trained scientist. He was familiar with
the principle of stratigraphy, he kept written records,
and he cataloged all artifacts. This exposure had a
documented effect on Richard Wetherill (McNitt 1957;
Lister 1979), and since it occurred before the fourth,
or Willmarth, collection was made for the state, one
would expect some documentation of this material.
Unfortunately, none is known.
The Wetherills have often been censured as
vandals, and the later portion of Al Wetherill's life


41
was spent in correspondence with the federal government
attempting to correct misconceptions in their published
literature on Mesa Verde National Park (Fletcher 1977).
Though they began their explorations of the ruins from
a sense of curiosity (Mason 1918), they quickly became
educated to the extent that the attitudes of the day
permitted (McNitt 1957). The distinction between
vandals and collectors as it is described by Moorehead
(1892b: 23) was vague.
. . Mere curiosity hunters . do an immense
amount of damage by encouraging the taking of
pottery and other objects by persons incapable
of handling finds properly. . . . Fortunately
among the vandals there are a few collectors of
judgement and discrimination.
The exploitation of prehistoric ruins, added to
the concern of the state's people regarding what they
viewed as their heritage, prompted a movement to set the
Mesa Verde region aside as a park. The SHNHS took an
early stand on this in the 1889-90 Biennial Report when
they said
. . The Historical Society would like to see
proper action taken by the Eighth General Assembly
looking toward having the section of country lying
around Mancos and adjacent canons, and as much
more as contains the ruins of buildings constructed
by prehistoric races, set apart for a State National
Park (Bancroft, Todd and Dudley 1890: 5).
But the region did not become a protected area until its
designation as a national park by the 1906 Antiquities
Act (Breternitz 1983).


42
Wetherill-Willmarth Catalogs
at the Colorado Historical
Society
All of the Wetherill-Willmarth material is
cataloged within the regular archaeological catalog of
the Society. In addition, there are other useful
sources of information. Copies of the printed catalog
of the first collection (Durango Herald 1889) are avail-
able both in the Society's archaeology research files
in the Material Culture office and in a manuscripts
collection in the Society's library (Collection 428,
Mesa Verde). A typed catalog made early in the twen-
tieth century lists the Willmarth collection, and it is
available in both places in the Society. It is entitled
"The Cliff Dwellers. List Copied from the Scheduled
Catalogue Used for the Colorado Exhibit at the World's
Fair." All of these catalogs have been combined by
Susan Gillis, former Assistant Curator of Material
Culture, into one for the entire Wetherill-Willmarth
collection.
A narrative description of the discovery of the
ruins and the subsequent collections made there is
contained in Charles Mason's 1918 manuscript "The Story
of the Discovery and Early Exploration of the Cliff
Houses at the Mesa Verde. Written by C. C. Mason, with
the Approval of the Wetherill Brothers."
This manuscript


43
was given by Mr. Mason to the Society on May 5, 1918,
and the original is in Manuscript Collection 428. It
was signed by Mason and all of the Wetherills, except
Richard, who had died in 1910.
Cannonball Ruin
In 1908, the State Historical and Natural
History Society was a co-sponsor,: with the University
of Colorado and the School of American Archaeology
(now the School of American Research, Santa Fe), of an
excavation of Cannonball Ruin. This site is located
in the McElmo Canyon Drainage of southwestern Colorado.
Edgar L. Hewett, as Director of the School of American
Archaeology, was in charge of this excavation, though
Sylvanus G. Morley, at his first excavation and his
only one in the Southwest, wrote the published report
(Morley, 1908) .
After the completion of the excavation that
summer, the artifacts were shipped to the SHNHS to be
held until Morley arrived to analyze them. The
archaeology research files in the Material Culture
office contain a letter from Hewett directing Morley
to do this and requesting from the Society every
assistance. After analysis, the artifacts were
apparently dispersed between the participating


44
institutions. The catalog of the Colorado Historical
Society holds only fifty-eight pieces documented as
coming from Cannonball. These include pottery, axes,
manos, a hammerstone, and bone and stone artifacts.
There is no indication of the location or the existence
of field notes.
The Pagosa-Piedra Region
With the arrival of archaeologist Jean Allard
Jeancon in March of 1921, the SHNHS instituted regular
archaeological activities. The Society had created the
separate division of Archaeology and Ethnology in
October of.1920 and Jeancon was appointed the curator.
He came to the Society from a position with the Bureau
of American Ethnology (SHNHS 1920) and had consider-
able archaeological experience (see, for example,
Jeancon 1912 and Jeancon 1929).
Jeancon responded quickly to stories of ruins
near Pagosa Springs. By May he had traveled there to
see the ruins at Chimney Rock, twenty miles from
Pagosa Springs, and he had determined that they were
worth investigating. Within a month he had the
co-sponsorship of the University of Denver, a field
crew of students from the school, and the proper
permits to allow them to leave in a truck loaned by the


45
State Highway Department. This 1921 expedition was the
first of five summer seasons that Jeancon spent
investigating the Pagosa-Piedra region for the SHNHS.
The first year the crew excavated a portion of
the Chimney Rock ruin and some sites along the benches
of the Piedra River as well as broadly surveying the
general area for mapping purposes. In 1922, they
continued at the Chimney Rock ruin as well as exca-
vating additional ruins along the benches. Jeancon
also conducted a reconnaissance south along the San
Juan and Piedra Rivers.
In 1923 Jeancon was appointed director of a
tree ring sample collecting expedition for the National
Geographic Society. His assistant at Chimney Rock
during the former two years, Frank H. H. Roberts,
conducted a survey of southwestern Colorado with the
intention of developing a map of the archaeological
ruins there. The 1924 expedition intended to continue
work on information for the map and to excavate sites
on the Stollsteimer Mesa to the south of the Chimney
Rocks. The final expedition conducted by Jeancon took
place in 1925 when he returned to the Chimney Rock area
and carried out more excavations there.
There was an expedition in the summer of 1926,
but it was for the purpose of gathering contemporary


46
Southwestern material for the Society's collections
(Hafen 1954). Further work in the Chimney Rock Mesa
area was conducted by Frank Eddy and his students in
the 1970s (Eddy 1977, Truell 1976, Tucker 1981).
In 1927 Jeancon resigned because of poor health.
He received a glowing acknowledgment in the Society's
Colorado Magazine that said in part that
His work for the Society has been notable, and is
so well known throughout the State that it needs
little present comment. Both in field work and in
the continuing work of his office, including his
frequent public lectures, he has made a reputation
which has placed him in the front rank, and has
accomplished much to the credit of the State . .
His careful, intelligent and scientific develop-
ment of his department has brought to the State,
and to the Society a prominence in archaeological
lines that they did not possess before (Editorial
Notes 1927:.160).
All of these expeditions produced collections
that were added to the Society's archaeological material
and are contained in the archaeology catalog. With
the exception of 1924 and 1925 there were annual reports
published in the Society's Colorado Magazine (Volumes
1 and 2, see also Jeancon 1922a) that discussed the
excavations, the surveys, and the artifacts recovered.
The 1924 and 1925 reports were written but were not
published. These remain in the Society's Manuscript
Collection #343 (Jeancon). No field notes were known
to survive any of the seasons, but a box recently


47
discovered in the Society's archives contained a photo-
copy of a journal kept in 1921 by one of the University
of Denver students, Charles E. Mitton. This journal
will be discussed in the chapter on the Pagos Piedra
work.
The Ackmen-Lowry Area
A young Paul S. Martin was appointed the new
Curator of Archaeology and Ethnology following Jeancon's
resignation. The announcement said that "he brings
training, experience, enthusiasm" (Editorial Notes 1927:
161). Martin continued Jeancon's policy of an active
archaeological program. Jeancon had reported investi-
gating ruins near Spargo, Colorado, north of Mesa Verde,
and it was to this area that Martin went with a field
crew in 1928. Martin's decision to change the Society's
archaeological focus away from the Pagosa-Piedra area
prompted Frank Roberts to return there under the auspices
of the Smithsonian (Roberts 1930).
During the 1928 season, Martin and his crew
mapped the area, recording sites by the quarter section,
and excavated portions of several sites. He identi-
fied the kiva-underground passage-tower complex so
common for the area (Martin 1929), and his analysis
was based on the newly developed Pecos classification


48
(Martin 1927). He returned again in 1929 with more
specific questions to investigate, and excavated two
different room blocks along with some miscellaneous
features (Martin 1930). This season was co-sponsored
by the Smithsonian Institution.
In the fall of 1929, Paul Martin resigned
from the Society to become Assistant Curator of North
American Archaeology at the Field Museum in Chicago
(Editorial Notes 1930). He remained with this institu-
tion for the rest of his long and distinguished career.
Though his employer had changed, Martin's work in the
Ackmen-Lowry area continued for several more years
(Martin 1936, 1938).
These two seasons in what became known as the
Ackmen-Lowry area added considerably to the Society's
archaeological collections. Again, there are no known
extant field notes, but Martin published reports of
both seasons in Colorado Magazine (Martin 1929 and
1930) .
Paradox Valley
George Woodbury was the next chosen Curator.
He was trained at Princeton, Cambridge, and the Univer-
sity of Edinburgh; the majority of his experience was
in Europe and the Middle East.


49
Woodbury's sole archaeological expedition was
another outgrowth of earlier work by Jeancon. In the
summer of 1931, Woodbury surveyed the Paradox Valley
in the western end of Montrose county. Jeancon and
Roberts had done some preliminary investigations and
excavations in the valley in 1924 and suggested that
it would be a fruitful place to spend a more intensive
effort (Jeancon n.d.a).
Some artifacts, including pottery, bone, and
stone tools, were collected during this survey, and
those were added to the Society's growing collections.
Woodbury reported the results in Colorado Magazine
(1932). Handwritten field notes survive in the
archaeology research files of material culture along
with an edited typescript.
Excavations at Historic Sites
Following the Paradox Valley survey, the Society
ceased active field work for, with one exception,
thirty-five years. When activity was resumed, it was
with a different focus. The sites were historic,
usually one of the Society's regional museum proper-
ties, and excavations were not conducted with the goal
of increasing the collections, as had been the case with
the earlier prehistoric work. They were intended to
complement historic knowledge of the site.


50
Because of these differing goals and since the
excavations are more recent and incorporate more con-
temporary archaeological methods, I will review them
only briefly.
The resumption of the Society's archaeological
activity began following the 1954 gift of the site of
Bent's Fort by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In conjunction with the Colorado Historical Society,
Trinidad State Junior College excavated the remaining
walls of the Fort with the idea that such information
would aid in an eventual reconstruction. The work was
under the direction of Herb Dick. A report was pub-
lished in Colorado Magazine (Dick 1956). The Fort was
not reconstructed until 1976, however, when it was a
Bicentennial project of the National Park Service, the
current owner of the site.
Fort Vasquez, another fur-trade-era fort owned
by the Society, was the focus of considerable activity
in the 1960s. Test excavations at the location of a
planned visitors', center were carried out in 1963,
again with the cooperation of Trinidad State Junior
College, though this time under the direction of Galen
Baker (Baker 1964). In 1966 the Society determined to
"undertake a comprehensive archaeological investigation
of the site" to locate the fort's actual foundation and


51
layout and attempt to determine the use of the various
rooms (Judge 1971). Galen Baker was hired to test the
site and he supervised Dennis Stanford of the University
of New Mexico in the actual work. Some testing was
continued in 1967 under the joint sponsorship of the
Society and the Public Service Company of Colorado.
With a volunteer crew, Judge began excavations in the
fall of 1968, and they continued through the summers
of 1969 and 1970. During those summers the Society
sponsored a field school at the site. A report of
this work can be found in Judge (1971).
The first permanent U.S. military post in
Colorado, Fort Massachusetts in the San Luis Valley,
was excavated between 1964 and 1966 in another cooper-
ative venture of the Society and Trinidad State Junior
College, under the direction of Galen Baker. The work
is reported in Baker (1965, 1968).


CHAPTER IV
THE PAGOSA-PIEDRA EXPEDITIONS
The events of the Pagosa-Piedra seasons will
be discussed in greater detail than the Society's
other expeditions for several reasons. At least a
portion of five seasons of work was spent in this area,
two of the written reports on those years were not
published, and a field journal is extant for one of
the seasons. Frank H. H. Roberts, Jr. began his long
archaeological career in the Pagosa-Piedra with the
Society, and he later returned to the area for further
investigations under the auspices of the Smithsonian.
And though the artifactual collections are not large,
many of them can be correlated with provenience infor-
mation from the reports. All of this can help future
researchers who may use the collection.
The intensive archaeological investigations
conducted during the tenure of Jean A. Jeancon as the
Society's Curator of Archaeology and Ethnology were
stimulated in part by Jeancon's own interest in the
subject and also by the Society's continuing desire
to protect the state's prehistoric resources. The
Society's 1918-1920 Biennial Report mentions a movement


53
to save the prehistoric ruins in the southwestern
portion of the state. We "understand that 1921 will see
expeditions by institutions from outside the state to
excavate and explore. We must take steps at once"
(SHNHS 1920). The pressure was public enough that the
state legislature in 1920 adopted a resolution support-
ing archaeological work (Hafen 1953b). Under these
conditions it is likely that Jeancon was chosen as
curator with express instructions to take an active
role in investigating the prehistoric ruins of the
state.
The attitude of concern regarding Colorado's
prehistoric remains was at least partly acquisitively
motivated. Because the ruins were in Colorado, it was
the duty and the pleasure of Colorado's citizens, and
institutions like the Historical Society, to explore
them by excavation. The responsibility carried with it
the requirement to satisfy the public's curiosity by
exhibiting the recovered artifacts. Furthermore, this
responsibility was publicly perceived to come ahead of
the claim of institutions from outside Colorado. The
country's larger museums and universities were in the
field trying to develop and improve their collections,
which created a real sense of competition. Though
many of the expeditions were called scientific, the


54
pressure to collect had a detrimental effect on the
ruins themselves, and it did not encourage careful
excavation.
Since reports have been published on the first
three seasons in the Piedra River area, I will review
them briefly and add what additional information is
available. The reports for the 1924 and 1925 seasons
have not been published, so discussion of them will be
more extensive.
The 1921 Season
During Jeancon's May reconnaissance trip to
Pagosa Springs, he explored the mesa-top ruins and
partially excavated one "pithouse." He found enough
to determine that "there is every reason to expect an
excellent result from a summer's work" (Jeancon 1921a).
Upon his return to Denver he tried to raise money
having little success until he was introduced to some
supporters at the University of Denver. The University
raised $2,500 and named Dr. E. B. Renaud, Professor of
Romance Languages,as co-director with Jeancon (Archae-
ological Expedition 1921). Crew members have been
variously listed, but besides Jeancon and Renaud,
clearly there were five University of Denver students:
Frank H. H. Roberts, George Allan, Theodore Concevitch,


55
Charles E. Mitton, and Leland Anderson. Jeancon's
(1921b) September 1921 monthly report adds Pat Doyle,
and, though he is not mentioned in other sources, his
name is in Mitton's (1921) journal. J. S. Palmer,
who had worked on the Aztec site in New Mexico and
who had notified the Society of the ruins in the first
place, was included, as were a couple of workmen from
Santa Clara Pueblo (Archaeological Expedition 1921;
Jeancon 1921a, 1922a). E. W. Colton of Pagosa Springs
who had been Jeancon's guide in his preliminary visit
was also closely involved in the excavations throughout
the summer.
The expedition left Denver on June 11, and it
took them nine days to drive to Pagosa Springs. Mitton's
(1921) journal describes a typical day.
Mon. June 13
Broke camp at 9 o'clock. First pass at noon.
Elev. 9,000 ft. Second pass at 12:50. Elev.
9,400 ft. Guffey at 1:15. One hour digging
out of ford. Lunch at 3:00. Made 36 miles.
Stuck in Current Creek. Worked from 5:30 until
11:30 getting out of quick sand. "Washout camp."
Following their arrival they set up camp along Devil
Creek, and the season started in earnest.
The activities of the summer included a general-
survey of the area in order to locate sites and to
produce a map (Figure 2); excavations of sites on the
benches above the Piedra River; and the excavation of


Figure 2
Map of Chimney Rock Ruins showing location
of rooms excavated and others located together
with general topographic features of
surrounding vicinity (from Jeancon 1922a:4).


57
sites on the benches above Piedra River; and the
excavation of ruins on the mesa top including those
they called the "guardhouse" and the "large ruin," now
known as the Chimney Rock site.
Chimney Rock (Figure 3) is bounded on the
southeast by Stollsteimer Creek, on the northwest by
Devil Creek, and on the west by the Piedra River.
Above the confluence of Stollsteimer Creek and the
Piedra River is Stollsteimer Mesa, which at the time
was part of the property known as Harlan Ranch. North
of the Devil Creek and Piedra confluence was Pargin
Ranch. Around both of these areas and on the points
between, the party found innumerable ruins (Jeancon
1922a) .
Sites were excavated at both Harlan and Pargin
Ranches. The Pargin Ranch Tower (so named in Roberts
1923) was a circular masonry structure with cobblestone
walls laid upon a foundation of adobe (Jeancon 1922a).
Harlan Ranch pithouse (again, named by Roberts 1923) ,
was a small masonry room block with cobblestone walls
upon an adobe foundation surmounted by sandstone slabs
(Jeancon 1922a) .
Jeancon's nomenclature seems to include the
term "pithouse". as any habitation whose floor level is
below surface. In later reports of excavations in the


58


59
Chimney Rock area, it becomes clear that the sites are
generally jacal and/or masonry rooms standing alone
or, later, in contiguous or near-contiguous villages
(Roberts 1930) .
The mesa top ruins were counted at 109, but
during the season they concentrated on the large pueblo,
also excavating the guardhouse, another circular masonry
structure. Excavations at some small mounds called
Location 1 produced a mealing bin in one of the rooms
(Jeancon 1922a). Fifty years later, Eddy (1977) named
this the Causeway Site.
The large pueblo site Jeancon believed to be the
latest occupation in the area (1922a: 11; Figure 4).
He inferred that it was built on a preconceived plan
because the long exterior walls were abutted by the
interior walls. They cleared most of the large kiva
(later the west kiva) exposing an interesting beam
support system and leaving a portion of the fill in place
for later work.
The artifacts retrieved during the 1921 season
included pottery, a burned basket fragment (the only
one found in the five seasons), jewelry, a "medicine
bowl" holding a variety of stone objects, as well as a
clay pipe with an appliqued ceramic frog. A large
portion of the pottery is in the form of "heart-shaped


Ground P(an.
Large Pueblo
Shaded Portion
Unexcdvated
\.-
Figure 4
Chimney Rock Ruin (Roberts 1925:68)


61
bowls," a term Kidder (1924: 222) credits to Holmes.
They are usually known as seed jars.
By the end of the season, Jeancon had developed
a chronological classification for architectural types
in the area that was sufficient for his uses through the
forthcoming seasons (Jeancon 1922a: 5-6). With this
classification and his observations of the pottery
found in each type of house, he inferred that develop-
ment of the region's prehistoric occupation was local.
From the presence of certain foreign artifacts, he
proposed the existence of a trade system. The number
of ruins in the area surprised him, and the map
developed and drawn by Mitton supplied an excellent
base for further additions (Figure 2). In his pre-
liminary report to the Society's board, while express-
ing his disappointment that the summer's collection
was not as large as he had hoped, Jeancon conveyed his
excitement and his desire that the explorations would
continue.
The Pagosa Field is so far beyond the expecta-
tions, in extent, interest and accessibility,
that your Curator begs you to exert every means
at your disposal to continue the work in the
field. Here is the opportunity to do big things
and Colorado has never had a bigger chance to
place herself in the limelight as at this time
(Jeancon 1921b).
Jeancon is invoking the civic pride of his sponsors
to encourage the sense of competition and boosterism


62
that were unspoken motives for the work. In his annual
report to the Board, Jeancon adds to this his comments
on the necessity of extensive work by the Society since
there was pressure from all sides.
For years Colorado had been the place of exploi-
tation of outside institutions and even foreign
governments have helped themselves to our anti-
quities and now, at last, it seems that we are to
do our own work and gather our own treasures into
the safekeeping of our own treasure houses. The
field is there; the opportunity is waiting for
us . (Jeancon 1921c).
The treasures that Were collected, the arti-
facts from the summer's excavations, were split between
the two institutions. Accession note's in the files of
the anthropology department of the University of Denver
record the provenience of their pieces. .
The published report for 1921 (Jeancon 1922a)
was widely distributed. As a result, Jeancon reported
increased inquiries from students and scholars (Jeancon
1922b).
Charles E. Mitton's Journal
of the 1921 Season
This journal is the only copy of field notes
from the Pagosa-Piedra seasons. It is centered around
the daily activities of Mitton himself but also dis-
cusses major finds of other crew members. A thorough
examination of the information within it combined with


63
the published report will provide additional provenience
for some of the artifacts from the season. It should
also help to reconstruct a more complete picture of
the prehistoric inhabitants of the region through its
clear exposition of the order of excavation and further
detail on the excavated sites themselves.
The 1922 Season
The 1922 field season was once again a joint
effort of the SHNHS and the University of Denver, and
Renaud's title was now professor of archaeology. Jean-
con was the director with Frank Roberts designated as
his assistant. Other crew members were Henry Roberts
(Frank's brother), Paul Clark, Charles Fairlamb, Knute
Kirkgaard, Arthur Hiner, Warren Strickland, Owen Cutler,
and Loren Wagstaff, with Joseph Galloway as cook
(Roberts 1922). They left Denver June 12, arriving at
Chimney Rock June 20 (Jeancon 1922c).
Activities for this summer included additional
excavations at houses on the Pargin Ranch, continued
excavations on the large pueblo, investigating ruins in
the area along the river between the Devil Creek/Piedra
confluence and the point of Stollsteimer Mesa, and
surveying activities in the region. Jeancon explored
the Piedra valley more fully and spent three days along


64
the San Juan River (Jeancon 1922c). From August 2nd
until the 9th he took a "flying trip" to Chaco Canyon
(Jeancon 1922b), saw Aztec Ruin, and visited Fewkes'
excavation and stabilization work at Mesa Verde.
While Jeancon was away, Roberts was in charge
of the excavations. On Upper Pargin Ranch on the
benches of the river below the Chimney Rock mesa, the
crew excavated parts of three sites that were labeled
Piedra's 1, 2, and 3 (Roberts 1924a). At the large
pueblo, they dug the west kiva as well as some of the
rooms between the two kivas.
Jeancon's analysis of the pottery for the year
included a tentative correlation between broadly
described pottery types and architectural development
(Jeancon 1924b).
Jeancon returned from this expedition with a
long list of recommendations that was part of his
preliminary report for the season (Jeancon 1922c).
The influence of Jesse Walter Fewkes' extensive
stabilization and rebuilding activities at Mesa Verde
may be seen in Jeancon's suggestion that no more work
be done on the large ruin until the walls could be
repaired and capped. The major difficulty in this
would be transplanting enough water to the mesa top
for mixing the mortar. He proposed the need for a


65
road, and suggested that the Society should purchase a
reliable truck. Commenting on what had apparently been
some problems with his University of Denver student
crew, he said,
As a last suggestion I would ask that no. more
University students be used who are to have
school credits in payment of their services.
Let them be paid the same as any other laborers.
When they first get to camp they are not physi-
cally fit to do a full day's work and by the time
that they are fit they are tired out and want to
go home (Jeancon 1922c).
After this statement, Jeancon praised Frank Roberts as
a good assistant and Henry Roberts and Paul Clark as
helpful also. This was the final year of the Univer-
sity's co-sponsorship of these expeditions and was the
last year that Jeancon had such a large crew.
The 1923 Season
Jeancon and Roberts headed two separate expedi-
tions during the summer of 1923. With financial
resources at the time too limited to field the usual
large excavation party, it was determined that Frank
Roberts would head a survey team to map the southern
part of the state between Pagosa Springs and the Utah
border. Roberts took with him his brother Henry and
another crew member from the previous year, Paul Clark.
Jeancon was appointed director of a National Geographic


66
expedition to collect core samples from wooden beams in
ruins throughout the northern portions of New Mexico
and Arizona. This was called the "beam" expedition
(Jeancon 1923a). In order to participate, Jeancon,
with Board approval, took a four-month unpaid leave of
absence from his position as Curator at the Society.
It was the salary savings gained by his leave that
allowed the Department of Archaeology and Ethnology to
employ Roberts and his crew for the survey (Jeancon
1923c) .
The survey expedition was intended to lay the
groundwork for an archaeological map of southwestern
Colorado. Roberts (1925) wanted to determine the
extent of the ruins in the region and to place them in
the cultural sequence of the entire Southwest (see
Figures 5, 6, 7, 8). The team explored the San Juan
as far as the Animas and many tributaries of the San
Juan including the Piedra, La Plata, and Johnson,
McElmo and Mancos Canyons (Roberts 1925), making
sherd collections at each site (Roberts 1924b). They
determined that the Piedra River valley was the most
densely settled in that part of the San Juan drainage,
and they found considerable evidence of jacal construc-
tion techniques in the area (Roberts 1925, 1930).








Figure 8
Site locations in the southwestern corner of
Colorado (from Roberts 1925:56)
-j
o


71
They conducted an excavation at a site on the
Stollsteimer Mesa and, found among other artifacts,
three duck-shaped pottery pieces. Jeancon summarized
the survey by saying they located "hundreds upon
hundreds" of ruins (Jeancon 1923a).
Jeancon made a formal report on the beam expedi-
tion to the National Geographic Society; a manuscript
copy of it is in Manuscript Collection #343 along with
sketch maps that seem to locate the samples taken, the
proposal for the method of conducting the expedition,
and a suggested itinerary.
Roberts (1925) summarized his season's work,
observing that what he and Jeancon called the "pithouse"
culture (actually Pueblo I and II sites and including
semi-subterranean and surface construction) was widely
distributed and that the occupational sites in the
Piedra district are quite different from those in the
Montezuma valley area. He proposed further investi-
gations on the development of "pithouses" and their
context within the Southwest.
During the winter of 1923-24, Jeancon was
granted another leave, this time due to illness. He
was apparently instructed by his doctor to travel to
a lower altitude (Department of Archaeology and Eth-
nology 1924), and he spent four months in Arizona and


72
California. During this time he visited other institu-
tions and gave a number of talks on his work in Colorado.
Frank Roberts, continuing as Jeancon's assistant, main-
tained the department in the Curator's absence.
The Society's Board of Directors in August of
1923 requested from Jeancon a plan for the Society's
archaeological work that was printed in Colorado
Magazine the following March (Jeancon 1924a). In it he
recommends enlarging the anthropological exhibition
area, expanding the collecting focus from American
anthropology to a worldwide one, and suggests the
purchase of necessary furnishings for his department,
including lab space and photographic equipment. Field
work would continue to concentrate on unknown areas of
the state to broaden information. A road up Chimney
Rock was again recommended to facilitate the stabili-
zation of the large ruin: "It would be criminal to
continue excavations here without repairing the walls,
as in a few years the ruins would be completely
demolished" (Jeancon 1924a: 132). But of primary
importance, he felt, was the need to raise an endowment
for the archaeological work, and he proposed the creation
of a trust committee to fund raise. "In conversation
with some of the foremost archaeologists of the times,
they . have said that they have kept out of the


73
field [of Colorado] from purely ethical reasons"
(Jeancon 1924a: 133). Jeancon evidently felt that if
the Society's archaeological work did not expand in
scope, territory would be lost to groups invading from
outside the state.
The 1924 Season
The plan for 1924 was to continue the mapping
work of 1923. A month was to be spent at the foot of
Chimney Rock Mesa exploring the Piedra River sites where
Jeancon intended to excavate an entire mound rather
than just a part of a group. The next month would be
spent in traveling north of the Dolores area and up
the Escalante and Paradox Valleys. They also expected
to go to Moffat County where they had reports of ruins
(Roberts 1924b). The expedition members were Jeancon
and Frank and Henry Roberts.
Excavations
Excavations were conducted on Stollsteimer Mesa,
beginning with the complete excavation of a house that
Roberts had begun in 1923. Little was found, as Jeanson
said, "only a mass of broken pottery." Surface growth .
was cleared from a large mound by a scraper and a team.
This was named site A on the map of the summer's work,


though that map has not been located. The site was
apparently a large building, approximately 20 feet by
40 or 50 feet, with one long roof supported by beams
laid upon pillars of adobe-mortared boulders. Little
pottery was found in the interior, most of it coming
from the roof fill. Seven more sites were excavated
on the mesa, but only one yielded any definite informa
tion. This one seems to have had some low stone walls
Since there was considerable adobe in .the fill, the
major portion of the walls was probably of adobe
construction. Pottery associated with this site was
of a later period.
Site D had puddled adobe walls outlining three
contiguous rooms. One room had several whole early
pots arranged purposefully within it, and another room
the largest, had two floors three feet apart and each
floor had a pot upon it. A fish figure was found at
this site, which is close to the location of several
duck figures found in the 1923 season (Roberts 1925).
Site E had no discernible walls' but was indicated as a
low mound. Within-were four burials, three of them
(two infants and an adult) just six inches below the
surface and associated with a clay human face, the
fourth under the floor level and associated with a
decorated bowl. The skull of this fourth burial was


75
the subject of an unpublished paper by E. B. Renaud of
the University of Denver (Renaud 1924).
Jeancon observed that the sites on Stoll-
steimer Mesa differed in some ways from those on Harlan
and Pargin Ranches. He believed that some of the mesa-
top sites may have been the remains of summer agricul-
tural habitations. These sites were later in date,
had stone walls, or perhaps were adobe on a stone
foundation. The second type of remains on the mesa
was earlier in date, within Jeancon's the second or third
phase of architectural development (Jeancon 1922a) and
"the plaster applied to the native earth, the pottery,
the typical pithouse adobe roofing and general appear-
ance of the rooms were enough to place these remains in
their proper place" (Jeancon n.d.a).
In the discussion of agricultural housing,
Jeancon notes that he had observed no evidence of an
irrigation system on the mesa, but that it was quite
possible such remains had silted up. Considerable
movement of soil occurs, and he said that a ruin that
had been excavated on Harlan Ranch to a depth of six
feet in 1921 was by 1924 completely covered by silt
washed down from higher levels to the extent that "not
a trace of a ruin site could be found." Such deposi-
tional activity, whether it has occurred on a regular


76
basis since the area was abandoned prehistorically or
is of more recent occurrence, has considerable ramifi-
cations for the observation and preservation of ruins
in the area.
The Mapping Project
With the desire to define the culture areas of
the prehistoric groups living in Colorado, the 1924
expedition team traveled more than 3,500 miles crossing
into Utah and New Mexico as necessary. With an interest
in petroglyphs, Jeancon noted and photographed them as
they were discovered. A report on such remains was
written as a part of the 1924 article; however, the
manuscript of this report does not remain with the
mapping and excavation portion of the manuscript. It
was published in Colorado Magazine as a separate
article, "Pictographs of Colorado" (Jeancon 1926).
Jeancon determined from the summer's work that
in Colorado, the areas of greatest site density were
in Archuleta, La Plata, and Montezuma counties and
that the pithouse culture, as he termed it, extended
into New Mexico as far south as Albuquerque but was
not evident in Utah. Within these boundaries, sites
could be found along every water course.
The expedition team explored Paradox and
Escalante Canyons in western Colorado, responding to


77
reports of ruins in those areas. The attempt to locate
ruins in Escalante Canyon was not successful, but in
Paradox Canyon in Montrose county, they spent three
days excavating some sites on a natural mound in the
northwestern end of the canyon.. At the base of the
mound were two springs that had been used historically
by the Utes for ceremonials, but Jeancon determined the
ruins were not of Ute origin. There were quite a few
reports around the valley of black and white pottery
sherds turned up with the plow, and one farmer had
found a skeleton.
On the mound itself, surface artifacts included
a lot of lithic debitage, and residents reported finding
"arrow and spear heads." The few potsherds were of good
Montezuma Valley black and white ware and poorly made
grayware. Jeancon found these ruins confusing, with
no clear walls and pottery only in one level. The
surface had stone wall courses under which was one to
two feet of fill. Under the fill was a mass of burned
adobe that Jeancon determined to be fallen walls. This
level was followed by a layer of "house dirt" containing
potsherds, bone, chipped stone, three bone awls, a lot
of charcoal, and burned wood fragments. Underneath
was a floor. The final level was another of fill.


78
Two features he thought to be shrines were
investigated. In the first
. . stones were placed in an irregular circle
and in the middle was a large block of sandstone
with four horizontal lines and one oblique con-
necting them. The interior diameter of the shrine
was a little less than eighteen inches. . . The
other shrine had no stone in it and was only a
circle of small broken slabs of native sandstone
(Jeancon n.d.a).
Excavations under the centerpiece of the first shrine
found ashes and "blow sand."
Jeancon concluded that these sites were summer
agricultural settlements and that they were the most
northerly extension of the prehistoric southwestern
culture.
Artifacts
In all of his reports Jeancon discussed material
findings separately from the excavations. This approach
has the effect of further separating each artifact from
its context and makes a comprehensive picture of the
material recovered from each site difficult. In addi-
tion, Jeancon used a large number of illustrations in
his analysis, but for the unpublished report, the photo-
graphs and figures have become separated from the manu-
script. Without the illustrations, it is not possible
to match artifacts with current catalog numbers and
thus easily locate them in the Society's storage area.


79
I have discussed those artifacts that are easily
described and have some provenience in the text in the
section on excavations.
For the 1924 report, it is not clear whether
or not Jeancon includes artifacts from the mapping
expedition in his discussion. In at least one instance,
he does, and many of the other pieces are not at all
identified by source. Based on the order of the report
alone, Paradox Canyon artifacts are not a part of the
discussion.
The pottery from 1924 was typical for the
sites in the Piedra River region and included a large
number of seed jars, some bowls, and pitchers.
Basketry-impressed pottery was common. Bone awls,
hammers and flaking tools, projectile points, two axe
heads, and two metates complete the inventory for the
Chimney Rock area. A cache of mineral stones possibly
representing curing activities was found with a burial
on the top of a mesa three miles west of Rosa, New
Mexico. These stones are described in detail and
include two mortars and pestles, a piece of micaceous
schist, a greenish-blue stone, slate, a scoop-shaped
piece of feldspar, agatized wood, and a quartz pebble.


80
Summary
Following the 1924 season, Jeancon felt that
there was enough information to create an archaeologi-
cal map of Colorado. Whether or not Jeancon or Roberts
actually compiled such a comprehensive map is not
known; one has not been found in the Society's collec-
tions or documentary files.
He again argued that no more excavation be done
until "repair and conservation" had taken place at
those sites that had already been excavated, and he
cited Fewkes work at Mesa Verde.
Future work and follow-up, he thought, should
include more intensive mapping of local areas since
general cultural boundaries had now been set. He
suggested that the collections of surface sherds from
the survey be analyzed. His final suggestion was that
a ruin as important, interesting and scenic as Chimney
Rock should become a state park (Jeancon n.d.a).
Other Events of 1924
As seemed to be his practice, Jeancon wrote a
report on the season's expedition and even had it
ready for the printer (Jeancon 1925), but it was
apparently never published. As mentioned earlier,
though, the pictographs portion of the report became a
separate article in Colorado Magazine (Jeancon 1926).


81
In the unpublished report, Jeancon did not
cover the two weeks at the end of the summer that were
spent exploring claims of ruins in Moffat county.
They did find ruins, but not what they had been
expecting. "It was found that our first informant
was either misinformed or was romancing. No such
extensive remains as he described were located, and
we were unable to find anyone who had even heard of
them" (Jeancon 1924c). They did find masonry corncribs
associated with chipped stone but were astounded at the
difficulty of the terrain.
Following the 1924 season, Frank H. H. Roberts
left his association with the Society to enter Harvard
with a Hemenway Fellowship to work for a degree in
archaeology. He was later associated with the Smith-
sonian Institution and, among others, excavated the
Lindenmeier site.
The 1925 Season
The chronic problem with short funds for
expedition purposes reached a crisis in May of 1925
when the overextended state legislature had no money
for the third class of state institutions. This
included the Society. In his monthly report for June,
Jeancon (1925b) describes the situation and says that


82
he spent most of the month fund-raising. With the help
of members of the Board who were also, members of the
Denver Chamber of Commerce (Jeancon n.d.b), a subscrip-
tion was raised and the annual expedition set off
July 2 (Jeancon 1925c).
The expedition, consisting of Jeancon, Henry B.
Roberts, Ralph Kenyon, and Robert Shattuck, returned to
Chimney Rock with the intention of answering some of the
questions that had been prompted by the work of previous
years. Two structures were excavated in the Harlan Ranch
area, near where some of the first season's work was
done. They were a tower-like structure they called the
cobblestone tower and what was termed the Plaza Grande,
a dance plaza and surrounding habitations (Figure 9).
Plaza Grande
After the plaza area was cleared of sage growth
it was excavated one-half at a time beginning in the
southern hemisphere (Figure 10). The basin of the
plaza area was 20 feet wide and lined with cobble-
stones which were covered with an adobe floor four to
six inches thick.
Sloping upward from this paved circle, which had
well-defined limits, was a sloping terrace five
feet in width. The slope was not more than a
thirty degree angle. Running horizontally from
this, and plainly evident in many places, was
the bench extending three feet and six inches to


Figure 9
1925 excavations


N.
6r(^('nAl seal* y* n
jiui fo onr
Figure 10
Plan and profile of Plaza Grande, drawn hy Jeancon


85
the foot of a rise one foot in height, from the
top of which extended, again horizontally, the
main house level which was eighteen feet in
width (Jeancon n.d.b).
There were no other features within the plaza itself.
The house level was excavated by means of
trenching and apparently had two occupations. The
first, Jeancon said, were typical pithouses, and it
was with the fill from these excavations that the
inhabitants built up the bench around the plaza. The
later occupants built masonry structures from river
cobbles, many of which were scattered about the site.
Jeancon believed that these occupants smoothed over the
site, obscuring evidence of the earlier habitations
and making interpretation difficult for archaeologists.
The pithouses seem to have been roughly
contiguous. In. one of them, D-l on Figure 10, the :
excavators were able to identify a few features. The
structure was roughly circular with supporting posts
around the periphery. There were roof supports
projecting from side walls. This room, with adobe-
plastered walls, had two steps from surface level
down into the living area.
Another pithouse showed evidence of a tremendous
fire: its roof beams and adobe had been turned a bright
red. The structure was apparently unoccupied at the
time since few artifacts were found.


86
Clear remains of a masonry house, the secondary
occupation, were exposed in only one case, on the east
side of the plaza. Known as Room A, it was rectangular
in shape with walls oriented north/south and east/west.
In the middle of the room was a large posthole and
another was located on the exterior of the building at
the northeast corner.
From the remaining indications of the secondary
occupation, Jeancon assigned it to his fourth phase of
the architectural development (Jeancon 1922a), or,
that with contiguous rooms above surface. He noted
that potsherds with the ruins verified this.
The Cobblestone Tower
The cobblestone tower was located on the point
of the mesa southwest of the Plaza Grande and about one
mile up the river from the isolated tower that was
excavated in the 1921 season. This tower, though, was
part of a large room block constructed of cobblestone
foundations and horizontal sandstone slabs and floored
with sandstone. That the tower and the houses were
contemporary was shown by the potsherds and other arti-
facts, "just as it was in the secondary occupation of
Plaza Grande"(Jeancon n.d.b). The room area was only
partially excavated.


87
The tower itself was constructed on a site that
had such a steep slope that the builders buttressed one
portion of the foundation with- large boulders, putting
it on the same horizontal plane as the mesa top and the
other rooms.
The inside diameter is, roughly 16'6". . The
walls are extremely thick and irregular. In some
cases they were all of three feet wide and in
other cases somewhat narrower. . The present
depth of the room varies from two feet to a frac-
tion under four feet (Jeancon n.d.b).
The mound on which the tower was built appears
to have been terraced, with steps 8 to 12 inches high,
by cementing boulders in adobe. Within the tower were
two mealing bins with platforms for the manos; two were
found in place.
Other Excavations
Southeast of the tower site, and about a mile
/
away, was another large mound with one of the largest
trash heaps in the area. In 1921, Colton and Palmer
had discovered a burial and some small jars in what
were essentially pothunting activities. This site
received some attention in the 1925 season, and at
that time burial and a bowl were found.
Just east of Plaza Grande was another cobble-
stone tower associated with a large site. This


tower was not excavated, but one area of the ruin was
tested with "nothing new" (Jeancon n.d.b).
The mesa top around Plaza Grande was covered
with ruins over an area of about five acres. There
were two or three more circular areas like Plaza
Grande and room groupings of all sizes. One of these
was excavated in 1921. "The whole area . has been
pretty thoroughly explored by the various expeditions
of the society" (Jeancon n.d.b).
Artifacts
The pottery collection was not as large for
this season. For the first time in a report, Jeancon
makes a comment about the treatment of potsherds.
In the course of an excavation every sherd is
carefully kept and during the evenings in camp
and on Sundays all of this material is gone over
and such pieces retained that may be of special
interest or that will permit of being restored.
Very often excellent specimens are obtained in
this way and valuable material is saved (Jeancon
n.d.b).
Broken pot bottoms from utility ware were
found with two burials. Other pieces are individually
described, but there are no photographs attached to
this report, neither are there any catalog numbers,
making identification difficult. In addition, even
less provenience is given with this material than is
usual.


89
A large number of bone implements were found.
These included awls, flakers, and hammers. Projectile
points and a beautiful chalcedony knife are described.
Unusual artifacts included a base for holding prayer
plumes and a miniature stone maul; both were found with
burials.
Summary
Jeancon believed he had verified the architec-
tural chronology that he had recorded in the first
season (1922a), had developed a ceramic chronology to
complement it, and, though not discussed in depth, had
applied both as a dating technique.
Once again, the report for 1925 was written
but not published. This manuscript is less complete
than that from 1924, since the photographs were
apparently chosen but were not even numbered and
aligned with the text. It is therefore diffficult to
follow some of the descriptions. Two drawings are
available for this report: a ground plan and cross
section of the Plaza Grande showing the test trenches
that were made in the occupational levels and a detail
of the masonry house A (Figures 10 and 11).-


w.
?
Figure 11
House A in Plaza Grande, drawn by Jeancon


CHAPTER V
THE POTENTIAL OF COLLECTIONS OF THE
COLORADO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The archaeological collections recovered in
excavations conducted by the Colorado Historical Society
are stored and exhibited at the Colorado State Museum
in Denver. In Chapters III and IV, I discussed the
history of those expeditions. In this chapter, I will
review the previous work done on them, examine the
biasing events known to have occurred since excavation,
explain their accessibility, review the new information
located by my investigations, and make recommendations
for continued work with these collections.
Previous Work
Over the years since the expeditions, an
unknown number of students and interns have restored,
cleaned, cataloged, or otherwise worked with these
artifacts. Additionally, some of the collections have
been subjected to more comprehensive analysis by
scholars.
In conjunction with the National Park Service's
Wetherill Mesa survey and excavations at Mesa Verde in


92
1964, Carolyn Osborne borrowed and analyzed a great
<
deal of the Wetherill-Willmarth perishable artifacts
as part of her work with similar artifacts from the
project. This analysis was never published but the
final report is filed at the Mesa Verde Museum. The
Long House report also contains a comprehensive chapter
on the perishables that the project had excavated from
that site (Osborne 1980). The Wetherill-Willmarth
textile material received further analysis when it was
included in Kent's (1983) survey of prehistoric south-
western textiles.
Rohn's report on the excavations at Mug House
(Rohn 1971) mentions that Charles Mason's report (Mason
1918) is substantially verified by the excavations,
though Rohn does not specify any details. Rohn made
extensive use of the Wetherill-Willmarth collections
and of Nordenskiold's report (Nordenskiold 1893) for
comparisons with newly excavated artifacts. Such
comparisons can be particularly useful when only frag-
ments of artifacts are retrieved.
In 1981, James Hummert, a physical anthro-
pologist then associated with the Universtiy of Colo-
rado, conducted an analysis of all the Society's
osteological collections including those from the
Wetherill-Willmarth collections. His description of


93
the material was intended to inventory and describe it
to aid the Society in collection management and to
stimulate other research with the material. Hummert
also summarizes other work done with the osteological
collection. The report is on file in the material
culture office, and a copy is cataloged in the Society's
library.
After leaving Colorado in 1924, Frank Roberts
had received his Ph.D. from Harvard, participated in
excavations under Neil Judd at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico,
and directed the well-known excavation at Shabik'eschee
Village in the same canyon. Roberts returned to the
Pagosa-Piedra area in the summer of 1928, working under
the sponsorship of the Smithsonian, his employer. On
upper Stollsteimer Mesa, he excavated eighty houses,
two kivas, six circular depressions, and seven burial
mounds. He found most of the sites to be jacal villages
of Pueblo I date, but the later sites also were associ-
ated with a few small masonry rooms. Roberts' report
from that season (Roberts 1930) reviews previous work
done by Jeancon and Roberts with the Colorado Historical
Society and serves as an excellent summary. Roberts
completely revised Jeancon's classification of the
architectural development of the area leaving a strong
foundation for the work of later archaeologists.