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Prehistory, Personality, and Place

By J. Jefferson Reid and Stephanie M. Whittlesey

Publication Year: 2010

When Emil Haury defined the ancient Mogollon in the 1930s as a culture distinct from their Ancestral Pueblo and Hohokam neighbors, he triggered a major intellectual controversy in the history of southwestern archaeology, centering on whether the Mogollon were truly a different culture or merely a “backwoods variant” of a better-known people. In this book, archaeologists Jefferson Reid and Stephanie Whittlesey tell the story of the remarkable individuals who discovered the Mogollon culture, fought to validate it, and eventually resolved the controversy.

Reid and Whittlesey present the arguments and actions surrounding the Mogollon discovery, definition, and debate. Drawing on extensive interviews conducted with Haury before his death in 1992, they explore facets of the debate that scholars pursued at various times and places and how ultimately the New Archaeology shifted attention from the research questions of cultural affiliation and antiquity that had been at the heart of the controversy. In gathering the facts and anecdotes surrounding the debate, Reid and Whittlesey offer a compelling picture of an academician who was committed to understanding the unwritten past, who believed wholeheartedly in the techniques of scientific archaeology, and who used his influence to assist scholarship rather than to advance his own career.

Prehistory, Personality, and Place depicts a real archaeologist practicing real archaeology, one that fashioned from potsherds and pit houses a true understanding of prehistoric peoples. But more than the chronicle of a controversy, it is a book about places and personalities: the role of place in shaping archaeologists’ intellect and personalities, as well as the unusual intersections of people and places that produced resolutions of some intractable problems in Southwest history.

Published by: University of Arizona Press

List of Figures

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pp. vi

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pp. vii-x

This book is about the history of the Mogollon controversy in Southwest archaeology—whether or not the ancient Mogollon culture was a distinctive cultural entity—and its resolution. It is a story that began in the mountains of New Mexico and ended in the mountains of Arizona, surely some of the most compelling places on earth. It also is about the re-...

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1. Prehistory, Personality, and Place

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pp. 1-8

This book traces the history of the Mogollon controversy in Southwest archaeology and the role that Emil W. Haury—discoverer and definer of the Mogollon culture—played in resolving that controversy. Haury was not a flamboyant archaeologist, and his archaeology lacked the temples, tombs, and treasures that most people associate with the thrill of archae-...

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2. Newton, Kansas

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pp. 9-19

The land on which Emil Walter Haury was born and that nurtured him through childhood and young manhood is a hard land, a place where the wind cuts like a knife and has whittled down the contours of topography to the bare bones. ...

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3. Arizona

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pp. 20-32

Haury was twenty-one in 1925, when he joined Cummings’s expedition at Cuicuilco on the outskirts of Mexico City. During the twelve-year period from 1925 to 1937, he rocketed from inexperienced undergraduate student to seasoned professional archaeologist and head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Arizona. ...

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4. Discovering the Mountain Mogollon

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pp. 34-44

Haury and Russell Hastings, another Gila Pueblo archaeologist, set out in the summer of 1931 to survey the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. The survey began as just another piece of Gladwin’s master plan to define the geographical boundaries of the Red-on-Buff culture, which only that year had been renamed the Hohokam. ...

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5. Defining the Mogollon Culture

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pp. 45-57

New Mexico—even the name is evocative, hinting of exotic lands improbably hidden deep in the American West. It is possibly the most quintessential southwestern place, capturing the essence of Pueblo cultures and Spanish Colonial history in a landscape of fierce light and red earth. Its houses and pueblo towns lie close to the land, clinging to sheer rock...

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6. The Gathering Storm of Controversy

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pp. 58-65

By the time The Mogollon Culture of Southwestern New Mexico appeared in 1936, Haury already had moved into new directions. In the winter of 1934–35, he had directed excavations at the monumental Hohokam site of Snaketown along the middle Gila River in the Phoenix area. Preparing the report of this work would occupy the next two years of his life ....

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7. Forestdale Valley, Arizona

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pp. 66-75

As head of the Anthropology Department and director of the Arizona State Museum, Haury was in a position to give expression to his established research interests in the Hohokam of the desert and the Mogollon of the mountains. He knew that the Arizona desert was not a congenial environment for fieldwork during the summer, the period of maximum field activity for university archaeologists. ...

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8. Alkali Ridge, Awat’ovi, and the Anasazi Frontier

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pp. 76-87

J. O. Brew was arguably the most provocative and vehement antagonist to the Mogollon concept. Like Haury, he was the product of a Harvard University education, and he would go on to a distinguished career at that institution. Brew’s opening attack in the controversy was his review of McGregor’s textbook Southwestern Archaeology in American Antiquity...

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9. Pine Lawn Valley, New Mexico

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pp. 88-94

In 1939, when Haury began his field school in the Forestdale Valley, Paul Sidney Martin of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History (Nash 2006) and his assistant, John B. Rinaldo, began a long-term program of site excavations run out of a field camp in the Pine Lawn Valley of west-central New Mexico (fig. 9.1). Today, the Martin and Rinaldo camp is gone,...

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10. The View from Santa Fe

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pp. 95-103

In this chapter, we comment on the unsung hero of the Mogollon controversy and a remarkable archaeologist in his own right—Erik K. Reed. Throughout the 1940s, Reed published papers on the Mogollon culture and the Mogollon controversy, and by the end of the decade had expanded the original concept into a new cultural entity that would resonate with...

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11. Point of Pines, Arizona

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pp. 104-112

The year 1946 was a pivotal one for the Mogollon controversy. The pro-Mogollonist and the anti-Mogollonist factions had established their positions, and the former had been busily compiling new data in support of their arguments. Haury had been at the University of Arizona for almost a decade. The war had ended, freeing personnel and funds for archaeo-...

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12. Crooked Ridge Village

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pp. 113-121

Perhaps by the end of the 1948 season, the strategic plan for resolving the Mogollon controversy was taking firmer shape in Haury’s mind. The scatter of brown plain ware and red ware on the surface of Crooked Ridge Village indicated an early village of substantial size, and several pit houses had been excavated late in the 1948 season. Haury’s next move was to put...

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13. Vernon, Arizona, the New Archaeology, and the Mogollon

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pp. 122-134

By the beginning of the 1960s, the Mogollon controversy was over for Haury and also for Martin and Rinaldo, the latter duo having moved their field of operation out of New Mexico and into Vernon, Arizona, where a new direction in archaeology would take shape and ultimately spill over into the discipline at large. ...

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14. Personality and Place in Prehistory

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pp. 135-148

The Mogollon controversy had ended in 1955, for all intents and purposes, with Wheat’s extraordinary tour de force, Mogollon Culture Prior to a.d. 1000. There would be a few minor resurgences as the Harvard contingent refused to concede defeat, but the controversy would never achieve the scale and importance that it assumed during the 1940s. ...

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pp. 149-152

Today, the Mogollon controversy, as it was envisioned, framed, and resolved by Haury, his students, and his colleagues, is over. Since the resolution of the controversy in 1955, scholarly interest in the Mogollon concept and its greater intellectual meaning has waxed and waned, but Mogollon archaeology has a remarkable ability to continue to inspire...

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Appendix: Excerpt from Pat Wheat’s Transcription of the Pecos Conference at Point of Pines, August 1948

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pp. 153-157

Martin: Is it fair to consider Mogollon a culture?
Haury: Hohokam and Anasazi have a number of characteristic features. It is not necessary that every group have as many distinguishing characteristics. The trait list for an Apache site will be small. ...


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pp. 159-172


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pp. 173-179

E-ISBN-13: 9780816501069
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816528639

Publication Year: 2010