restricted access 17: Walter W. Taylor in the Southwest
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299 The cultural Southwest has been defined as extending from“Durango, Colorado, to Durango, Mexico, and Las Vegas, New Mexico, to Las Vegas, Nevada” (Reed 1951: 428). Walter W. Taylor conducted two archaeological research projects within the cultural Southwest, the Coahuila Project, in 1937, 1939–1941, and 1947 (Taylor 1966a: 59–84; 1972b; 1988; 2003; Arratia 2008), and a Pueblo Ecology Study, in 1949, 1951–1952, and 1954 (Taylor 1958b). In addition to these two projects, he published a paper on the history of Southwestern archaeology (Taylor 1954) in the first and, to date, the last attempt to survey the entire field of Southwestern anthropology (Haury 1954). Finally, he published a paper (Taylor 1961) attempting to develop a genetic model to tie language families to archaeological complexes and what little physical anthropological data there were in western North America. Taylor’s Coahuila Project has been the focus of much attention, both for what he did and did not accomplish. He did, minimally, provide some information on site stratigraphy—much of it the work of the late Albert Schroeder—and a good deal of information on some of the textiles (Taylor 1988, 2003). He did not produce a “conjunctive” study of the sort he so loudly trumpeted in his A Study of Archeology (Taylor 1948), nor a full project report. Further discussion Walter W. Taylor in the Southwest Chapter seventeen Don D. Fowler Don D. Fowler 300 of the Coahuila Project is contained in Taylor (2003; see also Arratia 2008) and other chapters in this volume. This chapter focuses on his other Southwestern work. The Pueblo Ecology Study Background Taylor (2003: 1) began graduate work in anthropology at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in the fall of 1935. He had spent the summer excavating some Kayentan (Fig. 17.1) sites for the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) under the direction of Lyndon Hargrave, and worked there in 1936 and 1937 as well. In 1935, the Anthropology Department at UNM was in a state of transition . The department had been founded by Edgar Lee Hewett in 1927, but by 1935–1936 he was being eased out by the younger scholars he had helped hire, among them Leslie Spier, Donald Brand, and Clyde Kluckhohn (Fowler 2003). Taylor (2003) recounts that both Spier and Brand, especially the latter, pointed him toward, and helped facilitate, his work in northeastern Mexico (the Coahuila Project). Hewett had established an archaeological field school in Chaco Canyon in 1929. From 1935 on, Brand, Kluckhohn, and others in the department ran the field school, with various faculty members or guest faculty as field directors. Taylor was hired as foreman for the field school in 1938 and 1939. The 1939 field director was Frank Setzler, then curator of anthropology in the U.S. National Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Setzler had worked in the Big Bend country of Texas and suggested that Taylor could profitably work in Coahuila across the Rio Grande. A friend of Taylor’s, Walter C. Teagle, put up $2,500, which the Smithsonian administered as a research fund after naming Taylor a collaborator in anthropology of the National Museum (Taylor 2003: 4–5). AfterTaylorreturnedfromWorldWarII,hewasreappointedasaSmithsonian collaborator. The research fund was still extant and was renamed the Northern Mexico Archaeological Fund (Taylor 2003: 7); it may have been replenished by Taylor’s own money. After a “fiasco” in 1946 prevented him from getting to the field, Taylor was able to complete field work in 1947. The subsequent history of his Coahuila Project is told in Taylor (2003: 7–12). By 1949, Taylor was living in Santa Fe. He had revised his dissertation for publication (Taylor 1948) and turned his attention away from Coahuila to the Colorado Plateau.The archaeological cultures thereon had been intensively studied since the mid-1870s (Fowler 2000: 79–127, 140–143, 148–202, 275–320). The Pecos Classification (Kidder 1927), the famed Basketmaker I–III and Pueblo I– III sequence, provided a chronological framework; subsequent work had defined regional variants, minimally Chaco, Mesa Verde, Little Colorado, and Kayenta.A. V. Kidder (1936) had grouped the variants under the rubric “Anasazi.”1 301 Walter W. Taylor in the Southwest The Kayenta region lies within the northwestern section of the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and Utah (Fig. 17.1). The area is dominated on the north and west by Navajo Mountain and several large mesas, cut by deep saw-cut canyons that drain into the San Juan River (from both north and south), Glen Canyon...


Subject Headings

  • Taylor, Walter W. (Walter Willard).
  • Archaeology -- United States -- History.
  • Archaeologists -- United States -- Biography.
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