University of Virginia Library


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By Clyde Kluckhohn

This preliminary report on the excavations of the University of
New Mexico Field Session during August, 1937, is to be construed
strictly as a supplement to the previously published account of the 1936
field work.[1] Familiarity with this former monograph is presupposed,
and the endeavor will be to avoid repetition here, presenting only new
facts or new interpretations. To such topics as "The History of
Research in the Chaco Canyon" and "The Natural Landscape," we have
nothing substantial to add. The plates here published may appear to
neglect certain subjects which would normally be more copiously illustrated.
But here again our purpose is to supplement and we have,
therefore, rejected photographs which would have tended to duplicate
those already published. Even so, considerations of expense sharply
delimited the greater richness of illustration which we should have

Since Bc 50 had already been reported upon in a rather detailed
manner and since there was little in Bc 51 which was markedly different,
it seemed proper to reduce the descriptive text to a succinct
form, avoiding the proliferation of detail which would have been
necessary in picturing a less familiar and more distinctive cultural
variant. Minutiae of room measurements, for example, have not been
systematically presented in all completeness. The general features are
apparent from the plot of excavations (Map 1) and certain concrete
details which seemed of significance are set forth in the text. If a
specialist ever has need of a particular measurement not here published,
the original field notes (on deposit in the Department of Anthropology,
University of New Mexico) will always be available to him.

For such reasons, it seemed possible to make the report on the
excavation as such and on the artifacts recovered comparatively brief.
The opportunity, therefore, of setting some of the artifacts from Bc 51
in a wider distributional context was particularly inviting. Dr. Brand
has, over a long period (both in his own publications and in those of
his students), given proof of the significance of rigorous distributional
studies and, at a staff conference at the end of the 1937 excavation
season, he suggested this as an engaging possibility for this report.
Other staff members were in hearty agreement for, in informal discussions


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during the field session, we had all lamented the fact that
there had been little effort made to assemble the evidence bearing on
the distribution (both in time and space) of artifact types other than
those—notably pottery and architectural forms—whose sensitivity had
been clearly demonstrated. We felt it would be useful to make a beginning
with such groups as bone implements, coiled basketry, ground
and pecked stone artifacts for two central reasons: (1) even if the
researches were not exhaustive, some clues should emerge as to the
utility of types from these classes as cultural diagnostics, (2) excavators
would, perhaps, be stimulated to record more fully and more
scrupulously the details bearing on these somewhat neglected aspects
of the cultural inventory. Dr. Roberts has called attention to the
need for distributional maps of axes, bone tools, and the like.[2]

A publication incorporating such distributional analyses seemed,
also, peculiarly appropriate as emanating from a field school, the primary
purpose of which was the training of graduate students in
archaeology. The students had had field experience—let them now gain
experience in working up material for publication and, in particular,
in seeing in a ramified chronological and chorological framework the
objects which they had helped excavate. Actually, the availability of
student personnel did not permit the assignment of all topics to
students of the 1937 Chaco Field School. Miss Whittemore and Messrs.
Bohannon and Osborne were members of the 1937 Chaco Field Session
and Mr. Toulouse a former member. Messrs. Tschopik and Woodbury
(now a graduate student at Columbia University) were students at
Harvard University who had done field work in the Southwest and who
had special qualifications for the problems they undertook.

Certain almost inevitable limitations were imposed upon the quality
of the report by the fact that the staff of the excavation and the
student collaborators have been widely scattered geographically during
the period of the writing and editing of this monograph. The complete
collaboration which can come only from sustained daily contacts
has been out of question. The editors have tried to produce consistency
as regards nomenclature, citation, and the like, but we hope to be
forgiven if a few errors are discovered. The amount of correspondence
involved has been prodigious, and we have tried by this means to bring
about something approaching uniformity with reference to the fundamental
conceptual scheme and literature covered. We are quite aware,
however, that this end has not been attained with the rigor which
would have been desirable. For instance, while most of the collaborators
have consulted essentially every publication consulted by any
other co-author, this has not been possible in every case because of


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other inescapable demands upon time and because of inadequate library

The purpose, then, of this report is two-fold: (1) to supplement the
earlier publication in providing as full and accurate as possible a
report on the excavation of mounds 50-51 through 1937; (2) to examine
the significance of certain groups of objects recovered in the light of the
distribution of artifacts of those classes in the Southwest, generally
both in space and in time. It is for the profession to judge as to
whether these studies were worth the very considerable effort which
was expended upon them. In one or two cases the preponderance of
the actual evidence amassed appears to be of negative character—
that is, certain artifact types seem to turn up in almost every region
and in almost every period, so far as we can tell at present. On the
other hand, every analysis suggests, I think, at least one (and in some
cases a number) of hitherto unrecognized clues as to "type fossils" of
regional and period cultures.

When others have pursued these investigations more extensively
and intensively and carried them out for other topics, Southwestern
archaeologists will be better able to guard against the dangers of
inference from a limited number of criteria (however valuable each
criterion has been). We shall also be in a position to explore realistically
the adherences, the "complexes" of culture items and traits, and
thus to reveal far more securely and distinctly the cultural history of
the Southwest and the processual dynamics of that history.


Brand, et al., 1937. This dealt with the rooms and kivas of Bc 50. During the
1937 season, Miss Nan Glenn excavated a portion of the Bc 50 substructure (largely
under the supervision of Dr. Hawley and Mr. Senter). Since the present report deals
primarily with Bc 51 rooms and kivas and the objects found therein, Miss Glenn's
section is published as an appendix.


Roberts, 1935, p. 28.


The attempt has been to cover fairly comprehensively the literature through
1938, but it has been impossible to make changes and additions in accord with publications
which became available only in the early months of 1939.