Download Accidental archaeologist: memoirs of Jesse D. Jennings by Jesse David Jennings PDF

By Jesse David Jennings

Few archaeologists have had as nice an influence on American archaeology as Jesse Jennings. A founding father of nice Basin archaeology, professor of anthropology for greater than 40 years, founder and director of the Utah Museum of usual background, director of the Glen Canyon salvage
team and such well-known excavations as probability, Hogup, and Cowboy caves, Jesse Jennings is a legend within the archaeological occupation. Opinionated, rough-edged, direct, and insightful, Jennings takes readers from his formative years in New Mexico, Baptist university, via graduate institution on the collage of Chicago within the '30s, early specialist postings within the Southeast, the conflict years, paintings at the plains, Kaminaljuyu in Guatemala, and directly to his long tenure and influential paintings on the collage of Utah as archaeologist and mentor. Jennings concludes his memoirs with a glance on the present perform of archaeology.

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The life was comfortable: the family slept on the ground, bathed in streams, and bought groceries in the towns it passed through. Although there was a Coleman gas stove with two burners, cooking was sometimes done on an open fire when fuel was available. The entourage looked exactly like the first Okies waiting for the grapes of wrath. Even driving the dusty roads was a continuous challenge. In 1919 transcontinental automobile touring was not commonplace. There were no marked highways, at least on the route, uphill all the way, from Oklahoma City to Amarillo, Texas, and thence to Las Vegas, New Mexico, along the Pecos River, through Glorietta Pass to Santa Fe.

In 1957, an archaeological report that discussed in detail excavation strategy, procedures, mistakes, and the excavator's evolving understanding of the deposits, that reported systematically and in detail not only the artifacts but also such unimpressive scraps as twigs, leaves, seeds, chaff, bones, and even human feces, and that integrated those data within a broad chronological/regional/ecological/ethnographic context was a marvelous novelty. Danger Cave did all that; and, as a result, the ideas that emerged from Jennings's laboring (inductively, be it noted) through his mountain of excavated and comparative data were taken very seriously by the archaeological profession.

But the brightest memory is the plaza. Although fewer than today, even then there were colorfully dressed women from the nearby pueblos selling jewelry, pottery, carved objects, baskets, and many other things they had made. There was a constant colorful movement in the plaza except at siesta time, when activity was almost entirely shut down. During my exposure to the fascinating new Indian and Hispanic cultures, my father and his Alaskan partner were inspecting the forests and refining their plans.

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