The Archaeology of Navajo Origins

The Archaeology of Navajo Origins

The Archaeology of Navajo Origins

The Archaeology of Navajo Origins

Excerpt

This volume is derived from a symposium entitled "Changing Perceptions of Navajo Culture: The Archaeology of the Pre-Fort Sumner Period" presented at the 58th meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1993. Although interest in Navajo material remains began early in this century, Southwestern archaeology has been, and continues to be, dominated by studies of the Anasazi, Hohokam, and Mogollon. Navajo studies have usually been conducted by cultural anthropologists and only rarely have involved Navajo history prior to the reservation period.

The little knowledge that exists about the Navajo prior to A.D. 1868 has not been summarized in a single volume since the early 1960s. Discussions and data concerning Navajo archaeology are uncommon, and usually have been confined to the cultural resource management "gray literature." Thus, interested scholars have encountered gaps in the data that could be filled only by long hours of library searching, letter writing, and report purchasing.

A dramatic expansion of interest in and research on Navajo archaeological sites within the last decade is forcing archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians to reevaluate their views on Navajo culture, origins, and interaction with non-Navajos prior to the Fort Sumner incarceration. Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Management legislation has prompted examination of many Navajo sites, and the resulting data have yet to be synthesized. The papers in this volume attempt to fill some of that void. They reflect the increasing interest among scholars and the Navajo in addressing questions involving the origins and history of the United States' largest Native American group.

All of the papers discuss archaeological data, but most incorporate historical and ethnographic information as well. One of the goals of the volume has been to utilize a source of information often ignored by archaeologists: the Navajo themselves. Several of the papers incorporate the . . .

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