Conference Reports

75 Years After Snaketown – A Nod to the Past and an Eye Toward the Future 5–6 March 2010 at the University of Arizona and Arizona State Museum

Authors: {'first_name': 'Andrew', 'last_name': 'Christenson', 'middle_name': 'L.'}
Keywords: Article has no keywords

75 Years After Snaketown – A Nod to the Past and an Eye Toward the Future. 5–6 March 2010, at the University of Arizona and Arizona State Museum

Beginning in September 1934 and continuing into the following year, the Gila Pueblo Archaeological Foundation of Harold S. Gladwin began excavations at the Hohokam site of Snaketown (S-ko:ko'owik, Many Rattle-snakes) on the Gila River Indian Reservation (now Community). The work was directed by Emil W. Haury and became the defining point from which subsequent Hohokam archaeology was compared. Haury left the Foundation soon after and spent nearly thirty years at the University of Arizona, teaching and directing the State Museum. After retirement, in October 1964 and continuing into the following year, Haury renewed excavations at the site seeking to resolve issues, mostly chronological, which had arisen since the original excavations.

The conference program commemorated the 75th anniversary of the completion of the first Snaketown excavation and the 45th anniversary of the completion of the second. The evening session, coordinated by J. Jefferson Reid, included an introduction by Haury's widow, Agnese, with six members of the 1964–65 crew, and an overview of the Snaketown project by Raymond H. Thompson. A hoax played on Harold Gladwin by his stepson with a plaster Aztec figure was described by Emil Haury's son, Loren, and the figure itself was shown by Steve Hayden, son of the only crewmember on both Snaketown projects, Julian Hayden. Finally, Helga Teiwes described how she became the photographer of the expedition while still a foreign national.

Concurrent with the conference, the Arizona State Museum had a display of Hohokam pottery, Haury memorabilia, and films and slides pertaining to the expedition and Haury.

The following morning's program included broad-ranging illustrations of the impact of the project by three prominent Haury students – Patricia Crown, David Wilcox, and David Doyel. A panel discussion by a number of prominent Arizona archaeologists concluded the session. Unfortunately, none of the O'odham field crew from the 1964–65 season were present. Barnaby Lewis, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Gila River Indian Community, expressed the Community's unhappiness that the excavation took place at all and that the project was being commemorated by a conference. The Community has been in a dispute with the State Museum over the complete return of the Snaketown artefacts, most of which are now in their museum.

The conference ended with a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Kiva (formerly The Kiva), the Journal of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society.

photo of conference participants

Loren Haury, Agnese Haury, Alan Johnson, Susan Adams, Mary Ann Stein, Helga Tiewes, Jonathan Gill, Steven Hayden (not shown James Sciscenti).

Emil Haury memorabilia held by the Arizona State Museum Archives including the Viking Fund medal on the right.