Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA
Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July-October 2004Interactive Dig Elden Pueblo
Excavating Elden Pueblo

Photos courtesy Peter Pilles. Click on images for larger versions.

Bulletin Board
The board is now closed.

Who do I contact about volunteering for an Elden Pueblo dig?

We just finished our 24th season for the Arizona Archaeological Society field school, so you'll have to wait until next year to get involved with the field school. It'll be in late June to early July 2005.

Could you tell us about the artifact that you use for your project's logo?

Our logo is an effigy of a pregnant antelope, excavated by Fewkes in 1926 and now curated at the Smithsonian. It was Fewkes' favorite artifact from Elden Pueblo. He kept it in a wooden box under his bed at the Weatherford Hotel and he took with him to the various public talks he gave.

It is about 20 cm. long and is a pottery type known as Leupp Black-on-white. Leupp B/w (A.D. 1250-1300) is one of several pottery types that was traded to Elden Pueblo from the Little Colorado River Va Valley/Hopi Buttes area about 90 mi. to the northeast. Liquid could be poured from the mouth of the antelope, and there are attachments on the its head and tail by which the effigy could be suspended.

Fewkes thought this might be related to an early version of the Antelope Society, an important religious society at Hopi. The Antelope and Snake Societies are responsible for the famous "Snake Dance" ceremony. Fewkes was one of the first anthropologists to study and report on the ceremony. He spent portions of his summers between 1891 and 1897 documenting the Snake Ceremonies on all three Hopi Mesas and was actually initiated into the Antelope Society during that time.

Fewkes may have been on the right track about the importance of the effigy vessel, since there is evidence from other Elden Phase sites that religious societies similar to those of the Hopi and Zuni were present in the Sinagua culture by 1200.

Whatever its significance, it is unique, as I've never seen another effigy like it. Well, that's not exactly true.... A few years ago we discovered a sherd in Fewkes' backdirt pile that appears to be from another identical antelope vessel!

To see a photograph and line drawing of the antelope, as well as other pottery found by Fewkes, see "Decorative Designs on Elden Pueblo Pottery", Walter Hough, 1932, Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum, Vol. 81, and "Archeological Field-work in Arizona", J. Walter Fewkes, 1927, Explorations and Field-Work of the Smithsonian Institution in 1926, pp.207-232.

Previous pageNext page

InteractiveDig is produced by ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
© 2004 Archaeological Institute of America

Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA