Archaeology in the Southwest: To Collect or Not?

T.J. Ferguson, Archaeologist and Professor, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona
Don Whyte, Chief Ranger, Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Elysia Poon (Moderator), IARC program coordinator, School for Advanced Research

IARC Speaker Series, SAR Boardroom

Thursday, March 14, 2013, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Did you know it is illegal to collect pottery sherds and stone tools from public lands? Noted Southwest archaeologist T.J. Ferguson and Chaco Culture National Historical Park Chief Ranger Don Whyte discuss how to navigate the legalities surrounding archaeology in the Southwest and whether or not there is a way to be a responsible collector.

This lecture is part of the 2013 Speaker Series of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research. The series, titled Ethics, Aesthetics, and Preservation of the Arts, is geared toward individuals and institutions interested in collecting and working with cultural materials. Speakers will delve into the various legal and ethical issues surrounding art collecting and preservation, and offer some best-practice guidelines.

T. J. Ferguson is a professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where he edits the Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona. He also owns Anthropological Research LLC, a research company in Tucson, Arizona, that specializes in archaeological and ethnographic research needed for historic preservation, repatriation, and litigation of land and water rights. Ferguson holds a Masters of Community and Regional Planning (1986) and a PhD in Anthropology (1993) from the University of New Mexico. For three decades, he has conducted archaeological, ethnographic, and historical research of Pueblo and Apache tribes in the Southwest. He is the author of three books: A Zuni Atlas (1985, with E. Richard Hart), Historic Zuni Architecture and Society: An Archaeological Application of Space Syntax (1996), and History is in the Land: Multivocal Tribal Traditions in Arizona’s San Pedro Valley (2006, with Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh). He has also authored numerous articles and book chapters on the archaeology and cultural landscapes of the Southwest.

Don Whyte (Ute Mountain Ute) grew up in the heart of Ute (Mesa Verde) country in Towaoc, Colorado. Early on, Whyte’s parents made him aware of the cliff dwellings, Pueblo surface sites, and all the archaeological resources on his reservation. They felt that it was critical to know these resources despite the cultural taboos most of his tribal members observed.

In the late seventies, Whyte worked as a tribal tour guide for the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, where he conducted regular day tours and special request tours in the park. He then went on to work as a federal law enforcement officer/ US park ranger at Mesa Verde National Park (Yucca House National Monument), Hovenweep National Monument, Petroglyph National Monument, Petrified Forest National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Haleakala National Park, Death Valley National Park, and many other cultural resource-related national parks in the West. Currently, Whyte is chief ranger at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Sponsored by Anne Ray Charitable Trust

Follow us: