Dr. W.H. Wills Presents Chaco Canyon and the University of New Mexico: 90 years of Discovery


Start Date: Oct 10, 2019 - 07:30pm

Location: Anthropology Lecture Hall 163

On Thursday, October 10 at 7:30 pm in the Anthropology Lecture Hall, room 163, Dr. W.H. Wills will present his talk Chaco Canyon and the University of New Mexico: 90 years of  Discovery.  Dr. Wills will discuss the ongoing exploration of UNM researchers at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park. Professor Wills has first-hand experience of several decades of the history of the relationship between UNM and Chaco, first as a student and then as a faculty member at UNM.

The UNM Department of Anthropology has been conducting field schools and research at Chaco Canyon National Historical Monument since 1929.  The history of southwestern archaeology, Chaco Canyon, and the University of New Mexico are deeply intertwined, largely through Edgar Lee Hewett, the first UNM Anthropology department chair. Dr. Hewett was instrumental in the passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906 that gave protection to archaeological resources on federal land.  He saw a need for such a law to protect places like Chaco Canyon from profiteering relic hunters seeking artifacts for private museums.  President Theodore Roosevelt designated Chaco Canyon as a National Monument in 1907. 

The first UNM field school in Chaco Canyon was led by Hewett in 1929.  In 1969, John Corbett, an alumni of the early Chaco Canyon field schools, was instrumental in leading a joint National Parks Service/University of New Mexico research program in Chaco Canyon, known as the Chaco Center and directed by field school alumni Robert Lister.

This lecture is free and open to the public.