GUNS, SNAKES, AND SPIRIT ANIMALS
Stories from the Field of Archeology
By Polly Schaafsma and Mavis Greer
Behind the scenes adventures in archeological field research and travel from the American West and Mesoamerica.
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Real-life dramas lurk behind the more familiar formal and structured content of archaeological literature. These untold tales reveal the personal experiences of the authors and the events encountered in the course of many decades of archaeological field work and travels throughout the Northern Plains, the American Southwest, and Mesoamerica. Some of them describe threatening encounters between landowners, stakeholders, and a public unsympathetic to archaeological pursuits. Close calls and drug-runners add to the potential risk of visiting rock art sites near the US/Mexican border. Other accounts explore the challenges of conducting rock art field work in adverse and demanding physical and social contexts. While these personal adventures are often shared between archaeologists over a beer, at parties and conferences, or around the campfire, they are seldom written down. Here are a few of these stories.
Polly Schaafsma is a Research Associate at the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her primary research interests are the art and cosmologies of the indigenous American Southwest and Mesoamerica. Her books include Indian Rock Art of the Southwest, and she is volume editor of Kachinas in the Pueblo World and New Perspectives on Pottery Mound Pueblo.
Mavis Greer is an archaeological consultant based in Wyoming. Her research interest is pre-contact archaeology of the Northern Plains of North America, with a focus on rock art, which is reflected in her publications in journals and book chapters. She is co-editor of Rock Art and Sacred Landscapes.
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