Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Camp Cibola (1888), the expedition's headquarters near Zuni

Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition occurred between 1886 and 1894 in the American southwest. Sponsored by Mary Tileston Hemenway, a wealthy widow and philanthropist, it was initially led by Frank Hamilton Cushing, who was replaced in 1889 by Jesse Walter Fewkes. It was considered to be a major scientific archaeological expedition, notable for the discovery of the prehistoric Hohokam culture. Until the 1930s, the expeditionary records were in storage. Emil Haury, a Harvard University student, published a monograph on Los Muertos in 1945, a site investigated in detail by the Hemenway Expedition and dated to the Hohokam culture.


Mary Tileston Hemenway was impressed with Frank Hamilton Cushing's anthropologic work studying the Zuni Indians in northwestern New Mexico and his enthusiasm to investigate further into American anthropology.[1] Her ambition was to establish a private museum in Salem, Massachusetts based on archaeological finds, the Pueblo Museum for the study of American Indians.[2] For this purpose Cushing collaborated with her to establish an expedition team with board of directors to manage the operations. Cushing stated that his ambition for the expedition was: “a rock of ages ... the foundation of something good and great for archeology and the sciences of humanity”.[1] The expedition's agenda was to conduct archaeological and anthropological investigations in Fort Wingate, New Mexico and the Salt River Valley, near Phoenix, Arizona.


Cushing at Zuni, ca. 1881-82., by John Karl Hillers
Fewkes, 1910

Cushing, the expedition's director, brought along his wife, Emily, and her sister, Margaret Magill, as artist. The anthropologist, Frederick Webb Hodge was employed by the Bureau of American Ethnology. Magill and Hodge fell in love and married in 1891.[3][4] The journalist and Boston Herald editor, Sylvester Baxter, served as the expedition's secretary-treasurer.[2] Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier was a historian. Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate served as the physical anthropologist. Charles A. Garlick, a former topographer with the U.S. Geographical Survey, served as the field manager. Dr. Jacob Lawson Wortman, of the Army Medical Museum, was brought on to preserve the finds of the skeletal remains. Army surgeon Washington Matthews took care of the medical needs of the team. Fewkes was an ethnologist.


The expedition began in December, 1886, from Albion, New York. It was the first of its kind undertaken in the American southwest.[3] The expedition's main base, Camp Hemenway, was located in Tempe, Arizona.[3] There were at least two other bases, Camp Baxter, Arizona and Camp Cibola, New Mexico.[5]

In the summer of 1888, the expedition moved northeast to Zuni,[6] where Camp Cibola served as base camp. Hemenway's son, Augustus Hemenway Jr., and the board of directors terminated Cushing's services in 1889, partially as he had fallen sick and partially because his exploration methods were not systematic.[4] Fewkes, a Harvard University classmate of August Hemenway, Jr.,[4] was appointed the new leader, though he lacked archeological experience.[1] Mary Hemenway died in 1894, leading to the expedition's termination during its investigation of the ethnological culture of the Hopis.[3][1]

Archaeological finds[edit]

The expedition excavated hundreds of skulls, mostly brachycephalic, from the ruins at Las Acequias, Los Guanacos, Los Muertos, and Halonawan, near Zuni.[7]


19th century[edit]

Hohokam culture's Casa Grande from the northeast ca. 1890.

Cushing, suffering from illness and depression, published a few partial papers before his sudden death in 1900, leaving his report manuscripts unpublished.[1] After Cushing's death, the Hodges retained his manuscripts.

Several members of the expedition team contributed to "Hemenway Expedition Records, 1886-1914", which was published in 1886.[8] Bandelier published "Copies Made Under A.F. Bandelier, a Member of the Hemenway Expedition, of Ancient Documents Existing in Mexico, Santa Fè, New Mexico, and Other Places in the Southwestern U.S.",[9] and "Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition: Contributions to the History of the Southwestern Portion of the United States" was published in 1890.[10] Baxter's work, "The old New world: An account of the explorations of the Hemenway southwestern archæological expedition in 1887-88, under the direction of Frank Hamilton Cushing", was published in 1883,[11] while Fewkes' "Note Book on Hemenway Expedition" was published in 1891.[12] In 1893, Matthews, Wortman, and John Shaw Billings published "The Human Bones of the Hemenway Collection in the United States Army Medical Museum at Washington (1893)".[13]

In 1895, the Hemenway family donated a box containing the expedition's artifacts to Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

20th century[edit]

The artifacts' box remained unopened at the Peabody until the 1930s when Alfred Tozzer asked a student, Emil Haury, to do his dissertation on the contents. Haury’s report, published in 1945, was a monograph on Los Muertos.[3] It provided an insight into the ancestral history of the Zunis and the establishment of the prehistoric Hohokam culture.[1] Unfortunately, Haury did not have access to the expedition's reports and manuscripts housed at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, and the Huntington Free Library in New York City.[3] Haury's monograph included a Forward by Hodge; in it, Hodge belittled the work of the expedition and demonstrated ungratefulness to his brother-in-law's memory,[1] even though Cushing helped Hodge obtain a key position at the Bureau of American Ethnology.

The full expedition report was not published for more than 100 years as Cushing's archival records, in the form of partial reports, diaries and field notes, had to be transcribed and researched. Between 1991 and 2001, Hinsley, a cultural historian, and Wilcox, an archaeologist examined the Hemenway records and published their reports of the expedition in three volumes.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Schlanger & Nordbladh 2008, p. 37, 38–.
  2. ^ a b Hinsley, Curtis M.; Wilcox, David R. (2002). "The Lost Itinerary of Frank Hamilton Cushing". Excerpt. University of Arizona Press. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Guide to the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition Papers, 1886-1896. Collection Number: 9186". Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Stocking 1983, p. 61.
  5. ^ Kate 2004, p. 44.
  6. ^ Husher 1995, p. 527-534.
  7. ^ Kate 2004, p. 187.
  8. ^ Bandelier et al. 1886.
  9. ^ Bandelier n.d.
  10. ^ Bandelier 1890.
  11. ^ Baxter 1883.
  12. ^ Fewkes 1891.
  13. ^ Matthews, Wortman & Billings 1893.


External links[edit]

Media related to Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition at Wikimedia Commons