New World Archaeological Foundation
The New World Archaeological Foundation (NWAF) is an archaeological organization run by Brigham Young University.
The NWAF was organized in 1952 for the purpose of supporting archaeological research into pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica. It was founded by Thomas Stuart Ferguson, Alfred V. Kidder and Harvard University professor Gordon Willey. It was initially incorporated in California as a private organization with Ferguson in charge of fund-raising. The first project by the NWAF was headed by Pedro Armillas with archaeological studies along the Grijalva River.
As early as 1953, the NWAF received funding from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after Ferguson approached church leaders. LDS apostle John Widtsoe served on the board of directors. Ferguson had a passion for looking for archaeological evidences for the Book of Mormon and he reminded the church leadership that discovering Book of Mormon artifacts would assist in the church's missionary program.
NWAF has always remained an archaeological foundation that includes many people not members of the LDS church. Initially the only Latter-day Saint on the Foundation's advisory committee of five was M. Wells Jakeman. It also included Kidder, Willey, Armillas and Gordon F. Eckholm.
- Peterson (2004), p.225
- Larson, Stan. Quest for the Gold Plates: Thomas Stuart Ferguson's Archaeological Search for the Book of Mormon. Free Thinker Press.
- Larson, Stan. "The Odyssey of Thomas Stuart Ferguson" (PDF). Dialogue Journal. 20. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Peterson (2004), pp.231–232
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- Peterson, Daniel C. (2004). "On the New World Archaeological Foundation" (PDF online reproduction). The FARMS Review. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. 16 (1): 221–233. ISSN 1550-3194. OCLC 55125778.