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Unexcavated Rooms

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This section of the pueblo remains unexcavated. These rooms represent an opportunity to learn more about the past, but the knowledge comes at a cost. Excavation disturbs the site, and potentially, the people and artifacts buried there. Collected materials require elaborate conservation and storage methods; in the ground, this arid climate preserves artifacts almost indefinitely, free of charge.

In the past, few people challenged the purposes of archaeological investigation, but today many voice concerns about disturbing sites. Should rooms be excavated, unearthing pots and other items? Possessions were intended, by those who buried or left them behind, to remain as placed, acted upon by time and the elements. Excavation represents a curiosity foreign to American Indian culture and often considered culturally offensive. Do objects from the past serve as legitimate educational tools, or is that notion unimportant or even wrong?

Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories
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