Accidental archaeologist: memoirs of Jesse D. Jennings by Jesse David Jennings

By Jesse David Jennings

Few archaeologists have had as nice an effect on American archaeology as Jesse Jennings. A founding father of nice Basin archaeology, professor of anthropology for greater than 40 years, founder and director of the Utah Museum of traditional historical past, director of the Glen Canyon salvage
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team and such well-known excavations as threat, Hogup, and Cowboy caves, Jesse Jennings is a legend within the archaeological career. Opinionated, rough-edged, direct, and insightful, Jennings takes readers from his formative years in New Mexico, Baptist university, via graduate university on the collage of Chicago within the '30s, early specialist postings within the Southeast, the battle years, paintings at the plains, Kaminaljuyu in Guatemala, and directly to his long tenure and influential paintings on the college of Utah as archaeologist and mentor. Jennings concludes his memoirs with a glance on the present perform of archaeology.

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The travelers did not have to ask the way very often because of the unusual little maps available. Possibly the maps were the product of local entrepreneurs or even the nascent AAA, but I never knew nor wondered what the source of the maps was until recently. They were strips of green or orange paper, perhaps two inches wide by eight or ten inches long, usually with advertising for stores or the blacksmiths who repaired cars and sold gasoline and oil on one side. On the other side was a wiggly black line that took the same turns and bends that the next twenty or so miles of road would follow.

Subsequently, "retired" from Utah and offering occasional seminars at the University of Oregon, Jennings has continued this availability to students, who have in turn feted him repeatedly at term's end with luncheons and humorous reflections of the wit and wisdom shared in their classroom experience together. As for Jennings's archaeological work in itself, the present book really does not say enough about that; this work is already well known to the professionals and students who will probably be the main readers of this memoir, but one not already acquainted with his research and writing could profit by looking up the latest edition of Jennings's Prehistory of Page xv North America (Mayfield Press, 1989) or his Prehistory of Utah and the Eastern Great Basin (University of Utah Anthropological Papers 98, 1978).

What I relate, then, will have been entirely from memory and will contain many gaps. The mistakes I have made cannot be ignored, but I have tended to gloss them over. Nor have I included any "kiss and tell" material. Neither have I included anything of family life: Page xx the illnesses, the pleasures and frustrations and mistakes experienced as Jane and I tried to rear two boys to respectable manhood, nor our ever-present financial worries. I found that I could not blend the twopersonal and professionalcoherently, so I abandoned the effort.

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