The Lost Itinerary of Frank Hamilton Cushing
In the fall of 1886, Boston philanthropist Mary Tileston Hemenway sponsored an archaeological expedition to the American Southwest. Directed by anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing, the Hemenway Expedition sought to trace the ancestors of the Zuñis with an eye toward establishing a museum for the study of American Indians. In the third year of fieldwork, Hemenway's overseeing board fired Cushing based on doubts concerning his physical health and mental stability, and much of the expedition's work went unpublished. Today, however, it is recognized as a critical base for research into southwestern prehistory. This second installment of a multivolume work on the Hemenway Expedition focuses on a report written by Cushing—at the request of the expedition's board of directors—to serve as vindication for the expedition, the worst personal and professional failure of his life. Reconstructed between 1891 and 1893 by Cushing from field notes, diaries, jottings, and memories, it provides an account of the origins and early months of the expedition. Hidden in several archives for a century, the Itinerary is assembled and presented here for the first time. A vivid account of the first attempt at scientific excavatons in the Southwest, Cushing's Itinerary is both an exciting tale of travel through the region and an intellectual adventure story that sheds important light on the human past at Hohokam sites in Arizona's Salt River Valley, where Cushing sought to prove his hypothesis concerning the ancestral "Lost Ones" of the Zuñis. It initiates the construction of an ethnological approach to archaeology, which drew upon an unprecedented knowledge of a southwestern Pueblo tribe and use of that knowledge in the interpretation of archaeological sites.
"Richly evocative of the times, places, and the many people who took part in the expedition. Cushing creates a remarkable travel narrative that is delightfully imaginative, poignant, and romantic, while at the same time maintaining a sense of scientific inquiry and theory testing regarding the settlement patterns and irrigation systems he and his assistant encountered." Journal of Arizona History