Dr. Nancy Parezo, is Professor Emerita of American Indian Studies and Anthropology at the University of Arizona. In addition to teaching there for almost 40 years, she served as Curator of Ethnology at the Arizona State Museum from 1983 to 2017 and had formal affiliations with a wealth of museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, Chicago’s Field Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. Dr. Parezo is a well-known scholar who has written over 260 publications, including eight books and edited volumes on a variety of topics from grant-writing to the history of science, anthropology and museums.
The title of her talk will be A Boot in the Door: Pioneer Women Archaeologists of Arizona. The men who conducted early archaeological explorations in Arizona are legends in the history of the region and of anthropology. But what about the women who accompanied them or who explored on their own? Matilda Coxe Stevenson, renowned for her ethnographic work among the Zuni and Zia, was a member of the first government survey of Canyon de Chelly in 1882 and later conducted archaeological surveys locating sites her whole career. In 1915 another anthropologist took her data records and incorporated them into his own so that she was never given credit for her extensive surveys. Dr. Lucy Wilson, who excavated at Otowi, had to have her husband get the excavation permits because archaeologists were not allowed to have them. Emma Mindeleff surveyed ruins in the Verde Valley in the 1890s while Dr. Theresa Russell helped her husband excavate at Awatovi in 1900 on her honeymoon. She later located and named Hohokam sites in 1901-1902. All of these ground-breaking women are given little or no notice in “official histories” of archaeology. It is time to get to know them and acknowledge their contributions.