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Cite As:Hendricks-Hodge Archaeological Expedition papers. #9170. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Hodge, Hawikku, And The Museum Of The American Indian

The Museum of the American Indian played a key role in the excavation of the ancestral Zuni cities of Hawikku (Hawikuh) and Kechiba:wa (Kechipawan, Kechipaun and Kechipauan). Anthropologist Frederick Webb Hodge first visited the Zuni region in 1886 as field secretary to Frank W. Cushing, director of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition. In all probability, that was his first awareness of the Zuni town that was first disrupted by the Spanish explorers in 1540. Hawikku captured Hodge's imagination, and he managed to return there some 30 years later to archaeologically investigate its history.

In 1917, George G. Heye, director of the Museum of the American Indian, with major financial support from a founding trustee, Harmon W. Hendricks, enthusiastically endorsed and sponsored the excavation of Hawikku under the leadership of F. W. Hodge. From 1917-1923 the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition carried out the most extensive archaeological investigation of a single site in the United States up to that time. A site report, however, was never written. The microfilming of the original field notes from the Expedition represents a major source for research on this site.

Frederick Hodge produced an important summary of historical information related to Hawikku in 1937. Watson Smith, at Hodge's request, and in collaboration with Richard B. Woodbury, Nathalie F.S. Woodbury, and Ross G. Montgomery produced a major descriptive work on the archaeology of the site which was published by the Museum of the American Indian in 1966. Since then, the collections have remained essentially unstudied and unpublished. In 1986 The Museum received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to organize and computerize the documentation related to the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition. Brenda Shears New York, New York

The Hendricks-Hodge Archaeological Expedition

On June 7, 1540, the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado stormed at the Zuni village of Hawikku in search of the fabled Cities of Cibola. This confrontation was the first meeting between the Spaniards and the Pueblo Indians. Because of Hawikku's key historical role, the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition conducted archaeological excavations at the site from 1917-1923. Noted anthropologist Frederick Webb Hodge, ethnologist-in-charge at the Bureau of American Ethnology, came to the Museum of the American Indian especially to direct the expedition. George G. Heye, director of the Museum of the American Indian, fully endorsed the project, and Harmon W. Hendricks, one of the Museum's founding trustees, made it financially possible.

The Hendricks-Hodge Expedition was one of the most extensive archaeological projects ever conducted in the Southwest. With major funding from Hendricks, Hodge began the field work in 1917 while still with the Bureau of American Ethnology. This season was jointly sponsored by the Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Institution. Hodge joined the staff of the Museum in 1918 and subsequent fieldwork during the summers of 1918-1921 was sponsored by this institution. The last field season, during the summer of 1923, was jointly sponsored by the Museum of the American Indian and Louis C.G. Clarke, then director of the University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, Cambridge University. Major excavations were carried out at two sites of early historic villages near the modern Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico: Hawikku (also #Hawikuh") and Kechiba:wa (also #Kechipawan, #Kechipaun," or #Kechipauan").

During the work at Hawikku, Hodge supervised a staff which included Jesse L. Nusbaum, Edwin F. Coffin, Samuel K. Lothrop, George Hubbard Pepper, Alanson Buck Skinner, Donald A. Cadzow, and Louis C. G. Clarke. In addition, at least 39 Zuni men participated in this excavation of their ancestral villages. (See Smith, Woodbury, and Woodbury 1966 for a complete listing of the field staff.) Hodge's archaeological techniques were sophisticated for the times and encompassed stratigraphic excavation; the systematic recording of rooms, features, artifacts in field notebooks; in situ photographs; and ethnographic analogy. These techniques resulted in the recovery and documentation of thousands of artifacts of diverse types including ceramics, wood, bone, textiles, shell, lithics, and architectural elements from about 370 rooms, 1000 burials, and the large mission church and its associated friary.

Hodge published several articles and one book related to the site on specialized topics such as bonework, turquoise, and the history of Hawikku. The only descriptive publication of the excavations, The Excavation of Hawikuh by Frederick Webb Hodge, Report of the Hendricks-hodge Expedition, 1917-1923 was written by Watson Smith, Richard B. Woodbury, and Nathalie F.S. Woodbury and published in 1966. This publication contains a wealth of information about the site of Hawikku and the Expedition. The field notes were used extensively to produce this report, and it is an important reference volume for anyone working with the original field notes. In particular it contains a map of the site including the relative location of room blocks and burials.

The Field Notes

The Library is the repository for 15 volumes of field notes from the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition. All have been microfilmed. Nine relate specifically to Hawikku and are primarily handwritten by Hodge. The others include one from the 1919 work at Kechiba:wa, one by Nusbaum on the Church and Monastery, and four small books containing room plans by Coffin. The notebooks contain descriptions of the excavations, referenced by room numbers, field numbers, and burial numbers, and are the key to understanding and interpreting this important Expedition. The numbering system used during the six field seasons is not consistent or obvious. See page 177 in Smith, Woodbury and Woodbury 1966 for an explanation of the field numbers.

These 15 notebooks represent the original field notes made during the excavations at Hawikku and Kechiba:wa. However, four additional notebooks of the 1923 work at Kechiba:wa recorded by Lothrop which contain field notes, room plans, burial descriptions and drawings, and a packing list were deposited with the University Museum of Ethnography and Archaeology, Cambridge, England, the co-sponsor of the 1923 field season. Through the courtesy of the University Museum photocopies of those records have been placed in the Library along with a listing of the catalog information on the Kechiba:wa artifacts that are stored in Cambridge.

Other documentation

A computerized listing of the catalog information for over 5000 artifacts and 1000 photographs from the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition is deposited at the Library, as is a computer printout of the approximately 1000 burial data forms prepared by the Richard and Nathalie Woodbury from the original field notes. In addition the Museum of the American Indian Archives contain about 1000 pages of typescript of the room notes that were produced by Hodge, the original burial maps that have been microfilmed with the field notes, and various drawings, photographs, correspondence related to the Expedition. Negatives and prints made during the Expedition are in the collection of the Museum's Photographic Archives.

The research files of Watson Smith on architecture, the individual rooms, and their features (e.g. fireplaces, benches, chimneys) are deposited in the Museum of the American Indian Archives, and those of the Woodburys on the pottery and burials are at the Arizona State Museum Library Archives, University of Arizona, Tucson. Many of Hodge's personal papers that contain some references to the Expedition have been deposited in the Southwest Museum Library, Los Angeles.

The thousands of artifacts that were recovered by the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition were originally accessioned and cataloged by the Museum of the American Indian while the excavations were in progress. Provenience information on artifact catalog cards, however, is limited to a site identification (such as Hawikku), and for only about a third of the pieces, a field catalog number. Associated objects were not cataloged as a group, and therefore are separated throughout the approximately 5000 catalog entries. The field notes are the only source for contextual information about the artifacts and archaeological features in the words of the original excavators.


Ferguson, T. J. and E. Richard Hart. A Zuni Atlas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985.

Hodge, Frederick Webb. History of Hawikuh, New Mexico: One of the So-called Cities of Cibola. (Frederick Webb Hodge Anniversary Publication Fund, vol. 1) Los Angeles: The Southwest Museum, 1937.

Kintigh, Keith W. Settlement, Subsistence and Society in Late Zuni Prehistory. (Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona, no. 44), Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1985.

Smith, Watson, Richard B. Woodbury and Nathalie S. Woodbury. The Excavation of Hawikuh by Frederick Webb Hodge: Report of the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition, 1917-1923. (Contributions from the Museum of the American Indian, no. 20), New York, 1966.