Not all Hopis approved of the Awatovi excavations; Awatovi was forsaken for a reason. By the time the Peabody’s initial Department of the Interior permit ran out in 1939, the site, always on tribal land, was directly under Hopi control. The tribe chose not to renew the permit. The Awatovi Expedition opened during the Great Depression and was closed by a world war and changing circumstances.
The Peabody Museum’s Awatovi project set new standards in archaeological practice, though methods and collaborative agendas have progressed today. Artifacts, murals, photographs, plans, and publications are tangible legacies for artists, elders, scholars, and others inside and outside Pueblo communities. Less obvious, but perhaps as potent, are the emotional impacts of the Awatovi Expedition on staff, crew, neighbors, visitors, and their families and descendants.
The text and materials in this exhibition derive from Hester A. Davis’s book Remembering Awatovi: The Story of an Archaeological Expedition in Northern Arizona, 1935–1939 (Peabody Museum Press, 2008).