Originally Posted: March 18, 2019
Unearthing artifacts that lead to a better understanding of our past is not just an Indiana Jonesexercise in exotic foreign lands. It is a research endeavor that begins decades later in the basements and attics of some of our most distinguished institutions of higher learning.
North Texas is rich with archaeological treasures currently moldering in repurposed wooden crates and file boxes. When discovered, categorized and properly cataloged, they reveal important insights about the history of our region. But, like the treasures in many archaeological collection facilities across the United States, the artifacts and records require ongoing, curatorial care to bring their untapped research potential to light.
With the exception of sage members of the Texas archaeology community, few are aware that Southern Methodist University is home to more than 3,000 cubic feet of artifacts— tens of thousands of pieces ranging from fragments of stone to projectiles to whole pottery vessels and ancient tools. These legacy collections were gathered from the 1940s to the 1990s with meticulous scientific care by the late Fred Wendorf, founder of the SMU anthropology department, and his students. Many of Wendorf’s students have gone on to distinguished careers in archaeology. READ MORE