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COLLECTION Identifier: 995-11, 35-126, 36-131, 38-120,39-97

Awatovi Expedition records


The collection documents the Peabody Museum Expedition to Awatovi (northeastern Arizona) from 1935-39, and includes historical material, financial records, field notes, diaries, photographs, drawings, correspondence, and field and artifact cards.


  • 1930-1981 (inclusive)


Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions on access: none.


26 linear feet
The collection documents the Peabody Museum expedition to Awatovi and includes historical material, financial records, field notes, diaries, photographs, drawings, correspondence, and field and artifact cards. The papers were transferred to the Peabody Museum Archives in 1940 but the majority were not inventoried until 1994 and accessioned in 1995. Some items from earlier accessions were originally held in the Collection Department accession files before rejoining the main body of material in the museum archives.

Historical Sketch

From 1935-1939, the Peabody Museum excavated the large ruined Hopi pueblo at Awatovi in northeastern Arizona. Dating from the 1300s, Awatovi grew to be an influential Hopi settlement and was the largest of the Hopi villages on Antelope Mesa. In 1540, the first European visitor arrived in Awatovi when Coronado dispatched Pedro de Tovar to the village in search of precious metals. The following 150 years were marked by tension and recapitulation between the Hopi and the Spaniards. This resulted in division in Hopi families and villages with members of the eastern villagers becoming followers of the Catholic religion and those from the western areas maintaining their Hopi ceremonies and beliefs. Finally in 1700, the Hopi who were hostile to the Spaniards and Catholicism sacked and destroyed the pueblo, killing all the men. Surviving families from Awatovi settled in other villages on the mesas and it is believed that the site was never inhabited again.

The large Awatovi site, covering approximately 23 acres, contained some 5000 rooms, often several stories high, as well as plazas and kivas. As it was destroyed by fire in 1700 and had not since been disturbed, the site offered archaeologists an important opportunity to study the history and culture of the Hopi people from the 13th to the beginning of the 18th centuries

In 1934 William H. Claflin, Jr. began to formulate a plan for a Peabody Museum expedition to Awatovi. Although not formally trained, Claflin had nurtured an enthusiasm for archaeology since his youth. Most recently he had co-sponsored the Museum's survey of southern Utah with Raymond Emerson. Claflin's friend, Donald Scott, director of the Peabody Museum, embraced Claflin's conception of a Museum expedition to Awatovi, and Scott soon asked John Otis Brew (J.O. Brew) to direct the expedition.

During the five field seasons (1935-1939), 1300 rooms were excavated at the pueblo of Awatovi, as well as a 17th century Franciscan mission. In addition to large scale excavations, 65 small test sites were also made at Awatovi. 11,700 artifacts of stone and bone and 8,500 pottery specimens were excavated and catalogued. In addition an enormous number of potsherds were washed, classified, and recorded. In the 1938 season alone, 243,871 postsherds were examined.

Detailed accounts of the archaeological work at Awatovi can be found in the following publications:
  1. Hack, John T. The Changing Physical Environment of the Hopi Indians ofArizona. Reports of the Awatovi Expedition 1. Peabody Museum Papers. vol. 35, no. 1.
  2. Montgomery, Ross. Watson Smith, and John Otis Brew. FranciscanAwatovi: the excavation and conjectural reconstruction of a 17th century Spanish missionestablishment at a Hopi Indian town in northeastern Arizona . Peabody MuseumPapers, vol. 36.
  3. Smith, Watson. Painted Ceramics of the WesternMound at Awatovi.Peabody Museum Papers, vol. 38.
  4. Smith, Watson. Prehistoric Kivas of Antelope Mesa. Peabody Museum Papers, vol. 39, no. 1.
  1. Davis, Hester A. Remembering Awatovi: The Story of an Archaeological Expedition in Northern Arizona1935-1939.Peabody Museum Press. Harvard University. Cambridge, MA. 2008.
  2. Sixty-Ninth Report of the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. Harvard University. Cambridge, MA
  3. Seventieth Report of thePeabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. Harvard University. Cambridge, MA
  4. Smith, Watson. Kiva Mural Decorations at Awatovi and Kawaika-A. Peabody Museum Papers. vol. 37.
  5. Survey of Historic Sites andBuildings. Explorers and Settlers Series.


The papers are arranged in six series:
  1. Series I: Expedition records, reports, andcorrespondence.
  2. Series II: Ledgers, journals and diaries
  3. Series III: Field notebooks
  4. Series IV: Field cards
  5. Series V: Drawings
  6. Series VI: Artifact cards
  7. Series VII: Potteryanalysis cards
  8. Series VIII: J. O. Brew Records of non-Awatovi expeditons

Physical Location

Peabody Museum Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

995-11, 35-126, 36-131, 38-120, 39-97

These papers were transferred to the Archives by J.O. Brew, Evelyn Brew, and the Department of Anthropology in 1940. The majority of the records were not inventoried until 1994 and were accessioned in 1995. Some items from earlier accessions were held in the Collections Department accession files before rejoining the main body of material in the museum archives.

Related Peabody Museum Collections:

  1. Photographic material has been transferredto the photo archives storage vault.
  2. Oversize material has been transferred to themap room.

General note

Collections records may contain language, reflecting past collecting practices and methods of analysis, that is no longer acceptable. The Peabody Museum is committed to addressing the problem of offensive and discriminatory language present in its database. Our museum staff are continually updating these records, adding to and improving content. We welcome your feedback and any questions or concerns you may want to share.

Processing Information

Processed by: Evelyn Brew and Elizabeth Sandager; 1995; edited by Patricia H. Kervick, Associate Archivist; May 2011.
Link to catalog
Awatovi Expedition Records, 1930-1981 (inclusive) : A Finding Aid
Peabody Museum Archives

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Museum Archives Repository

The Peabody Museum Archives contains primary source materials that reflect the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic research and fieldwork since its founding in 1866. Archival collections contain photographs, documents, papers, and records of enduring value that were created or collected by the Museum, its individual affiliates, or other related entities. The collections also document the history or provenience, as well as the creation of many of the Museum’s artifact collections. To learn more about research visits at the Peabody Museum, please see

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