Contact: David Batten at 575-562-2750
PORTALES--Eastern New Mexico University in Portales will present The 11th Annual Cynthia Irwin-Williams Lecture, Chaco Chocolate: The Recovery of Cacao at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon with Patricia L. Crown, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 21 in Room 112 of the jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building. It is free and open to the public.
Recent research shows that some inhabitants of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon consumed a chocolate beverage, probably from the ceramic cylinder jars found there. This talk discusses how this discovery was made and the connection to the Chacoan cylinder jars.
Crown received her A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974, and her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1981. She held teaching positions at Southern Methodist University and Arizona State University, and has been on the faculty at the University of New Mexico since 1993.
Crown has conducted field investigations in the Ancestral Pueblo, Mogollon, and Hohokam areas of the American Southwest; she is currently directing the analysis of artifacts from the trash mounds at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon. Most of her research has concerned the manufacture and exchange of ceramics in the Southwest. She is particularly interested in pan-Southwestern processes of change, including the origins of pottery production.
In the last decade, she has been concerned with humanizing archaeology by exploring the status of women in the past and how children learned the tasks they needed to know to become competent adults. The Society for American Archaeology awarded her the Excellence in Ceramic Research Award in 1994, and the American Anthropological Association gave her (jointly with Suzanne K. Fish) the Gordon Willey Award in 1998.
Her books have included three co-edited volumes, Chaco and Hohokam: Prehistoric Regional Systems in the American Southwest, (SAR Press), Social Violence in the Pre-Hispanic Southwest (University of Arizona Press) and Ceramic Production in the American Southwest (University of Arizona Press), the single-authored, Ceramics and Ideology: Salado Polychrome Pottery (University of New Mexico Press), and an edited volume, Women and Men in the Pre-Hispanic Southwest: Labor, Power, and Prestige (School of American Research Press).
She recently identified the first pre-Hispanic cacao north of the Mexican border in ceramics from Chaco Canyon, N.M.
Born April 14, 1936, in Denver, Col., Cynthia Irwin-Williams developed an early interest in archaeology along with her brother, Henry. When she was only 12 and her brother 14, both began working part-time at the Department of Archaeology in the Denver Museum of Natural History and formed an association with the curator, Dr. H. Marie Wormington. These youthful pursuits led to Irwin-Williams’ interest in the Archaic period and to professional publications on the Magic Mountain, LoDaiska, and Agate Bluff sites around Denver.
Irwin-Williams attended college at a time when women were still expected to be homemakers. If they did decide to pursue higher education, they definitely were not expected to become archaeologists. Yet, she enrolled and graduated from Radcliffe College with B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology in 1957 and 1958, respectively. In 1963 she received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University. She once remarked about how she was forced to sit in the hallway during courses at Harvard as one of her professors did not believe that women should be enrolled in archaeology courses.
Irwin-Williams persevered and quickly made her mark as a professional, having a towering grasp over specialties that ranged from archaeology to related aspects of geology, paleontology, climatology, remote sensing, desertification, and desert reclamation. From 1963-1964 she lectured at Hunter College in New York.
From 1964-1982 she taught at Eastern New Mexico University and in 1978 she was awarded the Llano Estacado Center for Advanced Professional Studies and Research Distinguished Research Professorship.
She served as president of the Society for American Archaeology from 1977-1979, only the second woman to hold this position. In 1982 she became executive director of the Social
Science Center, Desert Research Institute of Reno, Nev. From 1988 until her death in 1990, she held the title of Research Professor, Quaternary Science Center, DRI.
A truly remarkable woman, multilingual (English, Spanish, French, Russian), with over 60 publications and 30 years of professional experience, Irwin-Williams is considered to be a role model for women who aspire to scientific careers. This is why the students of the Anthropology and Applied Archaeology Department have named a lectureship series in honor of her.
For more information, call David Batten at 575-562-2750.