The Excavation and Repair of Betatakin
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The cultural plane attained by any primitive people is determinable in part by their habitations; to an even greater degree, by articles daily employed in and about those habitations. This truism holds not only for Indian tribes living in the United States a generation ago but also for those that passed on before the origin of what we commonly call the "history" of our country, beginning with the voyages of Eric the Red and Columbus.

It would be altogether unjust to the prehistoric builders of Betatakin, therefore, were I to attempt portrayal of their arts and industries from the few, miscellaneous artifacts recovered during the course of our work in 1917. These were all casual finds, disclosed as we cleared away the vast accumulation of detritus and household rubbish with which the ruin was blanketed. Alone, these chance objects tell an incomplete story. But they may add something to that history of the village which is yet to be written; hence, it seems desirable briefly to list those minor Betatakin antiquities now preserved in the national collections.14 National Museum catalogue numbers accompany those specimens mentioned but not illustrated; the list on page 75 gives the numbers and dimensions of those shown by plate and text figure.

14Every specimen regarded as reasonably secure from the habitual curio collector was left at the ruin.

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Last Updated: 26-Jun-2008