The Excavation and Repair of Betatakin
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Animals slain on the chase furnished flesh for hungry aborigines, bones from which their needed tools could be fashioned, hides suitable for clothing and other purposes. Implements of bone from Betatakin have already been listed; we are now briefly to consider the only two scraps of leather in our 1917 collection.

Figure 27 is part of a bag, made by sewing together with sinew two round-bottomed pieces of tanned hide. In their present condition these resist absolute identification. They closely resemble buckskin and yet are too thin. Perhaps mountain sheep hide was utilized. Whether or no, the bag when in use was approximately 2-1/2 inches (0.063 m.) in diameter. Rodents have gnawed away the upper portion.


Figure 28 represents a trimmed bit of buckskin so well tanned that even to day it is as soft and pliable as a piece of chamois. It was perforated at each end for sewing; a fragment of cotton cord occupies a hole on one margin. Traces of white paint adhere to both sides.


In these concluding paragraphs the reader is again reminded that this abridged description is not intended to convey more than a summary of the work of excavation and repair undertaken in the early spring of 1917. Other students of southwestern archeology have found need for certain architectural notes at our command and have urged their publication. But it is to be emphasized that our observations pertain only to the shell of Betatakin; not to the kernel within. Even though the privilege were properly ours we lack the essential data from which to write the story of this fascinating ruin.

The place of Betatakin in Pueblo history is well known. It was one of the last occupied cliff dwellings; its former inhabitants moved southwardly in late prehistoric times to unite with other clans, and these, in turn, migrated under pressure of nomadic tribes shortly before advent of the Spaniards in 1540. But Fewkes has drawn too short a trail from Betatakin to the modern Hopi villages; has accepted too literally, I am sure, the traditions of his Hopi friends. Future exploration and painstaking attention to details should shortly identify those sites at which the Betatakin folk successively lingered after they abandoned Segi Canyon.

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Last Updated: 26-Jun-2008