Accidental archaeologist: memoirs of Jesse D. Jennings by Jesse David Jennings

By Jesse David Jennings

Few archaeologists have had as nice an effect on American archaeology as Jesse Jennings. A founding father of nice Basin archaeology, professor of anthropology for greater than 40 years, founder and director of the Utah Museum of ordinary background, director of the Glen Canyon salvage
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team and such recognized excavations as chance, Hogup, and Cowboy caves, Jesse Jennings is a legend within the archaeological career. Opinionated, rough-edged, direct, and insightful, Jennings takes readers from his adolescence in New Mexico, Baptist university, via graduate college on the collage of Chicago within the '30s, early specialist postings within the Southeast, the battle years, paintings at the plains, Kaminaljuyu in Guatemala, and directly to his long tenure and influential paintings on the collage of Utah as archaeologist and mentor. Jennings concludes his memoirs with a glance on the present perform of archaeology.

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I also cut and shocked the corn after the roasting ears were gone and kept some of the pumpkins, from which mother made many quarts of pumpkin butter, thus providing sweets during the winter. I gave all the garden money to my mother since the family was without income; so, even with the strictest economies, the money from the sale of the equity in the Oklahoma house finally disappeared. I was, by then, becoming aware of the poverty to which the family had been reduced, and giving everything I earned to my mother seemed entirely reasonable.

That explanation made much more sense to me, and I never forgot that honest work deserves reward. One summer, when the famous athletic evangelist, Billy Sunday, conducted a revival in Oklahoma City, I remember being sent every day to the morning services, having been given fifteen cents; ten cents was for the carfare and five cents for the contribution plate. The service was in a huge white tent which was breathlessly hot in the July or August weather; I there absorbed snippets of gospel and heard a great deal about wickedness, sin, and the devil as well as God's wrath.

R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Jennings's often-uttered expectation that we would cope appropriately with whatever exigencies the wild canyonlands field situation might present was memorialized in a little ditty sung to the tune of "The Frozen Logger," accompanied by banjo and ukulele. The verses characterized our bossnot always flatteringlyin terms of various archaeological feats and incidentssome more or less real, some fabulousand the song ended with the phrase, ". " Those student exaggerations of Jennings's character and exploits seem to have reflected a sense of him as a kind of legendary figure, somehow larger than life.

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