Contact: Meredith Dickenson or Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7654

October 2, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- The American Southwest has generated its own field of inquiry, Southwest archaeology, which has shaped both science and the popular images of the region. Archaeologist James Snead in a lecture at Southern Methodist University will trace the origins of this unique Southwestern identity from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25, in the Texana Room of the DeGolyer Library, 6404 Hilltop Lane.

The free public lecture, “The ‘Damascus of the New World’: Santa Fe and the Idea of Southwest Archaeology” is being presented by SMU’s William P. Clements Jr. Center for Southwest Studies. For more information, call 214-768-1233 or consult the Web site at

Snead is the author of Ruins and Rivals: The Making of Southwest Archaeology, (2001, University of Arizona Press). The book tells the story of how modern Southwest archaeology and the image of Santa Fe were shaped by a struggle between professional anthropologists and a loose coalition of writers, politicians and boosters. According to Snead, from the 1890s to the 1920s, two forces competed for the way archaeological sites such as Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon were explored and interpreted: expeditions dispatched from the major Eastern museums and local archaeological societies whose members were amateur relic hunters.

Ruins and Rivals was published in cooperation with the Clements Center, where Snead spent the academic year 1998-99 as a research fellow writing his manuscript and teaching. The center, part of Dedman College and the William P. Clements Jr. Department of History, promotes research, publishing, teaching and public programming in a variety of fields related to the American Southwest.