Neil Judd at Pueblo Bonito

The most treasured turquoise beads ever unearthed at Pueblo Bonito were discovered by accident. Disarticulated skeletons, baskets and pottery had been located in a room when archeologist Neil Judd joined two Zuni Indians working there.

The floor was partially cleared and they were beginning to remove some baskets when Judd had a powerful urge to turn once more towards the north end. The second stroke of his trowel brought several beads to light. In a few seconds his awl and brush revealed a carefully coiled turquoise necklace and two pairs of perfect blue turquoise eardrops:

“I cannot adequately describe the thrill of that discovery. It was so unexpected, so unforeseen. A casual scrape of a trowel across the ash-strewn floor, a stroke as mechanical as a thousand other strokes made every day, exposed the long-hidden treasure. The room had been paved with flagstones, and it is my impression that a hollow between two flags had been deliberately chosen as a hiding place; that the necklace had been coiled and laid within and the whole concealed by a handful of sandy mud that was spread out, and packed down, and then disguised with ashes until the patch was indistinguishable in the room’s darkness.”

I found the above entry in Neil Judd's seminal "The Material Culture of Pueblo Bonito" to be very inspiring. It was the genesis of the virtual archaeology" game mechanic in the Chaco Canyon computer program we're about to release.

 

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