The Hopi Footprints ProjectRead more
Across the Colorado Plateau, abundant archaeological sites
provide a stimulating arena for cultivating an understanding of past cultural
traditions that are linked to today’s Hopi people. Hopi oral history discusses
these archaeological sites telling the story of Hopi migrations across much of
the Colorado Plateau.
Referred to as their footprints, the archaeological sites
and the oral history surrounding them connect the past to the present.
Interaction of elders and archaeologists provide a powerful force for teachers
to bring together knowledge that surprisingly corroborate each other. Our
culturally-appropriate professional development and curriculum will enable Hopi
youth to connect to their cultural history and thereby facilitate student
The goal of this project is to improve classroom teaching
practice while creating a standards-based Hopi culture curriculum in CD-ROM and
web site formats. The project is a collaboration among the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office,
educators, elders, tribal cultural professionals, anthropologists, and
archaeologists, who worked together to develop a curriculum focusing on culture
education, technology integration, and action research in classrooms.
The key components of the project include summer institutes,
intensive school site visits throughout the academic year, and follow-up
Saturday sessions for project participants. The CD-ROM and web site provide
resources for teachers and students, including digital video, audio, maps, and
The project recently was awarded a three-year
National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to expand the project to Hopi high
school students. Footprints of the Ancestors, The National
Endowment for the Humanities provides a grant to the Anthropology Department
to expand its recently completed project, Hopi Footprints: Building Better
Teachers with a Community-based Culture Curriculum.
Plateau Agricultural Origins ProjectRead more
The Colorado Plateau Agricultural Origins Project, directed
by Dr. Francis Smiley, is in its tenth year of archaeological investigations
in the Butler Wash area of southeastern Utah.
The project investigates the origins of
agriculture and the development of tribal societies in the northern
Southwest. The project has trained
numerous undergraduate and graduate students in field archaeology and operates
under the auspices of the US Bureau of Land Management out of Monticello, UT.
Jazmín Archaeological ProjectRead more
The Cerro Jazmín Archaeological Project integrates
archaeological and geomorphological methods to map and study the site of Cerro
Jazmín, a top-tier Prehispanic urban center that was inhabited between 300 B.C.
and A.D. 1400.
The project, which takes place in the Mixteca
Alta region of Oaxaca, Mexico seeks to expand our understanding of urbanism and
how Prehispanic urban centers functioned and impacted their surrounding
Hopi Iconography ProjectRead more
At the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA), Dr. Hays-Gilpin
directs the Hopi Iconography Project, a collaboration between the museum and
the Hopi Tribe’s cultural preservation office.
The research is exploring Hopi cultural continuity through
pottery, rock art, mural painting, and fiber perishables, including baskets and
Archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, and art historians
are working together with Hopi artists, language specialists, archaeologists,
and other cultural specialists to study nearly two thousand years of Hopi
history, values, aesthetics, technology, subsistence, and artistic expression.
Archaeologists usually study the past for its own sake, but this
project is trying to understand the meanings of the past in the present, and
how distinctively Hopi ways of thinking about ecology, health, and community
values have been expressed in material culture over centuries if not millennia.
Most important, the research needs to explore ways that Hopi
traditions can help shape a sustainable future for Hopi communities and beyond,
through subsistence farming, craft production, public health programs, and
In some ways, it’s
more important to Hays-Gilpin that ancient objects do have significance for
contemporary indigenous people, and less important what the exact meanings of
ancient symbols are—so it’s less about reading the past like a text, and more
about having a conversation in the present about ancestors, sacred places, and
making aesthetic and emotional connections between past and present.
It’s about being able to hear messages from the past that
help us live better lives today—whether it’s how to grow food in the desert,
how to have a healthy diabetes-resistant diet, how to deal with drought, how to
continue one’s cultural heritage in new art forms, or how to help outsiders
understand and appreciate one’s art heritage.
Thus far, Dr. Hays-Gilpin’s research with
project has resulted in four scholarly articles and book chapters and two
issues of MNA’s Plateau magazine.
Pottery TraditionsRead more
Dr. Hays-Gilpin also directs traditional archaeological
research on pottery traditions in the northern Southwest, in collaboration with
our national parks, forests, and other agencies, tribes, and museums.
Graduate student service projects that she has directed
include a web-based field identification manual for Pueblo IV period decorated
pottery from the Agua Fria National Monument, and analysis of Cohonina pottery
from sites excavated near Sitgreaves Mountain by joint MNA-NAU field schools.
Her graduate students are presently preparing a field
identification manual, type collection, and additional analysis of pottery from
the area north and west of the Colorado River (sometimes called “Virgin
Anasazi” or the “Arizona Strip” region). She has authored pottery
identification manuals and compiled type collections for Wupatki National Monument,
Petrified Forest National Park, and the Navajo Nation’s Chambers-Sanders Trust Lands.
Collectively, her experience with pottery from a
wide geographic range and many time periods results in deep understanding of
pottery production, distribution, chronology, and cultural affiliation across
the northern Southwest/southern Colorado Plateau.