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Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans Papers

Creator:
Meggers, Betty Jane  Search this
Evans, Clifford, 1920-1981  Search this
Extent:
129 Linear feet
Culture:
American Indian -- South America  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Field notes
Place:
Venezuela -- archeology
Peru -- archeology
Date:
1893-2012
Summary:
The Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans Papers document their research and professional activities from 1946-2012 and primarily deal with their archaeological and anthropological research in South America. Their work at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and their frequent collaboration with other researchers and professional organizations is also represented. In addition, this collection contains detailed records on South American research conducted by the Smithsonian Institution from the 1950s through the 2010s. The collection consists of research and project files, raw data and analysis, graphs and illustrations, photographs, correspondence, maps and charts, and administrative files.
Scope and Contents:
The Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans papers document their research and professional activities from 1946-2012 and primarily deal with their archaeological and anthropological research in South America. There is also significant material detailing research conducted in South America by the National Museum of Natural History (particularly the Department of Anthropology). Material documenting their publication and collaboration efforts with researchers and other colleagues is represented as well. There is also limited material related to Meggers and Evans time in graduate school at Columbia University and their brief careers before starting at the Smithsonian Institution in the early 1950s. The collection consists of research and project files, raw data and analysis, graphs and illustrations, photographs, correspondence, maps and charts, and administrative files.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged in 12 series: Series 1. Personal, 1893-2012, undated; Series 2. Writings, 1944-2011, undated; Series 3. Research, 1930-2011, undated; Series 4. Correspondence, 1922-2012; Series 5. Conferences and Seminars, 1949-2010, undated; Series 6. Museum and Institute Subject Files, 1973-2011, undated; Series 7. Smithsonian Institution Amazon Ecosystem Program, 1962-2008, undated. Series 8. National Program of Archeological Research in Brazil, 1961-1989, undated; Series 9. Paleoindian Research: Paleoclimatology and Paleofauna Programs, 1960-1992, undated; Series 10. Latin American Archaeology Fund, 1971-1991, undated; Series 11. Photographs, 1937-2008, undated; Series 12. Maps and Charts, 1957- circa 2009, undated.
Biographical / Historical:
Clifford Evans Chronology

1920 -- Born in Dallas, Texas.

1941 -- Bachelors degree in anthropology from the University of Southern California.

1946 -- Married Betty Meggers.

1948-1949 -- Field research: Lower Amazon archaelogical expedition to Marajo, Mexiana, Caviana, and Territory of Ampa, Brazil. With Betty Meggers.

1950 -- Ph.D., Columbia University.

1950-1951 -- Instructor, Anthropology, University of Virginia.

1951-1962 -- Associate Curator, Smithsonian Department of Anthropology.

1952-1953 -- Field research: Archaelogical and ethnographic investigations in British Guiana. With Betty Meggers.

1954 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Betty Meggers and Emilio Estrada.

1956 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations along the Rio Napo, Eastern Ecuador. With Betty Meggers.

1957 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Betty Meggers and Emilio Estrada.

1958 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Betty Meggers and Emilio Estrada.

1961 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Betty Meggers and Emilio Estrada.

1962-1964 -- Curator of the Division of Archaeology.

1963 -- Field research: Archeological investigations of megalithic structures on Nan Madol, Ponape, Caroline Islands. With Betty Meggers.

1964-1970, 1975-1981 -- Supervising Curator of the Department of Anthropological Research.

1965-1970 -- Co-principal investigator with Betty Meggers of PRONAPA.

1966 -- Field research: Archeological survey on Dominica. With Clifford Evans.

1968-1975 -- Co-principal investigator with Betty Meggers of the Proyecto Andino de Estudios Arqueologicos.

1970-1975 -- Chairman of the Department of Anthropology.

1971 -- Creates the Latin American Archaeology Fund with Betty Meggers.

1972 -- Creates the Paleo-Indian, Paleoecology, and Paleoenvironmental Research Program.

1974 -- Creates the Amazon Ecosystems Research Program.

1975-1980 -- Co-principal investigator with Betty Meggers of PRONAPABA.

1976 -- Field research: Paleoindian and Archaic sites and museum collections in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. With Betty Meggers and Dennis Stanford.

1981 -- Dies in Washington, D.C.

Betty Meggers Chronology

1921 -- Born December 5 in Washington, D.C.

1943 -- A.B. in anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

1944 -- M.A., University of Michigan

1948-1949 -- Field research: Lower Amazon archaelogical expedition to Marajo, Mexiana, Caviana, and Territory of Ampa, Brazil. With Clifford Evans.

1950-1951 -- Instructor, Anthropology, American University

1952 -- Ph.D., Columbia University

1952-1953 -- Field research: Archaelogical and ethnographic investigations in British Guiana. With Clifford Evans.

1954 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Clifford Evans and Emilio Estrada.

1954-2012 -- Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, national Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

1956 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations along the Rio Napo, Eastern Ecuador. With Clifford Evans.

1957 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Clifford Evans and Emilio Estrada.

1958 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Clifford Evans and Emilio Estrada.

1961 -- Field research: Archaelogical survey and excavations on coastal Ecuador. With Clifford Evans and Emilio Estrada.

1963 -- Field research: Archeological investigations of megalithic structures on Nan Madol, Ponape, Caroline Islands. With Clifford Evans.

1965-1970 -- Co-principal investigator with Clifford Evans of PRONAPA.

1966 -- Field research: Archeological survey on Dominica. With Clifford Evans.

1968-1975 -- Co-principal investigator with Clifford Evans of the Proyecto Andino de Estudios Arqueologicos.

1975-1980 -- Co-principal investigator with Clifford Evans of PRONAPABA.

1976 -- Field research: Paleoindian and Archaic sites and museum collections in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. With Clifford Evans and Dennis Stanford.

1976-1996 -- Committee for Research and Exploration, National Geographic Society

1982-1985 -- Consultant, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Belem, Brazil

2012 -- Dies in Washington, D.C.

Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans were anthropologists specializing in the archeology of lowland South America. Their combined careers at the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology totaled over 100 years. Evans was born in 1920 in Texas. He received his bachelor's degree in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Southern California in 1941. Following his service as a bombardier during World War II, he enrolled in the anthropology doctoral program at Columbia University where he met Meggers, a fellow student in the department. Meggers was born in 1921 in Washington, D.C., and was the daughter of well-known archaeologist William Frederick Meggers. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelors degree in anthropology in 1943 and from the University of Michigan with a masters in anthropology in 1944 before being admitted to Columbia.

Meggers and Evans did their dissertation research together in South America— Meggers worked on the island of Marajo at the mouth of the Amazon River while Evans did archaeological research in the Amapa territory of Brazil. The two were married on September 13, 1946.

After Evans received his Ph.D. in 1950, he was hired by the Smithsonian Institution as an associate curator in the Department of Anthropology in 1951. After graduating in 1952, Meggers worked as an anthropology instructor at American University for one year before being hired as a research associate in the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology in 1954.

Evans was named Curator of the Division of Archaeology in 1962, and Supervising Curator of the newly created Office of Anthropological Research in 1964. Under his leadership, standardized operating procedures were created that centralized accessioning, cataloging, storing, and lending of objects. This freed curators from many complicated and routine activities. In 1970, Evans was appointed the Chairman of Anthropology for a five year term, where he initiated many large-scale research programs with Meggers that continued to operate many years after his chairmanship ended.

The first program that Evans and Meggers created was the "Paleo-Indian, Paleoecology, and Paleoenvironmental Research Program" in 1972, which was designed to study prehistoric peoples in the Western Hemisphere. The second program, implemented in 1974 was the "Amazon Ecosystems Research Program," which organized Brazilian scientists and Smithsonian staff members interested in environmental studies of the Amazon region.

Meggers and Evans conducted much of their field work together, which resulted in hundreds of articles, essays, presentations, and books. The majority of their work was done in the Amazon and Andean regions of South America, particularly Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Aside from these publications, they were also able to collect many archaeological specimens that are still part of the Smithsonian's holdings.

The conclusions that Meggers and Evans drew from their research and field work, while ground-breaking, were often controversial. In the early 1960s local businessman and amateur archaeologist Emilio Estrada excavated pottery from the Valdivia area in Ecuador and shared his results with Meggers and Evans. After finding significant similarities between Valdivian artifacts and those from Japan's ancient Jomon culture, they theorized that there was transpacific contact between Japan and South America around the beginning of the third millennium B.C. Their theory remains controversial.

Meggers and Evans also argued that despite the rich forests of the Amazon region, the river basin's thin, poor soil could not hold enough nutrients to sustain intensive agriculture. As a result, they argued, large and complex societies could not have existed in the Amazon River basin as other archaeologists and anthropologists have suggested.

After finishing his tenure as chairman of the Department of Anthropology, Clifford Evans died in 1981 of a heart attack at the age of 60. Following his death, Meggers continued in her position as research associate in the Department of Anthropology for another 30 years. Though she did not conduct additional fieldwork after her husband's death, Meggers wrote prolifically and was heavily involved in analyzing field work data and collaborating with colleagues working throughout South America. She made it possible for many researchers to study and conduct research at the National Museum of Natural History, and presented in many conferences and seminars locally and internationally. In addition, Meggers advocated on the behalf of colleagues to the National Geographic Society and other organizations to procure funding for archaeological and anthropological expeditions all over the world. Betty Meggers died in 2012 at the age of 90.
Related Materials:
There are about 25 slide cases, each containing about 200 to 300 kodachrome slides, that are currently stored at the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History. These were created in the late 1940s and early 1950s and contain images of field work and other trips to South American locations such as Peru, British Guiana, the Peru Highlands, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Hondouras, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Mexico. Contact repository for more information.
Separated Materials:
2 rolls of 16mm film, 22 audio cassettes, and 1 VHS of South and Central American research were transferred to the Human Studies Film Archives in 2015.
Provenance:
The papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by the estate of Betty J. Meggers in 2013.
Restrictions:
The Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans papers are open for research. Personal correspondence, however, is RESTRICTED until 2026.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Paleoindian  Search this
Archaeology  Search this
Archeology -- Meso-America  Search this
Archaeology -- Ponape, Nan Matol  Search this
Archeology -- British Guiana  Search this
Archaeology -- Ecuador  Search this
Amazonia  Search this
Indians of South America -- Brazil  Search this
Paleo-Indians -- North America  Search this
Names, place -- geographic -- South America  Search this
Genre/Form:
Field notes
Citation:
Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.2013-01
See more items in:
Betty J. Meggers and Clifford Evans Papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-2013-01

Philip Drucker Papers 1933- ca. 1954

Creator:
Drucker, Philip 1911  Search this
Kroeber, A. L (Alfred Louis) 1876-1960  Search this
Beynon, William  Search this
Garfield, Viola Edmundson 1899-1983  Search this
Fast, Edward G  Search this
Beardsley, Richard King  Search this
Albert, John  Search this
Uyeharan, Harry K  Search this
Tobin, J.E  Search this
Thompson, George E  Search this
Heizer, Robert Fleming 1915-1979  Search this
Correspondent:
Caso y Andrade, Alfonso  Search this
Comas, Juan  Search this
Duff, William  Search this
Dávalos Hurtado, Eusebio  Search this
Kidder, Alfred II  Search this
McCall, Walter  Search this
Noguera, Eduardo  Search this
Opler, Morris Edward  Search this
Paul, William Lewis Sr  Search this
Rubin de la Borbolla, Daniel F  Search this
Scow, William  Search this
Sorenson, John  Search this
Stirling, Matthew Williams 1896-1975  Search this
Physical description:
17 boxes
Culture:
American Indian Northwest Coast  Search this
American Indian Oregon Coast  Search this
American Indian Southwest  Search this
Micronesians  Search this
Bellabella  Search this
Xaihais  Search this
Karok Indians  Search this
Papago  Search this
Likiep  Search this
Jaliut  Search this
Angaur  Search this
Haida Indians  Search this
Bellacoola  Search this
Yaqui Indians  Search this
Chinook  Search this
Yurok Indians  Search this
Alsea Indians  Search this
Coos Indians  Search this
Kwakiutl Indians  Search this
Nootka Indians  Search this
Tolowa  Search this
Tsimshian Indians  Search this
Diegueño Indians  Search this
Luiseño Indians  Search this
Clackamas Indians  Search this
American Indian California  Search this
Bikini  Search this
Wikeno  Search this
Haisla  Search this
Heiltsuk Indians  Search this
Karuk  Search this
Akwa'ala  Search this
Kili  Search this
Ebon  Search this
Samoan  Search this
Samoans  Search this
Indians of North America California  Search this
Paipai Indians  Search this
Indians of North America Northwest Coast of North America  Search this
Bella Coola Indians  Search this
Oowekeeno Indians  Search this
Indians of North America Plateau  Search this
Indians of North America Southwest, New  Search this
Tohono O'Odham Indians  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Place:
Meso-America
Mexico
Kili (Marshall Islands)
Date:
1933- ca 1954
Topic:
Archeology  Search this
Native Brotherhood, Northwest Coast Indians  Search this
Language and languages--Documentation  Search this
Local number:
NAA MS 4516
See more items in:
Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier)
Data Source:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_82104

In pursuit of gender : worldwide archaeological approaches / edited by Sarah Milledge Nelson and Myriam Rosen-Ayalon

Author:
Nelson, Sarah M. 1931-  Search this
Rosen-Ayalon, Myriam  Search this
Physical description:
x, 433 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
2002
C2002
Topic:
Social archaeology  Search this
Sex role--History  Search this
Man-woman relationships--History  Search this
Women--History  Search this
Women, Prehistoric  Search this
Feminist archaeology  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_716140

A reappraisal of Peruvian archaeology

Author:
Bennett, Wendell Clark 1905-1953  Search this
Institute of Andean Research (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
ix, 128 p. : ill., maps ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Congresses
Place:
Peru
Date:
1948
Topic:
Antiquities  Search this
Call number:
F3429 .R43 1948
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_976740

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