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Expanding the Archive: The Creation of the Salmon Pueblo Archaeological Research Collection (SPARC)

Carolyn Heitman, Salmon Pueblo, and Paul Reed

In this paper, we discuss the goals, collaborations, and methods associated with the creation of the Salmon Pueblo Archaeological Research Collection (SPARC). The primary motivation for this project is to preserve and make accessible incomparable legacy data from the important excavations of Salmon Pueblo. Built around 1090 CE, this ancestral Pueblo site was the first major colony outside of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico and was a cultural center on the north bank of the San Juan River 45 miles north of Chaco. The site of Salmon Pueblo is important both for its place in the larger Chacoan world of the twelfth century and its unique archaeological history.

SPARC brings together four institutions dedicated to the preservation of Pueblo cultural heritage: the Salmon Ruins Museum, Archaeology Southwest, the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia. Through this implementation project, these institutions are expanding the Chaco Research Archive (CRA) by digitizing archival collections, preserving and improving access to born-digital resources, and developing a relational database to provide integrated access to these materials. This partnership will allow the entire Salmon Pueblo archive to become freely and openly available through their online research portal.

When integrated within the existing information architecture of the CRA, SPARC resources will be distributed to diverse audiences interested in issues ranging from material culture studies, indigenous religions, identity and ethnicity, and the transformation of human communities over time. Once completed, SPARC promises to enhance our understanding of ancient Pueblo culture. Access to these cultural resources will essentially characterize the relationships among the various Puebloan villages that comprised the Chacoan world for over 200 years of human history. Enhanced access to this collection will launch more comprehensive comparisons of cultural practices and forms of interaction across the Chacoan World and facilitate comprehensive research by a much more diverse group of scholars, students, descendent communities, and the interested public.

Session/Panel Title:

Globalizing the Field: Preserving and Creating Access to Archaeological Collections

Session/Paper Number

7.4

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