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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary


Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains and Funerary Objects from Elden Pueblo and Young’s Canyon, Arizona, in the Collections of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Region: Southwest
Associated Cultures: Pueblo of Hopi

2012

This report provides an inventory and assessment of human remains and potential funerary objects from two sites within the Coconino National Forest, Arizona, that are potentially affiliated with the Hopi Tribe in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution. The Hopi Tribe submitted a repatriation request dated December 7, 2009, for the return of culturally affiliated human remains and funerary objects from archaeological sites within the boundaries of the Coconino National Forest in Arizona, including Elden Pueblo, Chavez Pass Ruin, the Palatki site, and an unnamed site five miles north of Camp Verde. Also included in the claim are funerary objects from Beaver Creek, Young’s Canyon, Beaver Creek Cliff House, Camp Verde, and cliff dwellings on Oak Creek. This report evaluates Elden Pueblo and the Young’s Canyon site. The remains of an estimated 60 individuals represented by 56 catalog numbers are documented in the following report. Also documented in this report are 4,440 funerary objects in 193 catalog numbers. An additional report will evaluate human remains and objects from the Palatki site, the Chavez Pass site, an unnamed site five miles north of Camp Verde, an unnamed site eight miles from Fort Verde, Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek Cliff House, Camp Verde, and cliff dwellings on Oak Creek.

The human remains of an estimated 59 individuals represented by 55 catalog numbers and 3,730 funerary objects represented by 106 catalog numbers in the NMNH collection were collected by Jesse Walter Fewkes from Elden Pueblo, in Coconino County, Arizona in 1926. The preponderance of evidence indicates that the human remains and funerary objects from Elden Pueblo are culturally affiliated with the Hopi Tribe. Hopi oral tradition, clan migration histories, ceramics, architecture, and burial patterns, and all point to a relationship of shared group identity between the residents of Elden Pueblo and the Hopi Tribe.

J. C. Clarke collected 710 funerary objects represented by 87 catalog numbers in the NMNH and one catalog number of human remains representing one individual from the Young’s Canyon site, Coconino County, Arizona, in 1925. Although Clarke did not intend to collect human remains from Young’s Canyon, the calcined skeletal remains of a child were found in a burial urn in the NMNH collections from the site. The preponderance of evidence indicates that the human remains and funerary objects from Young’s Canyon are culturally affiliated with the Hopi Tribe. Hopi oral tradition, clan migration histories, ceramics, other material culture continuities, and burial patterns all point to a relationship of shared group identity between the residents of the Young’s Canyon site and the Hopi Tribe.

In sum, it is recommended that the remains of an estimated 60 individuals represented by 56 catalog numbers and 4,440 funerary objects represented by 193 catalog numbers in the NMNH collections from Elden Pueblo and the Young’s Canyon site be made available for repatriation to the Hopi Tribe. An addendum to the report increased the total number of culturally affiliated funerary objects from Elden Pueblo and Young’s Canyon to 4,453 objects in 194 catalog numbers.

Repatriation Update
The human remains of 60 individuals and 4,453 funerary objects from Elden Pueblo and Young’s Canyon were repatriated to the Hopi Tribe in September 9, 2012.

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Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History