JF Ptak Science Books
Alfred V. Kidder's Peabody Museum expedition to the Mimbres Valley, New Mexico : Season of 1927 is a beautiful little production. Given that it is illustrated with 19 original pasted-in photographs and the offset text seems just to be type pages, I'd ay that it received a fairly tight distribution. Kidder (1885-1963) was perhaps the leading U.S. expert on the Southwest and Mesoamerica, and led the Harvard-based Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology expeditions into the heart of the ancient lands in Arizona and New Mexico from 1915 to 1929 and published extensively on his excavations and observations.
The present volume addresses the somewhat mysterious Mimbres peoples, a branch of the Mogolion culture who lived in the southwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona area during the period of about 1000-1150 CE. Perhaps they are mostly mysterious to me, and that based on the hyper-ethereal nature of the pottery designs produced by those people--the pottery is enormously beautiful.
[Source: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution http://anthropology.si.edu/cm/images/mimbres-11-a326295.jpg]
Kidder has a very clear expository style, especially in describing the environment of the excavations. His description of the caves in this area are very compelling and spot-on, and remind me somewhat of George Orwell's observations on coals mines and mining conditions.
Here he is:
I apologize for concentrating off-topic here, but the illustration showing how a leather strap was used in aid of throwing a spear is really quite spectacular in its way, a bit of the unintentional surreal (even though the finding of the strap was very exciting, archaeologically-speaking):
Actually this sort of found articulation has something in common with the designs in the pots, which seem sometimes to have a definite modern 1920's-30's flavor rather than something from 12 centuries before.
And the cover:
- Alfred V. Kidder, Peabody Museum expedition to the Mimbres Valley, New Mexico : Season of 1927, published 1928. 27.5 cm, 24pp, with 12 leaves of text and descriptions of the archaeological finds overleaf, illustrated with 19 pasted-in original photographs. In staple-bound heavy paper boards with a cloth spine. There are only seven copies located in the OCLC, all west of the Mississippi. $250