Friday, 17 June 2016
Trowelblazers - Hattie Cosgrove
Hattie Cosgrove started out as an amateur archaeologist, investigating sites near her home in the Mimbres Valley in New Mexico with her husband Cornelius and her son Burton.
In the course of this work, they met Alfred Vincent Kidder, curator of North American Archaeology at Harvard's Peabody Museum. He was impressed with their work, and hired them as a team in 1924. Hattie was one of the first women to be professionally employed as an archaeologist.
The major site they worked on was Swarts Ruin in the Mimbres Valley, which they documented thoroughly with photographs and pen and ink drawings of every pot they excavated - around 700 of them! They were meticulous in recording where the artefacts had been found, and the plans of the rooms in the complex, and the work is still used as the primary reference for the Mimbres Valley culture.
They went on to do more work together at Gila River, New Mexico, Stallings Island Mound in Georgia and a Hopi Pueblo in Arizona. Cornelius Cosgrove died in 1936, but Hattie returned the following year to take charge of the pottery tent, where she trained students and Indian assistants.
She died in 1970, aged 84.