Introduction: I recently summarised the History of the World in a tweet, thus:
Hunters, housebuilders, Imperial dynasts. Europeans sailed, studied, & shot their way to world dominance by 1900. Europeans discredited by 2 disastrous civil wars 1914 & 1939, outmuscled by superpowers and stripped of empires. Now reassessing their role and status.
This piece on Warren Moorehead is relevant to my last phrase in that tweet, because he is attacked for being a ‘gentlemanly racist’, and ‘paternalistic’, whilst on the other hand having been formally silenced in 1933 for being ‘woke’ in relation to the plight of Native Americans by the complete closure of the Bureau of Indian Commissioners, of which he was at the time the senior member, in 1933! As an archaeologist he is said to have been a ‘plunderer’, a ‘pillager’, ‘immoral and unprofessional’, and guilty of a big fraud for financial gain in relation to the famous horned skulls of Sayre, whereas in other sources he is ‘reputable’, ‘one of the kindliest of archaeologists’, the ‘Dean of American archaeology’ and ‘one of the preeminent American archaeologists, with many honours and published volumes to his credit, and a thriving and vital field of research and informed speculation well established’. He is without much honour in his own country, as the Ohio Historical Connection does not mention him in its account of its doings, and ‘little is known of him in the Greene County Historical Society; where portraits of his father William and grandfather Joseph are on prominent display.’ My piece is therefore a good example of Europeans ‘reassessing their role and status’.
Early employment c 1889-94
Moorehead, Marshal George Bartlett and the Sioux
Goes to Pine Ridge to report for Illustrated American, Nov 1890
Moorehead and the Battle of Wounded Knee
The Expedition to Sayre
The World Columbian Exposition of 1893
Ohio University Museum 1894-97
Chaco and La Plata
Ohio and Maine
The Atlas of Ohio
The Horned Giants of Sayre
Peabody Museum Curator 1901-24
US Board of Indian Commissioners 1908-33
Programme of excavations 1912-39
Director of Peabody Museum 1924-1938
Controversial as an archaeologist?
‘Of his time’?
Links to Sites visited
Figure 1: Moorehead with Putnam at Fort Ancient
Figure 2: Fort Ancient Site
Figure 3: Artillery used at the Battle of Wounded Knee
Figure 4: The ‘Battle’ of Wounded Knee
Figure 5 F.W.Putnam
Figure 6: The Hopewell Mounds
Figure 7 The Chicago World Columbian Exposition of 1893
Figure 8: Ohio Historians blank Moorehead
Figure 9: Moorehead’s book on his excavations in Maine
Figure 10: A ‘horned giant’?
Figure 11: Robert Singleton Peabody
Figure 12: A Sioux
Figure 13: The Cahokia Mounds – Reconstruction
Figure 14: A ‘Hopewell Mound’
Warren King Moorehead (1,2) [OR] Moorhead (10) was born in (1,2) Siena (1,3) [OR] Sienna, Tuscany (2) Italy (,2) to wealthy Presbyterian (10,13) missionary parents (1,3) on March (1,2) 10th (1) [OR] 1st (2) 1866. (1,2) Warren was born into wealth and privilege (10,13) his grandfather was Joseph Warren King, whose company, King’s Powder Mills had made him a fortune selling munitions during the Civil War. (13) Kings Mills was established in 1884 as a company town for the King Powder Company. (18) Warren was the son of Helen King, (12) who died when he was quite young (10,13) and a Presbyterian minister (10) Dr William G. Moorehead. (12) William was for many years connected with (12,13) and became head of, the Presbyterian (13) theological seminary at Xenia, Ohio. (12,13) William remarried but his travels in his attempts to keeping the seminary going left young Warren and his sister in the care of two aunts, who are recalled vividly in Helen Hooven Santmyer’s non-fictional ‘Ohio Town’ and the novel ‘And Ladies of the Club’. (13) This money became both an opportunity and a curse for the fledgeling archaeologist. (13) His family was disappointed by Warren’s ambitions; they considered ‘digging up bones’ to be an insult to (10,13) a refined (13) family’s name. (10,13) For much of his life (13) Warren was pressured by his (10,13) widower (10) father to enter the family business. (10,13)
In 1870 (12) his family moved to Xenia, (9,12) Ohio where he was raised (7,9) and entered public school. (12) In Xenia he cultivated a lifelong interest in archaeology and American Indians. (7,10) As a boy he became intensely interested in the numerous Indian artifacts to be found near his home, and started collecting at an early age. (12) At high school at Fort Ancient, just up the Little Miami River from his grandfather’s King’s Mills (13) and not far from his home, he frequently visited the great earthwork known as Fort Ancient. (12) The most spectacular and well-preserved of the Hopewell-era hilltop enclosures, it encloses over 100 acres high above a narrow gorge of the Little Miami River. (25) He used to delight to tell how he gained a knowledge of distant sites by cross-country running, an exercise which he continued while at Denison, and which gave him a wider knowledge of the country around Granville than could be gained by the average pedestrian. (12) Warren had to overcome many obstacles in his early life. (10)
He attended Denison University (2,7) at Granville, Ohio (12) near Moorehead family interests in Muskingum County. (13) He was in the class of 1886. (12) He did not graduate, (7,9) dropping out in 1887. (10) He became an archaeologist (2,7) (a ‘prolific excavator’ (7,9)) By that time he had already undertaken excavations at Fort Ancient and had published a short paper on his work. (12) Public interest in the mounds was at its peak by the mid-1800s, when two citizens of Chillicothe, Ephraim Squier and Doctor Edwin Davis, set out to survey the earthworks of the entire Mississippi and Ohio river system. (25) With support from Gallatin, their work became the first publication of the new Smithsonian Institution. (25) Moorehead’s interest in the site continued unabated, and was the inspiration for further excavations and for a series of publications. (12) Fort Ancient was probably the ﬁrst of a number of causes for which he worked. (12) Largely on his own initiative and at his own expense he undertook excavations (12,13) in Ohio in the four years immediately following his graduation from college. (12) During his excavations in Ohio in the summer of 1888 he had a narrow escape from death when he was buried by collapse in a cave. (12) He later wrote about this in ‘Buried Alive’. (12)
Early employment c 1889-94
His lacklustre performance as a student held him back (10) until he made contact with Dr. Thomas Wilson of the Smithsonian Institution (12,13) as an assistant at the Institution from 1888 through 1890, he completed a course of study. (12) There was a link between his interest in Fort Ancient and the Smithsonian Institution. (25) Public interest in the mounds had been at its peak by the mid-1800s, when two citizens of Chillicothe, Ephraim Squier and Doctor Edwin Davis, set out to survey the earthworks of the entire Mississippi and Ohio river system. (25) The new Smithsonian Institution’s first publication had covered this work. (25) Dr. Wilson encouraged and possibly helped Moorehead to enter the University of Pennsylvania for study under the famous Dr. Edward Drinker Cope (13) [OR] under Dr Wilson, (12) but opportunities to lecture and write for publication led Warren away from class work. (13) He served as the first curator of the Ohio Archaeological Society. (7)
Moorehead, Marshal George Bartlett and the Sioux
In February 1889 he spent time in South Dakota with a fascinating character named George E. Bartlett, a U.S. Marshal for Pine Ridge and a city west of there already infamous as Deadwood, South Dakota. (11) Bartlett had worked as a sales representative for the gunpowder company owned by relatives of Warren Moorehead (his King family relations from Xenia, which was why Moorehead and Bartlett knew each other in the first place), and also ran a small trading post of his own on a creek through part of the Pine Ridge Reservation. (11) Bartlett had invited Moorehead out in February, had taken him around to the camps and settlements of the Lakota Sioux across the Nebraska/South Dakota border, and after Moorehead come out again to write about the Ghost Dance phenomenon. (11) The Ghost Dance was associated with Wovoka’s prophecy of an end to white expansion while preaching goals of clean living, an honest life, and cross-cultural cooperation by Native Americans. (19) With the support of an editor named Minton at The Illustrated American, Moorehead got a ticket from New York to Chadron, Nebraska where Bartlett owned a ranch, and quickly found himself welcomed in the camp of Red Cloud, a greatly respected Lakota leader. (11) Moorehead never claimed to speak any of the Lakota dialects he encountered, but the articles he later wrote included a variety of Indian words, and of course his friend and guide George Bartlett spoke a number of Sioux tongues quite well. (11) Based on what he had seen, Moorehead published a well-reviewed novel of life on the Pine Ridge Reservation, entitled ‘Wanneta, the Sioux’, a story that we might call a young adult novel today. (11) The story echoes a popular contemporary best-seller, Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, better known for her non-fiction polemic ‘A Century of Dishonor’ about mistreatment of Native American people across the continent (another book Moorehead would adopt as a model 24 years later). (11)
Goes to Pine Ridge to report for Illustrated American, Nov 1890
Although ‘Wanneta’ did not sell quite as well as ‘Ramona’, (11) its publication in 1890 led to a lecture tour (11,13) across the east coast in the fall of 1890, (11) and opportunities to write for a larger audience than just his professors. (13) He got work as a correspondent for the ‘Illustrated American’ (7,11) a national magazine. (13) They wanted him to write about (11,13) the Sioux troubles in Dakota, (12) particularly the ‘Ghost Dance’ phenomenon (11,13) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (13) where he had just been with Bartlett, news of which was arriving in the east. (11) From Pine Ridge Agency (12) the 24-year-old (11) Moorehead contributed an article on the Ghost Dance and others on the Sioux uprising and the Messiah craze. (12) This put him on the scene for the critical weeks leading up to what is now known as the Wounded Knee Massacre of Dec. 29th, 1890. (13)
Moorehead and the Battle of Wounded Knee
He had been near Wounded Knee Creek for two months, reporting for The Illustrated American. (11) He’d been visiting and camping among the various settlements across the Pine Ridge area. (11) On Dec. 28th, he was called into the headquarters of Gen. John R. Brooke, commanding officer of the Department of the Platte (11) He told Moorehead that (11) as he was the only correspondent who spoke the hostile Indians’ language, and was accepted enough to overnight in their camps, (11,13) he was considered a liability to the Army as they tried to ‘bring order to’ the Pine Ridge situation: (11)
how Brooke was planning to ‘bring order’ he did not want any witnesses to see. (11,13) He ordered Moorehead off the reservation under armed military escort on Dec. 28th: (11,13) two soldiers were ordered to escort him to his quarters, watch him pack, and take him to the next train east. (11) As Moorehead was fuming in a train car on the following day, too far away to hear them, (11) shots rang out along Wounded Knee Creek behind him. (11,13) Thus began the event slowly becoming better known across the more general study of United States history, as the ‘Battle of Wounded Knee’. (11) Soldiers of the Unites States Army’s 7th Cavalry shot at the Indians in their camp in a panic, using side arms and 4 Hotchkiss field guns. (11) By the time the massacre was over, more than 250 (16) [OR] ‘150 some argue it was closer to 300’ (11) men, women and children of the Lakota had been killed (11,16) and 51 were wounded (4 men and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead as high as 300. (16) Twenty-five (16) [OR] over 30 (11) soldiers also died (11,16) and thirty-nine were wounded (six of the wounded later died). (16) Most of the soldiers’ casualties were at the hands of their own 500 strong fellow troopers’ gunfire arrayed, as they were, in a circle around the 350-plus Indians, mostly women & children with a few older men and a hundred or so younger warriors. (11) Moorehead’s camera was used by journalists who were still on the scene to record the horrific aftermath. (11,13) Moorehead, in his train, knew nothing of what had happened behind him, but he did not remain ignorant of it for long. (11) After a hurried New Year visit to his family in Xenia, Moorehead pressed on to Washington, D.C., where he carried the case of Red Cloud and the Pine Ridge Lakota all the way to the White House, arguing that neither the national interest nor simple justice were served by the poor treatment he had seen, let alone by a massacre such as everyone in the east was now hearing about, and seeing from early photographs (11) After a frustrating period trying to influence legislators to give justice to the Sioux and publish his account of events leading up to the massacre, (11,13) Moorehead went on to New York, telling his tale to Minton and the Illustrated American staff. (11) They opened up the magazine’s pages and art department for what their correspondent had to tell, and he published half-a-dozen long pieces praising the moral and personal character of Red Cloud and other Indian leaders he had met, explaining their way of life as it had changed since the coming of the white man, and doing his best to present the Ghost Dance in a reasonable light. (11) Of the Wounded Knee Massacre he could say little, but he closed his series by tearing into the system of Indian agents and allocations, and asking for justice from the U.S. government to the much abused, often maligned Lakota and similarly situated tribes in the west. (11) Meanwhile, twenty of the soldiers involved were awarded the Medal of Honor. (16) On reading Moorehead’s righteous rant, the wonder isn’t that it took almost twenty years for him to be named to the federal Bureau of Indian Commissioners, but that he was invited at all. (11)
The Expedition to Sayre
The preservation of Fort Ancient was assured after Moorehead convinced the Ohio legislature to make it a State Memorial, in 1891. (25) In recognition of his accomplishments in the ﬁeld of archaeology (12) he was made a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science in 1891. (2) [OR] 1890, (12) and served as the secretary of Section H. (12) Moorehead was an ambitious young man when he accompanied Dr. Donehoo to Sayre. (10) Sayre is a borough in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 59 miles northwest of Scranton. (17) The exact year is not clear, but during the 1880s a large burial mound was discovered in Sayre. (17)
The archaeological discovery was made by a reputable group of antiquarians, including Dr. G.P. Donehoo, the Pennsylvania state dignitary of the Presbyterian Church; A.B. Skinner, of the American Investigating Museum; and W.K. Morehead, of Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. (17) However, the artifacts were stolen and never seen again. (17) Apparent pictures of the skulls do exist, but many people claim the discovery to be a hoax. (17) Moorehead’s work caught the attention of Dr. Thomas Wilson of the Smithsonian Institution, who arranged for Moorehead to (10) return to education at the Smithsonian Institute, (2,10) at the University of Pennsylvania (9,10) in Philadelphia. (10) In Philadelphia, Moorehead studied under the great (but controversial) palaeontologist Edward Drinker Cope, whose famous feud with O. C. Marsh turned Cope into a national celebrity. (10) Moorehead also craved celebrity of his own, and left school once again to pursue a career writing and lecturing. (10) He returned to Ohio. (13) He caught the attention of (9,11) Professor (11) Frederic Ward Putnam (9,11) of Harvard University’s (9,13) Peabody Museum. (9) [OR] He came to Putnam’s notice because of an article on Mound Exploration that appeared in the Philadelphia Press in November, 1895. (12) Putnam had begun the academic field of archaeology in the United States, (13) and had been appointed the lead curator and head of the anthropology department in 1891 for the World’s Columbian Exposition, to be held in Chicago in 1893. (22) He spent much of the two years leading up to the exposition organizing and directing expeditions dispatched to all parts of the Americas and other parts of the world to gather natural history and ethnographic items for the exhibition. (22) Putnam hired Moorehead (9) to lead the World’s Columbian Expedition to southwestern Ohio. (11) where he was to conduct excavations at Fort Ancient and the Hopewell Mound Group (9) near Chillicothe, Ohio (13) to obtain artifacts for (9) the state display for (13) the Columbian Exposition in 1893. (9,13)
He opened the mounds on the farm of Mr C. M. Hopewell after whom the remarkable Hopewell culture was ﬁrst named. (12) Some of the field work Moorehead did for Putnam resulted in the Hopewell culture ‘type site’, now Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, setting the parameters for the study of Native American Mound Builders of the Ohio River valley around 2000 years ago. (13) On his return from the Hopewell Mounds trip, (12) Moorehead married (2,12) 22 year old (15) Evelyn Ludwig (2,12) at her home town of (13,15) Circleville, Ohio, (12,13) on November 10th, 1892. (2)
The World Columbian Exposition of 1893
He spent the following months at Chicago, working under Putnam on the installation of the archaeological exhibit at the 1893 Exposition. (12) The exposition was an influential social and cultural event and had a profound effect on architecture, sanitation, the arts, Chicago’s self-image, and American industrial optimism. (21) Dedication ceremonies for the fair were held on October 21, 1892, but the fairgrounds were not actually opened to the public until May 1, 1893. (21) The fair continued until October 30, 1893. (21) It recognised the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Europeans. (21) There was an Anthropology Building at the World’s Fair. (21) Nearby, “The Cliff Dwellers” featured a rock and timber structure that was painted to recreate Battle Rock Mountain in Colorado, a stylized recreation of an American Indian cliff dwelling with pottery, weapons, and other relics on display. (21) There was also an Eskimo display. (21) There were also birch bark wigwams of the Penobscot tribe. (21) Nearby was a working model Indian school, organized by the Office of Indian Affairs, that housed delegations of Native American students and their teachers from schools around the country for weeks at a time. (21) When the work on the Hopewell Mounds was finished, (12) Moorehead’s collection was exhibited at the Exposition, (12,13)
and was later presented to the National Museum. (12) It became a published volume for Moorehead, and caught the attention of the organizers of the (13) Ohio Historical & Archaeological Society (12,13) (now the Ohio Historical Society) (13) which had been recently formed in (13,24) March (13) 1885. (13,24)
Ohio University Museum 1894-97
After the World Columbian Exposition was over Moorehead had hoped for a faculty position with the new college on the site (soon to be the University of Chicago). (13) When this did not work out quickly, (13) he found work (4,9) [OR] as the first (9,13) Curator of Archaeology for the Ohio (4,9) State University (4,10) and Archaeological and Historical Society (12) [OR] History Connection. (9) Museum (4,13) from 1894 (4,9) to 1897.(4,12)
With the support of President Orton of The Ohio State University, the museum was established in what is now Orton Hall on the OSU Oval, and (13) Moorehead was made a professor (10,13) of archaeology at OSU, the only part of his work that was paid. (13) Between 1893 and 1899 Moorehead’s activities were conﬁned to Ohio, (11) at archaeological sites along the Ohio River (13)
Chaco and La Plata
He was appointed to leadership of an expedition sent by the Illustrated American to explore the then nearly unknown San ]uan River valley and to secure specimens from the Cliﬁ-Dweller ruins for the Exposition. (12) This was also sponsored by the Peabody Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian Institution. (12) For Peabody he conducted trips to (12) Chaco Canyon (12,13) and the La Plata Valley in 1897. (12) At Chaco a hostile source complains that he “showed up at Chaco in the winter, the offseason for the AMNH party, and proceeded to tear the hell out of two rooms just north of Room 33”. (26) The team returning in the summer said that “It is unfortunate that Moorehead plundered these two rooms”. (26) Richard Wetherill and George Pepper excavated at Chaco in the 1890s, and their methods are often defended along the same lines, but in fact compared to the likes of Moorehead they did a very good job of documenting their work. (26) Pepper’s site report on Pueblo Bonito, though based on his sometimes sketchy field notes and quite inadequate by modern standards, is a wonder of careful documentation of artifact contexts and room features compared to Moorehead’s typical work. (26) Furthermore, Wetherill was a skilled amateur photographer at a time when that was rare, and there are numerous photographs of the excavations at Bonito. (26) I don’t know of any other excavation projects in the 1890s that were photographed as systematically as those at Bonito. (26) Moorehead never took any pictures of his work as far as I know. (26) At La Plata Moorehead referred to ‘the apparent disregard manifested by the ancient Southwestern villagers of everything that might tend to promote hygienic conditions’ which is described as ‘a snide comment indicative of the gentlemanly racism common among early anthropologists, and it would perhaps be unfair to tar Moorehead too much with it, as he actually was quite concerned with the fair treatment of Indians and worked hard throughout his life to advocate for their interests in a rather paternalistic way, which was not a common thing for archaeologists to do. (26) Still, he was a man of his times, and he was apparently unimpressed with the sanitary conditions of the modern Pueblos. (26)
Ohio and Maine
The expedition travelled downstream from La Plata, to the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon, exploring many of the northern tributaries as it progressed. (12) He went to Ohio in the summer of 1897, and to the Salt River Valley in the winter of 1897—98. (12) He continued his interest in archaeology, and kept in touch with Peabody by mail and by occasional personal visits. (12) He edited The Archaeologist, the organ of the American Archaeological Association and of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society in 1894 and 1895. (12) In 1895 The Archaeologist was merged with the Popular Science News. (12) He travelled around Ohio excavating sites, acquiring collections for the Society, and compiling data for a map of Ohio’s mounds and enclosures. (9) In addition he directed work along the Ohio River by mail. (12) Further afield his large-scale archaeological surveys and excavations included the Arkansas River Valley, northwest Georgia, and coastal and interior (7) Maine. (7,13) In the 1910s and (20) 1920s (13,20) Moorehead engaged in a multi-season survey of archaeological sites in Maine. (20) With the permission of the owner, art historian Edmund von Mach, (20) he excavated the Von Mach Site in Brooksville, Maine. (13,20) Moorehead identified it as one of the larger shell midden sites on the lower reaches of the Bagaduce River, which empties into Penobscot Bay on the central Maine coast. (20) The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 1989. (13)
To make matters worse, he developed tuberculosis (10,13) which was nearly always fatal in Moorehead’s day, and when he was clearly diagnosed with the disease, a second trip to the desert southwest became part of what turned into (13) a permanent leave from OAHS after 1898. (13) Illness which had made the trips to Arizona advisable conﬁned him to the Adirondacks for the winters of 1899, 1900, and 1901, and he resigned as curator in 1897. (9) Thus, for health reasons (9,10) he once again found himself out of a job (9,10)
The Atlas of Ohio
He had launched into an ambitious plan to create an atlas of Ohio mounds and earthworks, which he saw eroding and destroyed wherever he went across the Midwest, and even in forays into the American southwest, becoming one of the first surveyors of (13) Chaco Canyon (12,13) and Mesa Verde. (13) After his retirement, William C. Mills, (9,13) his assistant and (13) successor (9,13) at the Ohio History Connection, (9) incorporated (9,13) [OR] plagiarised (10) his data on archaeological sites in Ohio (9,13) and attached his own name to the finished (10,13) atlas of Ohio burial mounds (9,10) known as the (9,13) Mills (13) Archaeological (9) Atlas (9,13) of Ohio. (9) of 1904. (13)
The Horned Giants of Sayre
In the late 1800s in Sayre, Pennsylvania, a burial mound was excavated by (10,17) a reputable group of antiquarians, including (17) Dr. George Patterson (10) Donehoo (10,17) the Pennsylvania state dignitary of the Presbyterian Church (17) and a noted historian, author, and expert in native American history. (10) Assisting Donehoo were (10,17) two acclaimed professors; (10) A. B. Skinner of the American Investigating Museum, and Warren Moorehead of the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. (10,17) These men discovered skeletons which measured seven feet in length, but even more incredible were horn-like projections which protruded from the skull’s forehead. (10) Donehoo estimated that the burial ground dated to the year 1200. (10)
The skeletons were sent to the American Investigating Museum in Philadelphia and were allegedly stolen shortly thereafter. (10) The bones of these horned giants haven’t been seen since. (10) Sayre, which is located at the confluence of the Chemung and Susquehanna rivers, was home to the now-extinct Native American tribe known as the Susquehannock. (10) Susquehannock mythology and folklore is full of stories about giants. (10) Ethnologists believe that the Winnebago, who settled in the Midwest, originated on the East Coast (the Algonquians referred to the Winnebago as “the people of the sea”). (10) A popular icon in Winnebago mythology is Red Horn, a horned hero. (10) The myth states that Red Horn battled with giants, and eventually takes a giantess as a bride. (10) Perhaps this Winnebago legend describes the creation of the race of horned giants uncovered by Dr. Donehoo. (10) In his 1912 book Tales of the Bald Eagle Mountains, historian Henry Shoemaker writes about a seven-foot tall statue of a Susquehannock princess carved from flint which was discovered in 1865 near McElhattan (pp. (10) 208-211), not far away from where the horned giant skeletons were discovered. (10) All signs point to the fact that these giants were actual living people and not the work of an overactive imagination. (10) The story seems to end at the close of the 19th century when the skeletons discovered by Donehoo were (10) lost. (10) [OR] stolen. (17) Maybe Donehoo reminded Moorehead of his own Presbyterian minister father, or maybe Moorehead saw Donehoo as a simple country rube, history doesn’t say. (10) Apparent pictures of the skulls do exist, but many people claim the discovery to be a hoax. (17) After the Sayre excavation, the bones were sent to the ‘American Investigating Museum, but there appears to be no historical evidence that suggests that it ever existed. (10) Locals referred to the his large store there as ‘The Museum’, so it’s possible that it was this. (10) Perhaps Moorehead and Skinner sold the artifacts to a wealthy artifact collector like Robert Peabody. (10) After all, Moorehead’s financial situation completely turned around after the excavation, and around the same time a company was founded in Keene, New Hampshire (only 73 miles away from Andover) called the A. B. Skinner Company. (10) Records show that this company was a ‘dealer in carpets, dry goods, jewellery, etc.’ (10) Were they also dealing archaeological artifacts? (10) One of the founders of Keene, New Hampshire was a Peabody! (10) It’s been said that the religious Donehoo, after discovering the horned giants, immediately concluded that they were descendants of the Biblical giants referred to in the Old Testament as Nephilim. (10) Might such an outlandish hypothesis might have offended the ‘learned’ and uppity Moorehead? (10) The moment when Moorehead’s fortunes were reversed occurred somewhere between the time the bones of the horned giants were stolen and the time he met Robert S. Peabody, the rich artifact collector, in Philadelphia. (10)
Moorehead was now jobless, moneyless, and recovering from tuberculosis as well as recovering from having credit for his atlas stolen from him. (10) Finding no relief in the southwest, (13) he returned to Philadelphia in 1899 and met a wealthy artifact collector, Robert Singleton Peabody at his home near Philadelphia. (10,13) [OR] Robert had befriended the elder Moorehead in about 1890 (27) [OR] in 1896. (7) providing the latter with several American Indian artifact collections. (7) Robert was a wealthy descendant of George Peabody, trader and philanthropist, who collected pottery and baskets from indigenous cultures throughout the New World, (13) and had hired Moorehead to help amass a collection of Native American objects. (27) Peabody, seeing how ill Moorehead had become, generously (13) paid for Moorehead’s medical treatment and (7,10) at Saranac (13,27) Lake, (13) New York, (13,27) the famous tuberculosis sanitarium where just a few years earlier Robert Louis Stevenson had sought relief. (13) Evelyn and Warren’s second son (10,13) was born at Saranac, New York in October 1900 (27) while his father was recovering at Peabody’s cabin. (27) He was named Singleton Peabody Moorehead. (10,13) in recognition of Moorehead’s gratitude to Peabody for his help at this difficult time. (19) The season turned into almost three years, and due to blood loss and anemia Moorehead’s wife Evelyn Ludwig and their son Ludwig King Moorehead were told repeatedly to prepare for Warren’s death, through 1899 to 1901. (13) This was around the time that his father Warren and Robert Peabody were imagining the Department of Archaeology, the name of the present Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology in the early part of the twentieth century. (27) Both Ludwig and Singleton went on to serve in World War I. (27) He become a key architect with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and is buried on the grounds of Bruton Parish Church there. (13)
Peabody Museum Curator 1901-24
The year 1901 was a most important one in Moorehead’s life. (12,13) In 1901 Peabody founded the Department of Archaeology at Phillips Academy (12,27) in Andover, Massachusetts (4,9) This school, founded in 1778, is still one of the most prestigious boarding schools in America. (10) Former students include George Bush, George W. Bush, John Kennedy Jr., and other men from America’s elite aristocracy. (10) Peabody decided to use his immense wealth to build a museum on Phillips Academy grounds, (10,13) using his own large collection as a nucleus. (12) He was then instrumental in getting Moorehead a position (7,10) as curator of this ‘Peabody Museum’ (4,7) at the Phillips Academy (10,13) in 1901 (4,7) [OR] 1902. (13) This was a new life for him. (13) He was based at the Phillips Academy, from 1901 to 1938. (13) He was awarded (2,12) a fellowship from the Peabody-established Victoria Institute, (23) the degree of MA (2,12) [OR] an honorary doctorate (13) from Dartmouth (2,12) College (also a recipient of significant Peabody largesse) (13) in 1901. (2,12) He lived at Hidden Field Road on the Phillips Academy campus. (27)
US Board of Indian Commissioners 1908-33
The bulk of Moorehead’s career was ahead of him in the wake of Wounded Knee. (11) He was now devoted not only to archaeology, but also to the American Indian. (11,12) What is very clear in his writing about Native Americans, both long ago in the archaeological record, and today in his United States, is that Warren King Moorehead saw things differently after the events of 1890. (11) He took away from Wounded Knee not only an amazing news story, but a strong sense of the connection between the stones and bones he had so casually juggled in his teenage days, and the proud people whose homes he had shared. (11) His approach to the material culture he now excavated in Ohio was rooted in a living relationship to Native American people. (11) There was both more respect for, and a passion for justice to the descendants of the people who had built a place like Fort Ancient. (11) President Theodore Roosevelt made him (12,13) a member of the US Board of Indian Commissioners (2,4) with the Department of Interior (13) from 1908 (7) [OR] 1909 (4,9) to 1933. (4,7) At the time of his appointment to the Board of Indian Commissioners he was considered the most knowledgeable man in America concerning the American Aborigine, (4) and was employed by the US Department of the Interior to end (2) abuses of the American Indians (2,12) at the Ojibwa (12) reservation at White Earth (2,12) Minnesota. (12) He was largely responsible for throwing out crooked (12,13) white (12) Indian agents (9,13) who had secured control of large tracts of land on the Reservation by crooked practices. (12) He sought better health care on reservations (9,13) and made such a nuisance of himself that many Washington bureaucrats probably felt the same way about him as Gen. Brooke did in 1890. (13) He worked tirelessly to ensure fair play to Indians in many parts of the country, and was their champion to the last. (12) This interest resulted in the writing of numerous reports which are not listed in his bibliography. (12) His tireless efforts on behalf of living Native Americans have not been properly recognised. (9) He effected the return of 220,000 acres of valuable lands to Indians. (2) Some of his writings highlighted the injustices of the contemporary situation of American Indians, (7,9) for example condemning the Wounded Knee massacre. (9) He also gave talks accompanied by lantern slides on both the prehistory and more recent history of American Indians to the general public. (7) His history of the Indian tribes in Ohio is an early and sympathetic account of how Ohio’s indigenous peoples were driven from their lands. (9) Over the next 49 years, there would be few more vocal and active advocates for Native American justice than Warren King Moorehead. (11) In print, in speeches, in lobbying up and down the corridors of Washington, and in exposés of corruption and mismanagement, Moorehead was tireless in his efforts to speak for Indian people without an advocate or a voice in the government, express deep concerns about the Dawes Act and its application to Indian landholdings, conducting hearings in 1911 investigating bribery and redirection of funds in the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, writing a book length study on his own in 1914 of the national situation regarding BIC management, and supporting the independent Meriam Report of 1928 to the BIC. (11) In 1930 his old university, Denison, granted him an honorary Sc.D. (12) After many attempts to remove him and silence the commission, especially after his leadership of the White Earth Indian Reservation hearings on injustices following the Dawes Act and Moorehead’s book ‘The American Indian in the United States, Period 1850-1914’, and after almost 25 years of service, (13) he had risen to be the senior member if the Board. (12) He was such an embarrassment to the establishment that, (11,12) using the Great Depression as a pretext (12) he was formally silenced in 1933 by the complete closure of the Bureau of Indian Commissioners, (11,12) A new ‘Bureau of Indian Affairs’ was set up in its place, without him, but his friend John Collier was named the new Commissioner of Indian Affairs of what is better known today as the BIA. (11) No longer an Indian commissioner after 1933, he kept writing until his death in 1939 on respect and fair treatment for Indian nations across the US. (11)
Programme of excavations 1912-39
In 1912 the second phase of ﬁeld work began. (12) Moorehead launched into a program of research and publication that went on to include the Red Paint People of the Atlantic coast, and sites in the Illinois River Valley. (13)
He made important excavations at the Cahokia site in Illinois (9,12) for the University of Illinois. (12) These took place from 1921 (6,13) [OR] 1922 (12) [OR] 1927 (12,13) to 1939 (13) [OR] 1924 (12) [OR] 1927 (6) Earlier scientists had debated whether the mounds at Cahokia, Illinois, were part of the natural landscape, and many were destroyed by urban and industrial development. (6) In archaeological investigations conducted at Cahokia Moorehead employed 19th-century excavation techniques combined with contemporary analytical methods, and confirmed that the mounds were built by indigenous peoples. (6) They had been built between AD 1050 and 1350, and originally contained the remains of over 100 earthen mounds that were used as places for Native American rituals, homes of chiefs, or elite tombs. (6) His work represented important excavations at a time when little other similar work was being done in the Midwest, and he had to deal with local social and political opposition. (6) He was instrumental in getting the State of Illinois to buy a portion of the Cahokia site in order to create a state park. (13)
Today the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which Moorehead helped to preserve, is the largest prehistoric mound center in North America, covering almost fourteen square kilometers. (6) Major collections from Cahokia are at the Illinois State Museum and the University of Illinois. (13) Cahokia is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. (6,13) Extensive trips carried him over most of the State of Maine, around Lake Champlain, through Connecticut, and down the Susquehanna River. (12) In 1917 he undertook an archaeological survey of the Arkansas River. (12) Moorehead began excavation at the (13) Etowah site in Georgia. (9,13) during the winter of 1925. (13) His work lasted four winter seasons, conducting excavations on Mound C and the surrounding village area. (13) Moorehead’s work on Mound C led to the discovery of a rich array of Mississippian culture goods. (13) While working on Mound C, Moorehead also worked a small amount on Mounds A and B, but his excavation was object-oriented and ceased soon after no exotic goods were encountered. (13) The Etowah Papers, Moorehead’s report, were published in 1932. (13) Moorehead found several Mississippian copper plates decorated by human dancers wearing eagle paraphernalia. (13) The site is culturally affiliated with and protected by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, currently owned by the state of Georgia, and has been considered a protected National Historic Landmark since 1965. (13) The years immediately following found him busy with the organization of the Museum and its exhibits, with writing, and with occasional short trips to points of archaeological interest in the vicinity of Andover. (12) He received an honorary Sc. D. from Ogelthorpe University in 1927. (12)
Director of Peabody Musum 1924-1938
Moorehead served as curator until 1924, (7) [OR] 1907 (12) when he became director of the department. (4,7) He was director of the Illinois Valley Survey, conducted for the University of Illinois, for a number of years. (12) The winters from 1924 to 1932 were spent in the south during which time he conducted work at Etowah, Georgia, and numerous other sites. (12) He was ﬁrst vice president of the American Anthropological Association for the year 1932. (12) He continued as Director until June, 1938, when he retired. (12)
A prolific writer, (2,4) he produced a great number of books and scholarly works concerning archaeology (2,4) and the American Indian (4,14) including ‘The Stone Age’, ‘Primitive Man in Ohio’ ‘Fort Ancient’ (2) and ‘The American Indian in the United States, 1850-1914’. (14) Not limited to just fellow archaeologists, (4) many of his literary works were aimed at artifact collectors (4,7) and the common man to raise the level of awareness of the United States’ archaeological heritage (4) represented by the artifact collections of a widespread network of collectors and antiquarians. (7) He wrote extensively under the pen-name of Caleb Cabot. (12) He wrote about his near death experience in Ohio in ‘Buried Alive’. (12)
Controversial as an archaeologist?
Moorehead was known in his time as the ‘Dean of American archaeology’. (1,3) His major contributions to archaeology include the preservation of Fort Ancient as an archaeological park (9,12) and other Ohio cultural marvels. (13) His were the first systematic investigations of that site. (9) The Ohio General Assembly voted to purchase Fort Ancient based on Moorehead’s work. (13) His work at the Hopewell Mound Group helped lay the foundations for defining the Hopewell culture. (9) Artifacts from these activities expanded the Department of Archaeology’s collection by nearly 200,000 objects. (8) He is credited with excavating more ancient earthworks than all archaeologists before and after him. (3) Some of his publications were the result of these expeditions. (7) He was influential in the preservation of historical sites (3,6) such as Fort Ancient, (3,9) Cahokia and Etowah. (13) He died “with many honors and published volumes to his credit, and a thriving and vital field of research and informed speculation well established.” (13) Moorehead had belonged most certainly to the Old School. (12) He was a gentleman in the true sense, as gentlemen were bred by that school. (12) The Correspondence section of The American Anthropologist never carried over his name any of the vituperation which other members of the Association like to hurl at their fellows through its pages. (12) His intensely sensitive nature made him suffer at every slight or criticism that seemed unfair. (12) His kindliness led him to show the greatest consideration for the feelings of others. (12) Moorehead never forgot some of the rebuffs with which he had met when he attempted to consult some of his scientiﬁc colleagues. (12) This remoteness and aloofness he continually held up as something to be avoided. (12) The pedantry which has led some of our workers to follow the Schoolmen in the invention of a jargon totally unintelligible to the general reader was most abhorrent to him. (12) He was forever working for popular presentation of a subject in the interest of the non-professional students of archaeology. (12) No matter how long or how tiresome the visits of collectors might be he listened with kindly consideration to every detail regarding collections or ﬁnds which was reported to him. (12) It is perhaps characteristic of him that he habitually prefaced a name with the words ‘that nice man,’ rather than with less complimentary terms. (12) His circle of friends among nonprofessional students was extremely wide, not only in New England, but also in the Mississippi Valley and the Southeast. (12) His generosity was outstanding. (12) Everything that he had was to be shared. (12) Nobody who appealed to him for aid, no matter how great or how triﬂing the cause, went away empty-handed. (12) His goodness and kindly interest made him the valued conﬁdant and counsellor of a multitude of people. (12) His loss was felt keenly by those who knew him. (12) It is to be regretted that his graciousness and kindness is not more widely copied. (12)
But he was not without detractors. (13) After his death most of his work was quickly dismissed by most of professional archaeology, (13) and he is often remembered as a destructive force among modern archaeologists – (3,13) a ‘pillager’. (11,13) At La Plata archaeologists working after he had been there regretted that ‘Moorehead had plundered these two rooms’. (26) He is remembered unkindly for his supposedly crude excavation methods and for his involvement in the buying and selling of artifacts. (9,13) In 1923, the fledgling Central Section of the American Anthropological Association sent him a rebuke concerning a flyer he had distributed which had laid out a manner in which collectors of artifacts could cooperate with him or other archaeologists. (13) At La Plata Moorehead referred to ‘the apparent disregard manifested by the ancient Southwestern villagers of everything that might tend to promote hygienic conditions’ which is described as ‘indicative of the gentlemanly racism common among early anthropologists.’ (26) In his younger days, Moorehead himself recorded in his diary personal regrets over past practices, and his hopes to be able to do better work in the future. (13)
‘Of his time’?
He believed that collection of artifacts was not necessarily a bad thing, and promoted good relations between professional archaeologists and collectors to the end of his life. (13) His youthful wanderings and relatively random diggings before 1990 (9,11) at Fort Ancient (11) and in Licking & Muskingum counties (9,11) left a visual record of pillage. (11) and unmistakable evidence of an emphasis on personal collecting that would dog his reputation down to the present day. (11,13) Both criticisms are unfair, (9,13) though his documentation of excavated sites was indeed careless. (3) His destruction (13) and lack of documentation regarding the Hopewell (3,13) Type Site (and many of his other sites) (13) (because he lost many of his own important field notes, including those from 1891 at Hopewell (3)) has left many archaeological questions unable to be answered. (13) For example, when Moorehead encountered Mound 25 of the Hopewell Mound Group, he observed that the mound had rocks and boulders making two large panther effigies. (13) Regardless of such observation, he did not document these findings in a systematic way and proceeded to nearly level the mound. (13) In the light of today’s standards his field methods certainly would be considered deficient, but for their time they were not all that unusual. (9) In his early career, Moorehead typically used horses and scrapers to quickly remove dirt layers from ancient mounds, often obliterating important historical sites, working quickly recover artifacts during a brief summer season ranging across the state. (13) While he improved his methodology throughout his career, his youthful work in Ohio left a mark on his reputation that has stuck; the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society quarterly reports he filed in the 1890s included photographs of mounds being razed with the heavy equipment of that day. (13) What is often overlooked is that in the narrative, Moorehead would encounter mounds already being taken down by county road crews and construction laborers, and would negotiate to allow an interval of investigation in the middle of the demolition before the project was completed. (13) In his work after 1900, he and his field workers used the archaeological techniques then becoming standard in excavations. (13)
Archaeology did not pay very well. (10) It was a new science back then, which led to practices that would seem immoral and unprofessional by today’s standards. (10) Most archaeologists financed their research and travel by selling their own artifacts, an action that would be (10) unethical (13) and illegal (10,13) today. (10) Moorehead tried turning to his wealthy relatives for money, but (10,13) His aunts (13) turned him away, (10,13) refusing to release any money for ‘that dirty work.’ (13) The practice of buying and selling artifacts, particularly specimens considered to be duplicates, also was not unprecedented at the time. (9,13) It was the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society itself, with little money from the state and sites already to manage (Fort Ancient, and Serpent Mound which had been purchased by Dr. Putnam with money raised at society teas in Newport, RI, but now a local obligation to manage), which encouraged Moorehead to pay for his travel and speaking and research by selling duplicate artifacts. (13) In the context of Chaco, and especially in comparison to Wetherill and Pepper, Moorehead looks pretty bad, but it’s worth emphasizing that he really wasn’t that unusual at the time. (26) The line between pothunter and archaeologist was really quite thin, and many archaeologists of Moorehead’s generation started out digging haphazardly for artifacts and later transitioned to more carefully documented digging for information. (26) As a member of the Old School of thought he was forever occupied with the problems of surveys. (12) In his eagerness to investigate new and little-known regions, he frequently left to others the solutions of the problems raised by his researches. (12) This weakness was perhaps most aptly illustrated when Moorehead called attention to the fact that his survey of the San Juan in 1892 had discovered that while most of the burials in that region were accompanied by pottery, some were without it. (12) In a paper delivered before the Buffalo meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1893 he describes what appears to have been a Basket Maker burial in which the body wore a cap of netting, and was wrapped in rabbit-skin robes and accompanied by many ﬁne baskets. (12) Yet this lead, found thirty years before Guernsey proved the separate culture of the Basket Makers, was never followed out. (12)
He was a member of the Committee on State Archaeological Surveys of the National Research Council, of the Board of The Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine, and was a Trustee of the Peabody Museum of Salem from 1930 until the time of his death. (12) He retired in 1938, a year before (7) he died on January 5th, 1939, (1,3) at the age of 72. (3,5) At the time of his death Moorehead was contemplating the last effort to bring together the mass of data which he had gathered preparatory to making a study of the various types of stone axes and their distribution. (12) It is to be regretted that it was never ﬁnished. (12) Parts of the 19th century infrastructure remain in the Little Miami River Valley near Kings Mills, Ohio, a near-ghost town next to the Peters Cartridge Company once the King’s Powder Mills, desolate except for the now more famous neighbor named after it, ‘Kings Island,’ the Cincinnati area amusement park. (13) He was buried in his home town of Xenia, Ohio, (3,5) near his parents, grandfather, and aunts. (13) His wife Evelyn outlived him by 13 years, dying at Andover, Massachusetts in 1952. (15) She was buried in the Woodland Cemetery in Xenia. (15) The family home is now the heart of the Greene County Historical Society; portraits of his father William and grandfather Joseph are on prominent display, but little is apparently known there, however, about him; their papers include a reminiscence from a contemporary on Moorehead’s death calling him, from their childhood together, ‘a born archaeologist.’ (13) His death brought to a close the long and eventful life of one of the kindliest of archaeologists. (12) The actress Agnes Moorehead is his collateral relation. (13)
So who was Singleton Peabody Moorehead? He grew up on Hidden Field Road on the Phillips Academy campus, and graduated from the school in 1918. (27) During his time at Phillips, Singleton, or “Sing,” played football, swam, and served as art editor for the Academy’s yearbook Pot-Pourri. (27) He also participated in archaeological projects, including Alfred V. Kidder’s excavations at Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico. (27) Both of Warren Moorehead’s sons, Ludwig and Singleton, served in World War I. (27) After a brief military service, Singleton attended Harvard, where he received undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture (BA in 1922 and M.Arch. in 1927). (27) At Harvard, he continued his association with archaeologists, including a friendship with Philip Phillips. (27) One wonders to what extent Moorehead’s exposure to archaeology prepared him for the Colonial Williamsburg project that became his life’s work?
· Quite a lot of duplication in the shorter accounts. I drew the line at allowing (3,5).
· Also between 7 and 8.
· 13 and 14 were the same
1 (13) says he remarried.
2 From the wild days as a Pony Express rider and then Marshal in Deadwood, Bartlett had picked up the Indian name Huste, a dialect word for … ‘Wounded Knee’. Was the creek already called that, or was Bartlett’s nickname attributed to the location? We will probably never know for sure. (11)
3 Dee Brown, the Western historian borrowed a memorable phrase for a book title from Stephen Vincent Benéts poem American Names, which closed with the line ‘Bury my heart at Wounded Knee’. That popular history told a story of the American West from the perspective of Native Americans, using the events of the Wounded Knee Massacre as a lens to refocus the narrative on the Indian experience. (11)
4 This is surely too early for Moorehead?
5 More likely anthropological.
6 As the text box shows, The Ohio History Connection no longer recognises Moorehead; neither does the Ohio Archaeological Society.
7 But he took state of the art cameras with him to Wounded Knee?
8 Alleged to be fraudulent in 2021 in https://ahotcupofjoe.net/2021/02/the-american-archaeological-association-fact-or-fraud/
9 I don’t know what this word means!
10 This contradiction bears on the allegation that they colluded in the financial fraud over the ‘Horned Giants’
11 The American spelling of ‘sanatorium’
12 The American spelling of ‘anaemia’
13 Artefact is the British spelling of the noun meaning, primarily, an object shaped by human workmanship, especially one of historical or archaeological interest. Artifact is the American spelling. ‘Both spellings are etymologically justifiable, and both are hundreds of years old in English. The British preference for artefact is a new development.’ The two forms vied for ascendancy in British writing through much of the 20th century until artefact finally gained the upper hand around 1990. Since this study was provoked by the kind lady in Ohio who manages this website, I have preferred the American usage, although for me the Latin based ‘artefact’, from ‘arte factus’ which means ‘made by hand’ is better.
Links to Sites visited
- https://en.wikipedia. (21)org/wiki/World%27s_Columbian_Exposition