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Catalog Number 101.12
Title Richard S. MacNeish papers
Date 1929-2001
Collection size 86 linear feet (70 record cartons, 18 document cases, 6 flat boxes)
Creator MacNeish, Richard S.
Administrative/Biographical History Richard Stockton "Scotty" MacNeish (1918-2001) was a significant figure in American Archaeology in the second half of the 20th century. His style of interdisciplinary team archaeology focused on the origins of agriculture in the New World and resulted in major excavations in Mexico, Peru, and Belize. The projects in the Tehuacán Valley in Mexico and the Ayacucho Valley in Peru established deep cultural sequences and provided crucial insight into the process of plant and animal domestication. These oft-cited works are considered some of the most important interdisciplinary studies of 20th-century American archaeology. MacNeish's contributions to archaeology were acknowledged through more than a dozen medals and honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974.

MacNeish was born in New York City to parents Harris Franklin and Elizabeth Stockton MacNeish. He grew up in Eastchester, NY, and received his BA (1940), MA (1944) and PhD (1949) from the University of Chicago. He was married, first to June Helm, 1945-1958, then to Diana Walter in 1963, with whom he raised two sons, Richard Roderick and Alexander Stockton. He was Senior/Chief Archaeologist at the National Museum of Canada, 1949-1962, and headed the University of Calgary's Department of Archaeology, 1964-1968. In 1969, he was appointed the fifth director of the Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology, staying there until 1983. From 1982-1986 he taught in the Department of Archaeology at Boston University. In 1984 he established the Andover Foundation for Archaeological Research (AFAR), a non-profit organization that served to fund his excavation projects. He died at age 82 in Belize.
Scope & Content These papers document Richard MacNeish's scholarly and professional life, from his graduate studies and early career up until his death. They contain fieldwork and project administration records, correspondence, photographs and slides, manuscript drafts and final publications, reference materials, and to a small extent, lecture and course materials, and family, financial and medical information. Particularly well documented are the administration of the Andover Foundation for Archaeology (AFAR) and the fieldwork projects carried out under its auspices in New Mexico in the 1980s (Las Cruces and Orogrande (Ft. Bliss)), in China in the 1990s, and to a lesser extent, in Belize in the 1980s; MacNeish's correspondence; reference materials on a variety of topics relevant to his research; early career fieldwork records from Tamaulipas, Mexico, on which MacNeish wrote his doctoral dissertation and additional later publications, and photographs and field notes from his surveys in the Yukon (Canada) in the 1950s. Also documented are the administration of the Ayacucho Archaeological-Botanical project (Peru), MacNeish's directorship of the Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology, other early career fieldwork projects, MacNeish's professorship at Boston University, and biographical information about MacNeish and his family.

The papers have been arranged into the following series: Series I. Andover Foundation for Archaeology (AFAR); Series II. Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology; Series III. Graduate school (University of Chicago) and early career (United States, Canada and Mexico); Series IV. Boston University; Series V. Correspondence; Series VI. Writings and publications; Series VII. Biographical and genealogical material; Series VIII. Reference material; Series IX. Personal/financial/medical; Series X. Maps; Series XI. Slides.

These papers do not include the correspondence and museum records left at the Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology when MacNeish's directorship of the foundation ended in 1983 - those records have been processed as a separate collection, the Richard S. MacNeish records.
Conditions Governing Access This collection is open for research, though documents containing personal, financial and/or medical information may be restricted.
Language of Material English, Spanish
Finding Aid Finding Aid