Byron Cummings, known to students and colleagues as “The Dean,” had a profound influence on the archaeology of Arizona and Utah during its early development. An explorer, archaeologist, anthropologist, teacher, museum director, university administrator, and state parks commissioner, Cummings was involved in many important discoveries in the American Southwest over the first half of the twentieth century and was a pioneer in the education of generations of archaeologists and anthropologists.
This book presents the first comprehensive examination of Cummings’ life, offering readers a greater understanding of his trailblazing work. Todd Bostwick elucidates Cummings’ many intellectual and cultural contributions, investigates the controversies in which he was embroiled, and describes his battles to wrest control of Arizona archaeology from eastern institutions that had long dominated Southwest archaeology.
Cummings saw the Southwest as an American wilderness where the story of cultural development revealed by the archaeologist and anthropologist was as important as it was in Europe. Bostwick’s meticulous account of his life reflects his great reverence for the region and pays tribute to a man whose dedication, mentoring, and friendship have forever sealed his place as The Dean.