Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationStanford U.
Grant numberGr. 9383
Approve DateOctober 17, 2016
Project TitleHolley-Kline, Samuel T., Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Exploring Entangled Landscape Histories in El TajÃn, Veracruz,' supervised by Dr. Lynn Meskell
SAMUEL HOLLEY-KLINE, then a graduate student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded funding in October 2016 to aid research on “Exploring Entangled Landscape Histories in El Tajín, Veracruz,” supervised by Dr. Lynn Meskell. This dissertation research explores the social and material means by which a bounded and federally administered archaeological site – El Tajín, Mexico – was carved from a landscape of pre-Hispanic mounds, and the histories that that process silenced. Ethnographic research focused on the indigenous Totonac communities around El Tajín to explore 20th-century histories rarely discussed with reference to the archaeological site: infrastructural development (or lack thereof), oil exploration, and vanilla cultivation. In the contemporary archaeological site of El Tajín, ethnographic and archival research focused on the histories of labor, custodianship, management, and administration, with the objective of understanding the political economy of archaeological bureaucracy and labor. Supplementary archival research in Mexico City dealt with rarely consulted site guard reports and personnel files dating from 1889-1964, while an additional three months of archival research in the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas focused on materials from Isabel T. Kelly’s 1947-1948 in fieldwork in El Tajín. This dissertation contributes to novel research at the intersections of sociocultural anthropology and archaeology with a fine-grained account of how one particular landscape became archaeological, with implications for understanding such landscape in global contexts.