On March 23, we were thrilled to learn that the Salmon Pueblo Archaeological Research Collection (SPARC) project would be funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The total project funding is $300,000. The project will preserve and make accessible incomparable legacy data from the important excavations at Salmon Ruins in the 1970s. Led by Cynthia Irwin-Williams, this groundbreaking project excavated more than one-third of the Chacoan great house at Salmon. Built around 1090, Salmon was the first major colony outside of Chaco Canyon—a cultural center on the north bank of the San Juan River 45 miles north of Chaco.
The site of Salmon Pueblo is important for its place in the larger Chacoan world of the 1100s and for its unique archaeological history. A collaboration between four institutions—the Salmon Ruins Museum, Archaeology Southwest, the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia—created SPARC. The project entails three phases: (1) digital acquisition (that is, scanning of the huge collection of data, drawings, photographs, slides, and original field forms); (2) data integration and management; and (3) online preservation of and access to materials.
Carrie Heitman of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is the project director, and I’m co-director. We have assembled a wonderful team among the four institutions to accomplish our goals.
During the SPARC project, Salmon data will be uploaded to the Chaco Research Archive (managed by the University of Virginia), one of the foremost online digital repositories in archaeology. Data will also be shared with Arizona State University’s online digital archive tDAR. Through these online facilities, the vast storehouse of data from Salmon Pueblo will be made available to the community of Southwestern researchers and qualified lay people.