21 halftones

The Road from Frijoles Canyon

Anthropological Adventures on Four Continents
By William Y. Adams



In 1936, eight-year-old William Adams made his first visit to the Southwest and the Puebloan ruins of Frijoles Canyon-better known as Bandelier National Monument. Amidst the red rock canyons and mesas his lifelong passion for the Southwest was born. When his family moved to Window Rock, Arizona, his fascination with the Southwest fused with a desire to make a career of studying American Indians and led him down the path to becoming a well-known and respected anthropologist.

From his years growing up on the Navajo Reservation and later working there as a livestock drive foreman and trader, to conducting archaeological excavations in areas along the Nile in the Sudan and Egypt that were to be flooded by the Aswan High Dam, to holding visiting lectureships in China, Kazakhstan, Germany, and England, Adams's memoir tells the story of an active and adventurous life while reflecting on the lessons that come from living on four continents and working among many different cultures and languages.

"Like many colleagues of my generation, I would simply have become an 'Indianologist' had there been any such discipline (comparable for example to Egyptology). I cared nothing in those early years about the peoples of Africa and Oceania, or even for that matter about the (American) Indians of the eastern U.S. But anthropology a generation earlier had co-opted the study of Indians so completely that there was simply no other way to become an 'Indianologist.' So my resolve to be an anthropologist was formed, even before I reached high school, and I have never wavered from it since. So also I feel that the long and winding road I've followed in my subsequent career is, figuratively speaking, the road from Frijoles Canyon."--from The Road from Frijoles Canyon

Contributor Bios
William Y. Adams retired from the University of Kentucky in 1992. He has published numerous articles and books including Religion and Adaptation, The Philosophical Roots of Anthropology, Nubia: Corridor to Africa, and Archaeological Typology and Practical Reality: A Dialectical Approach to Artifact Classification and Sorting. He resides in Lexington, Kentucky.