The publication of a manuscript thirty-odd years old presents several rather special considerations. First, since the time the Valshni Village report was written in 1941, the objectives of the discipline have changed. Whereas people were more interested in reconstructing culture histories in the 1930-60 period, the interest today is more in explanation. Second, in this case, as in many others, the author has not worked in the area for quite a few of those years. Third, additional archaeological work may have been done in the area since the time the manuscript was written. This work may be important to its content and interpretation. Now, these special considerations may lead some people to ask, why put the effort in publishing it at all? In answer, a very basic point to be remembered about a site report, no matter how new or old, or what its theoretical orientation, is that it is a primary source of the raw data used by archaeologists, and as such is irreplaceable.
The publishing organization, the Arizona Archaeological Society, poses a consideration of a different order. Because of the membership and publication structure of the Society, any publication should be of mutual interest to the non-professional and professional members. Valshni Village at first glance, may appear not to fulfill this obligation. It is my belief that this is because of a general lack of knowledge concerning the goals of archaeology and the methods used to obtain these goals. These have not often appeared in literature aimed at the non-professional. Knowledge of this nature should increase the general interest in this and other reports. Therefore, it seems in order here to discuss some of the transformations which have occurred in archaeology over the past decade and how Valshni Village fits into this picture.
Most people who have been working for a number of years know that sometimes the purpose of a job will change. Usually, when this happens, the way the job is done will change also. This is what has happened in archaeology. It was mentioned earlier that between 1930 and 1960, the primary interest was in culture histories, that is, in reconstructing the history of the different cultures that occupied an area and something of their historical relationships to each other. Then, starting about 1960, some archaeologists began to be more interested in explaining why people were 'living the way they were rather than simply saying they were living in a particular way. The goal became why, rather than what.
This change in the kind of question being asked, precipitated changes in method. First, the question must be stated as a proposition or hypothesis. Second, the kind of evidence which can be used to test the validity of the hypothesis must be stated. Third, a review of the data must be made to determine whether the evidence supports or does not support the hypothesis. Fourth, the hypothesis must be rejected, accepted, or revised to better fit the data. If it is revised, then it is necessary to be retested, using different sets of data for evidence.
An implication that could be read into the above, is that these changes in the discipline occurred rapidly, and that the two kinds of problems, culture histories and "why" questions, were/are asked completely in isolation from the other. This is simply not true. Both kinds of questions have been asked for many years. The principal difference, is that earlier it was only the culture history questions being explicitly stated; almost all references to the "why" questions were completely by implication.
The change in methods is more dramatic. Previously, it was up to the researcher to view the evidence and make interpretations. Testing of interpretations using outside data was practically unheard of. To me, it is this idea of testing interpretations as hypotheses that is the important change in archaeology. However, combined, the "why" question and testing of hypothesis will make it possible to greatly improve our knowledge of ourselves.
What is Valshni Village? Valshni Village is a pioneer excavation in a previously unknown area. The excavation and report were done in the culture history school. When Mr. Withers writes "and it is with the diagnostics of these phases that this report is concerned" (page 1), there can be little doubt of that. However, when Mr. Withers also makes statements like "The Sells Phase saw many changes in the local culture, among them an apparent intensification of agriculture over the findings in Valshni Village" (page 3), he is giving us a potentially interesting problem in a group economic adaptation to an area through time. This sentence could be removed and restated as a hypothesis.
The content of Valshni allows the new kinds of questions and methodology to build upon it in a positive manner. I hope that investigators who will work on the Papago Reservation will use this report to formulate some of their questions.
It has been a pleasure to work with this manuscript. The effort of many individuals made it possible to do the job, as well as contributing to the enjoyment.
Dr. Raymond H. Thompson, Head, Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, granted permission on behalf of the University to publish the manuscript, and made available the photographs and working copies of the text.
Mr. Lary Hammack, Dr. Emil W. Haury, Mr. Julian Hayden, and Mr. Albert Schroeder gave of their time to answer questions posed by the author and editor. Permission to quote was granted by each.
Dr. Thomas Bowen and Mr. Cameron Greenleaf allowed the editor to use their respective manuscripts.
Mr. Mark Raab permitted use of information he has been recovering on the Santa Rosa Wash in Southern Arizona. This work is being done under a National Park Service Contract [NPS 8101 -00651(25)].
Mr. Elliott Gappinger, of the Arizona State Highway Department, offered many invaluable suggestions which have greatly contributed to the aesthetic appeal of several illustration.
Christine Callahan, Melinda Banks, and A. M. Yates, all of the Arizona Archaeological Society, did much of the typing during the several editing stages.
Mr. T. E. Scheitlin, also of the Arizona Archaeological Society, was kind enough to redraft several of the illustrations so they would better conform to the format.
Mrs. Susan Belt, Miss M. Genevieve Evans, and Mrs. Mila Jolley were instrumental in completing the work and a source of personal encouragement to the editor. The Board of Directors patiently sanctioned for two years the work of preparing the manuscript.
Miss M. Genevieve Evans typed the final manuscript. This job required many long evenings and weekends of meticulous work. She put a great amount of care and pride of craftsmanship into this task.
My personal gratitude and thank you to each of these individuals. The task could not have been completed without your help.
One of the unexpected pleasures of editing this manuscript was the opportunity to meet Arnold and Malcolm Withers. I was able to spend a very enjoyable and memorable week in their home. It was Mr. Withers' suggestion that some attempt be made to introduce references to work done since the time he wrote the paper. I thank him for granting permission to publish his work and for the help he provided. It will be noted here that an extract of the Valshni Village Report has appeared in American Antiquity (Withers, 1944:33-47).
A word should be said about the editor's notes scattered throughout the monograph. Most of these notes are there in order to bring the reader's attention to work done since 1941, a few to interject some of my own ideas. The notes pertaining to more recent materials make no claim of being a comprehensive usage of the materials, or even a comprehensive listing of those materials. They are merely to direct the reader to other sources of information.
Walter Thomas Duering