Jacques Bordaz papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives [Contact Us]3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104-6324
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Jacques Bordaz was born in Paris February 14, 1926. He received his baccalaureate in Philosophy-Letters from the University of Paris in 1944. From 1944 to 1947 he attended the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, University of Paris, and in 1964 received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University (dissertation: Pre-Columbian Ceramic Kilns at Peñitas, a Post-Classic site in Coastal Nayarit, Mexico). From 1948 to 1954 he was attached to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York.
Early fieldwork included sites in Peru and Bolivia in 1949. He attended the U.C.L.A. Archaeological Field School in Utah in 1955, and in 1956 he conducted fieldwork at Peñitas, Mexico, after which he served as Research Assistant for the study of Mexican material at U.C.L.A. in 1956 and 1959. He was Research Assistant to William Duncan Strong, Columbia University, from 1956-1958 (research fellowship for dissertation, 1959-1960). His academic positions included: Lecturer in Anthropology, Columbia University, 1958-1959; Instructor in Anthropology, New York University, 1961-1964 (Assistant Professor, 1964-1966); Professeur agrégé, Départment d’Anthropologie, University of Montreal, 1966-1971 (Professeur titulaire, 1971-1972); Associate Professor and Assistant Chairman, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania 1972-1974 (Associate Professor from 1974).
In 1960 Bordaz served as assistant to Ralph S. Solecki at the Neanderthal site of Shanidar Cave in northern Iraq, continuing as research assistant from 1960-1961 (Columbia University). In 1963, while Instructor at New York University, he participated in a joint excavation with Columbia University of a Native American shell midden site at Mott’s Point, New York. During 1962 Bordaz participated in an archaeological survey of prehistoric sites, known as the Anatolian Research Project (New York University), in the Dandalas Valley of southwestern Turkey, also under the direction of Ralph Solecki. One of the sites identified by Dr. Solecki was the pre-pottery Neolithic settlement at Suberde in the Beysehir-Sugla lake region. Bordaz served as director of the Suberde excavations (NYU) for two seasons, from 1964 to 1965, followed by a study season in 1966. A focal point of this project was the analysis of faunal remains to determine the prevalence of hunting as opposed to stock raising in Neolithic culture, as well as a study of chipped stone artifacts. Bordaz was subsequently director of the excavations at Erbaba (University of Montreal, later Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania), a Neolithic site not far from Suberde. Active excavations were undertaken in 1969, 1971,1974 and 1977, with study seasons between. Significant aspects of the Erbaba project included the study of stone tools, worked bone, and pottery. Bordaz authored Tools of the Old and New Stone Age in 1970 (New York, The Natural History Press, the American Museum of Natural History), which became a standard introductory text in this field. He also produced a film, Stone Knapping in Modern Turkey in 1971, and was the author of numerous scholarly articles.
Jacques Bordaz collaborated on several projects with fellow archaeologist Victoria von Hagen. An ongoing concern of theirs was the use of the new technology of data processing as applied to archaeology. They also pioneered the use of the Termatrex system, a less expensive system of data collection and interpretation. Jacques and Victoria married, and Victoria spent at least the 1965 season at Suberde as a member of the expedition. Jacques Bordaz married Louise A. Alpers sometime in late 1969 or early 1970. Louise Alpers was also an archaeologist and a member of the expedition at Suberde in 1966. Jacques and Louise Bordaz worked closely together on several projects. By 1975 they had shifted their scholarly focus to the traditional crafts of Turkey. Other projects at this time included monographs in preparation concerning the Suberde and Erbaba projects, and a study of human occupation in the Beysehir-Sugla region of Turkey from the Neolithic to the Islamic periods, comprising sixty sites, and incorporating data collected since 1964. It is unclear if, or in what form, any of these projects were completed. Jacques Bordaz died on October 24, 2000.
Louise Alpers Bordaz
Louise A. Alpers (Bordaz) was born June 6, 1941 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College in 1963 in Archaeology (honors thesis: A Study of Glazed Wares in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean from the Earliest Appearances through the Late Bronze Age). She earned her Ph.D. in 1973 in Near Eastern and Aegean Archaeology, also from Bryn Mawr College (dissertation: The Metal Artefacts from the Bronze Age Excavations at Karatas-Semayük, Turkey and Their Significance in Anatolia, The Near East, and the Aegean). Her professional positions included: Teaching Assistant, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College, 1965-1966; Acting Director, Ankara Branch, American Research Institute in Turkey, 1967-1969; Lecturer, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, 1973-1974 (since 1974 Assistant Professor). Louise Alpers' research and field work included three seasons as field supervisor at the Bryn Mawr College excavations at Elmali in Turkey, 1964-1966, and five at Karatas-Semayük, 1964-1968, both under the direction of Professor Machteld J. Mellink. She studied ceramic material collected by the Beysehir-Sugla Lakes Basin Survey in 1966, during which she was also field supervisor for the Ankara Archaeological Museum excavations at Eskiyapar, Raci Temizer, Director. She conducted an analysis of the post-Neolithic ceramic material collected by the Suberde excavation in 1966. In 1969 or 1970 she married Jacques Bordaz. Between 1970 and 1978 she conducted field work at Erbaba (Associate Director since 1971), alternating archaeological excavation with material study. Her subsequent research was almost exclusively in collaboration with Jacques Bordaz, detailed above. She spoke and wrote fluent Turkish, and collaborated on research, translation, and editing books and articles by Turkish scholars. Her publications included collaborative articles and reports with Jacques Bordaz on the Erbaba excavations, and co-production of the film, Stone Knapping in Modern Turkey. Louise Bordaz died on August 28, 2002.
The Jacques Bordaz papers consist of 13.8 linear feet of textual and photographic records covering the career of archaeologist Jacques Bordaz from 1956 to 2003 (bulk 1960-1989). The collection includes papers relating to the early academic careers of Bordaz and his wife and fellow archaeologist, Louise Bordaz, with whom he collaborated on many projects. There is no documentation of any of Bordaz’ American archaeological projects, except for a small file concerning the Mott’s Point, New York project (1962) and a collection of photographs from the Penitas, Mexico project (1956, 1964). There are several files concerning the Shanidar Cave project in northern Iraq (1960-1961), and the Anatolian Research Project, an archaeological survey of the Dandalas Valley region of southwestern Turkey (1962). Both the Shanidar Cave and the Dandalas Valley projects were under the direction of Dr. Ralph Solecki (Columbia University). The majority of the collection consists of the records of the Suberde (1964-1965) and Erbaba (1969-1974) projects, Neolithic sites in the Beysehir-Sugla region of southwestern Turkey. Both of these projects had a strong focus on the production and use of stone tools, a major concern of Bordaz throughout his career. The Suberde project also included a significant study of animal bones, in part to determine the prevalence of hunting as opposed to stock raising for food production. The Erbaba project included a study of Neolithic pottery. The collection also includes a curious set of Termatrex data sheets with descriptive text and illustration, intended to provide analysis and interpretation of various aspects of Neolithic settlement. A very small collection of documents concerns the study of traditional crafts of modern Turkey. There is virtually no documentation in this collection concerning Victoria (von Hagen) Bordaz, Jacques’ former wife, also an archaeologist with whom he collaborated on several projects. There are no textual files related to the early archaeological work of Louise Bordaz.
The collection includes a series of photographic prints, most with negatives, from the Penitas excavation, the Shanidar Cave site, the Dandalas Valley project, and the Suberde and Erbaba projects. This evidence both predates and postdates the textual records. A collection of slides documenting both objects and excavation at Suberde and Erbaba, traditional crafts of Turkey, as well as Louise Bordaz' field work at Karatas-Semayuk, is filed separately.
About 30% of the documents in this collection are in French or a combination of French and English, especially early projects. A very small number of documents of an administrative nature are in Turkish.
- University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Lawrence Rosen and James DeWalt
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Although many items from the archives are in the public domain, copyright may be retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. The user is fully responsible for compliance with relevant copyright law.
The correspondence series contains general correspondence, arranged by correspondent, from 1961 through 1996, with some outliers dating to 2003. Subjects include archaeological activity, teaching and student advising, and some letters of a more personal nature. Many of the project series in this collection also have correspondence files, and correspondence can be found within subject files in various series. Many of the letters are in French, a few in Turkish.
The employment series contains files related to Jacques Bordaz’ academic career at New York University (1962-1965), the University of Montreal (1968-1972), and the University of Pennsylvania (1987 only). Some of the material relates to Bordaz’ student work, but most of the contents document his course assignments as instructor or professor. A significant portion of this series pertains to a series of student protests directed at Professor Bordaz regarding alleged misappropriation of grant funds and generally poor relations with students at the University of Montreal in 1972, leading to his acceptance of a position at the University of Pennsylvania. Most of the documentation from the University of Montreal is in French.
This series contains documentation concerning publications not specifically related to the Suberde or Erbaba projects. Included are book and article reviews by Jacques and Louise Bordaz, drafts of articles, and reviews of Bordaz’ Tools of the Old and New Stone Age.
A brief academic biography of Louise A. Bordaz can be found in the biographical/historical note of this finding aid. The Louise A. Bordaz series contains papers from Louise Bordaz’ early academic and professional career, including her tenure at the American Research Institute in Turkey, and her teaching career at Columbia University. There are no records relating to Louise Bordaz’ academic career at Bryn Mawr College, with the exception of a small collection of slides from her field work at Karatas-Semayük, Turkey, filed separately from this collection. The series contains two files pertaining to the Nemrud Dag Publication Project, for which Louise Bordaz served as a consultant. The remaining files in this series contain notes that Louise kept during site surveys in southwestern Turkey and ethnographic observations that she made regarding Turkish domestic building processes. These files complement the Dandalas Valley Project series as well as the Traditional Crafts of Turkey series. After beginning her collaboration with Jacques Bordaz, Louise’s papers are increasingly interfiled with the general project series files, and correspondence is often addressed to both Jacques and Louise Bordaz. Notes and other documents written by Louise are often labeled “LAB” or can be identified by her distinctive right-leaning penmanship.
Shanidar Cave is a Neolithic site located on Bradost Mountain in Iraqi Kurdistan. The site was excavated by Ralph S. Solecki and a team from Columbia University from 1957 to 1961. Site analysis included the discovery of a Neanderthal burial with flowers, which has been interpreted as evidence of early burial rituals. In 1960 Jacques Bordaz worked at the site as assistant to Dr. Solecki, and in 1961 continued to research material from the site. The series contains press releases, fundraising proposals, and some field data, as well as a very curious poem.
The Dandalas Valley Project, part of the Anatolian Research Project (New York University) includes reports and field notes related to at least two separate surveys in southwestern region of Turkey. During the summer of 1962, Jacques Bordaz, at the invitation of Professor Kenan T. Erim of New York University, conducted a survey of the Dandalas Valley region near the ancient city of Aphrodisias, in an attempt to identify prehistoric sites warranting further study. In 1963, Ralph S. Solecki of Columbia University conducted a similar site survey in the Beysehir-Sugla region nearby. In addition to the Dandalas Valley survey, Bordaz was involved in various capacities with the ongoing survey project of Solecki, who identified the sites of Suberde and Erbaba during this process. At least part of this study contributed to Bordaz’ later data survey of selected archaeological sites in the region. The series includes reports and field notes. The notes are not extensive, and are not supported by reports and analysis after 1963.
In 1963 Jacques Bordaz participated in a joint New York/Columbia University excavation of a Native-American shell midden at Mott’s Point, Long Island, on the grounds of the IBM country club at Sand’s Point, Long Island. In 1977 the same site was again excavated by Lynn Ceci of Queen’s College. Dr. Ceci further nominated the site for the National Register of Historic Places, enlisting the aid and experience of Bordaz. There is very little in this brief series pertaining to the 1963 excavation; most of the documentation concerns the efforts of Dr. Ceci and her communication with Bordaz. Some photographs in this series may not belong to the Mott's Point project. It also appears from correspondence that Bordaz may have participated in some way with the project after 1963.
Suberde in the Beysehir-Sugla region of southwestern Turkey is a pre-pottery Neolithic site first identified by Ralph S. Solecki of Columbia University. Dr. Solecki subsequently encouraged Jacques Bordaz to undertake an excavation of two seasons (1964-1965), followed by a study season (1966). The focus of the excavation was the study of the early development of sedentism and the domestication of animals and plants. The project also included a significant study of stone tools.
The Suberde series consists of 5 linear feet of textual documents, with 3.5 linear feet of folder files and 1.5 linear feet card files and field notebooks. The series includes administrative documents, fundraising, excavation records, field reports, and object classification and analysis. By far the greatest portion of the material object records, about 2 linear feet, consists of an animal bone catalog, an attempt to determine, in part, the importance of hunting as opposed to stock raising in this Neolithic culture. This evidence was evaluated in an article "A Hunters' Village in Neolithic Turkey" (Perkins and Daly. Scientific American, v.219 n.5 (1968) pp.96-106) in the publications file of this series. An inventory of chipped stone tools comprises another linear foot of documentation. Two files concern pottery finds made at the site. The pottery found in upper strata included late Bronze Age to Roman samples unrelated to the Neolithic site, according to analysis by Louise A. Alpers (Bordaz). There is very little documentation related to floral or human remains. Konya inventory files record objects removed for storage, or sometimes display, in the nearby Konya Archaeological Museum. The publications and reports files in this series refer to the Suberde project exclusively, but some reports in the Erbaba project series compare the Suberde and Erbaba sites. The Suberde series contains a card file with drawings of both Suberde and Erbaba finds (Box 10). The Erbaba series includes Konya Archeological Museum packing lists with finds from both sites, and a report concerning faunal analysis from both the Suberde and Erbaba sites (Daly 1974). Photographic prints from the Suberde project are filed in the photographs series. Negatives for these prints, as well as slides from the Suberde site, are filed separately from this collection.
The Erbaba Neolithic site was selected by Dr. Ralph Solecki during a survey of the Beysehir-Sugla region of southwestern Turkey during the summers of 1965-1966. The site yielded a Neolithic pottery, so that it was hoped that Erbaba might provide an overlap with the aceramic Suberde site in developing a chronology of Neolithic cultural development. In addition to pottery, a major focus of the Erbaba Project was the study of stone tool and worked bone manufacture and use. Excavation began in 1969, with Jacques Bordaz as Director, followed by a study season in 1970 when Jacques was joined by Louise Bordaz. A 1971 excavation followed with Jacques as Director and Louise Associate Director from this period onward. The subsequent seasons were: 1973 (study), 1974 (excavation), 1975 (study), 1977 (excavation) and 1978 (study). Sponsoring institutions included the University of Montreal, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Erbaba series consists of 5.5 linear feet of textual documents, 4 linear feet of folder files and an additional 1.5 linear feet of index cards and field notebooks. Procedures followed during excavation and the preparation and arrangement of documents followed those at Suberde. The excavation field notes were compiled in two series, by quadrant and also by area, generally corresponding to the 1969 and subsequent seasons. Field notes are often not dated, or contain documents with several dates, some evidently marked as viewed or inventoried in later years. Usually when this occurs the folder is left undated. Even when folders are dated, following some internal evidence, it is likely that the file contains papers form other years. Floral and faunal evidence is sparse. Publications and reports often include comparison with the Suberde project. Photographs from the Erbaba project are filed in the photographs series. Negatives of these photographs, as well as slides taken at Erbaba, are filed separately.
In a National Science Foundation grant proposal (1976), Jacques and Louise Bordaz wrote that they were in the process of studying “the evolution of human occupation in the Beysehir-Sugla region of Southwestern Turkey. This study…analyses the settlement pattern of Neolithic to Islamic periods in an anthropological and ecological perspective. A total of sixty sites have been recorded to date. Work on this project has been carried out since 1964 concurrently with the excavations.” The Archaeological Site Survey series (not original title) consists of a collection of Termatrex key cards containing coding with written text and drawings describing characteristics of a number of sites, mostly in Turkey, but some in the Middle East. Reference is made to the work of past archaeologists at these sites. From this data, the cards should date from around 1969, although some later additions must be from about 1974. It seems possible also, that information from the Dandalas Valley Project, as well as some files in the Louise A. Bordaz series, may have been used. There is no apparent order to the cards; they are filed as they were originally found. It is uncertain if this study was completed or published.
The Termatrex system was an efficient and less expensive alternative to the new computer data systems then in use. A folder with samples and instructions, although not specific to this key card system, explains how the Termatrex system worked. It is unlikely that the cards from the site survey can now be read, but text and drawings on the cards are of value. There is a Termatrex machine in the collection of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Jacques and Louise Bordaz noted in their 1976 NSF grant proposal that they were in the process of writing a volume on the “traditional crafts of Turkey. Data and illustrations for blade chipping, felt manufacture, pottery production, reed collection and mat weaving and the construction of stone village architecture are largely complete. Further data on mud-brick architecture, harvesting, dug-out canoe production and food preparation are among the topics to be studied in the future.” This series consists largely of notes taken in preparation for the study. The files contain a completed article on reed technology, and notes and correspondence in preparation for the film Stone Knapping in Modern Turkey. The notes are not extensive and it is uncertain if the project ever went forward beyond this point. A 1979 National Geographic Society grant proposal (rejected) requests funds for a study of additional stone knapping sites in modern Turkey. A field notebook in the Louise A Bordaz series, “Ethnographic Observations and Misc. Notes,” contains notes on architecture that may be related to this study. A large collection of slides, filed separately from this collection, provides graphic documentation of Turkish handicraft production beyond the scope of the 1976 proposal. Some photographs of traditional crafts are included in the photographs series of this collection. The film on stone knapping can be viewed at https://archive.org/details/upenn-f16-2008_Stone_Knapping_in_Modern_Turkey.
The photograph series contains prints, either contact or enlargement, related to several Bordaz projects: Peñitas, Mexico (1956, 1964); Dandalas Valley (1962); Suberde (1965, 1969-1976); Erbaba (1965, 1969-1977), and photographs documenting traditional crafts of Turkey taken over a period of years. Some photographs (Mott’s Point and Shanidar Cave) remain with their text files. There are negatives for most of the photographs in the series, cataloged and filed separately. When a negative has been matched to a print, the print will be marked with a number from 256,646 to 257,759, either on the back of the print or below the mounting. Prints from 35 mm. film are given one number for the entire film roll; larger format prints are numbered individually. Perhaps 20% of the negatives cataloged have not been matched to prints. These are usually additional photographs of excavation views or objects already in the photograph print series. Many are casual site photographs with workers and team members, some of a personal nature. There is a good negative set of team and worker portraits from Erbaba. There is also a set of 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ color positive transparencies of Suberde clay objects, cataloged with the negative series. The photograph series contains good documentation for objects from the Suberde project, and both objects and excavation documentation for the Erbaba project.
A large collection of color slides is filed separately from this collection. These include object and excavation photographs from both Suberde and Erbaba, as well as slides documenting Louise (Alpers) Bordaz’ excavation at Karatas-Semayük, Turkey (1964-1968). This collection also contains a large number of slides related to the traditional crafts of Turkey project.