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Linda S. Cordell Papers

Identifier: MSS-1058-BC

Scope and Content

The collection consists of Cordell's research files and data, site plans and profiles, correspondence, projects, papers, conference materials, and photographs. Much of the raw data pertains to her ongoing study of the cultivation and distribution of corn in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.

As an active participant in the profession of archaeology, Cordell did extensive service as an editor, reviewer, and conference organizer. Many of the papers found in this collection are drafts and unpublished conference presentations by well-known specialists in Southwest archaeology and physical anthropology.

Cordell also served as an advocate and expert witness for court cases involving the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Her tribal clients included Zuni Pueblo, Santa Ana Pueblo, and the Hopi tribe.


  • Majority of material found within 1971-2013
  • 1927-2013


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Linda Seinfeld Cordell was born in New York City October 11, 1943. Her father, Harry Seinfeld, was a pharmacist in New York. Her mother, Evelyn Seinfeld Kessler, was an anthropologist who received her doctorate from Columbia University in 1977, and then taught at the University of South Florida. As a child, Cordell visited the office of her “godmother”, Margaret Mead.

Cordell earned her B.A. at George Washington University in 1965, her M.A. at the University of Oregon in 1967, and her Ph.D. at the University of California Santa Barbara in 1972.

She taught at the University of New Mexico from 1971–1987, where she became a Full Professor and served as chair of the Department of Anthropology. There she oversaw Field Schools and the excavation of Tijeras Pueblo in New Mexico. After UNM, Cordell spent four years at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco as Irvine Curator and Chair of the Department of Anthropology. In 1992 she joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in Boulder as Director of the University of Colorado Museum and Professor of Anthropology. Upon retirement from Colorado in June 2006, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. There she served as a Senior Scholar at the School of American Research, and as External Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute.

A prolific writer and editor, Cordell’s research focused on the Southwestern United States. Her emphasis was on the the14th and 15th century northern and central Rio Grande Valley Ancestral Pueblo peoples. Her wide-ranging interests included archaeological method and theory, the archaeology of settlement dynamics in agricultural communities, and human responses to climate change in arid regions. She embraced simulation models and trace element analysis in her work as computerized applications emerged in archaeology. She spent many years studying technical evidence for the cultivation and movement of corn in Chacoan civilization.

Linda Cordell was known as a strong mentor and friend to generations of upcoming professionals. She was also a dedicated supporter of female scholars in a time when the capabilities, competencies, and achievements of women archaeologists were often overlooked or dismissed.

Cordell’s published books include
  1. Prehistory of the Southwest (3 editions)
  2. Ancient Pueblo Peoples (1994)
  3. Before Pecos: Settlement Aggregation in the Upper Pecos Valley, New Mexico (1998)
  4. La Gran Chichimeca, el Lugar de las Rocas Secas (2001) (co-author)
  5. Tijeras Canyon, Analyses of the Past (1980) (editor)
  6. Dynamics of Southwest Prehistory (1989) (co-editor)
  7. Chilies to Chocolate, Foods the Americas Gave the World (1992) (co-editor)
  8. Southwest Archaeology in the Twentieth Century (2005) (co-editor)
Dr. Linda S. Cordell died in Santa Fe on March 29, 2013.


8 boxes (7 cu. ft.), plus 2 oversize folders


The collection consists of archaeologist Linda Cordell's research files and data, excavation site plans, correspondence, papers, and conference materials.

Separated Material

Born-digital photographs, text documents, and data files are stored as the Linda S. Cordell Digital Media and Archaeological Data in the UNM Digital Repository.

Blueprints for the Nava Adé / Mountain Breeze housing development in Santa Fe, 1996 are held as a small architectural collection.

A 1975 Chaco Canyon map has been placed in the CSWR Map Collection and two books Ecological Models in Economic Prehistory (1983) and Archaeological Studies in the Willamette Valley, Oregon (1975) have been catalogued into the CSWR Book Collection.
Finding Aid of the Linda S. Cordell Papers, 1927-2013
© 2020
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131