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Nature Lecture: "Purple Hummingbird: A Biography of Elizabeth Warder Crozer Campbell"

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Nature Lecture:

Purple Hummingbird: A Biography of Elizabeth Warder Crozer Campbell

Purple Hummingbird Joshua Tree National Park

With Joan Schneider

Join us on Wednesday, January 17th for the nature lecture Purple Hummingbird: A Biography of Elizabeth Warder Crozer Campbell with Joan Schneider, co-author of Purple Hummingbird, a former Associate State Archaeologist based in the Colorado Desert District (Borrego Springs) and an Assistant Research Anthropologist at UC Riverside. The lecture will begin at 6:30 p.m. in The Learning Center (TLC). This program is presented in partnership with the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park.

Elizabeth Warder Crozer Campbell and her husband, William Campbell, found themselves forced to move to the Mojave Desert in 1924 due to its dry climate proving to be the best for William’s frail lungs burned by mustard gas in World War I. They camped at Twentynine Palm Oasis in what is now Joshua Tree National Park, homesteaded nearby, and became a central part of that early community. Life in the remote, stark landscape contrasted sharply with Elizabeth’s early years of wealth and privilege in Pennsylvania. Her resilient spirit made the best of what at first seemed like a bleak situation: she became an amateur archaeologist and explored the desert. A keen observer and independent thinker, she soon hypothesized that prehistoric people had lived in the California deserts along the shores of late Pleistocene lakes and waterways much earlier than was then believed. She devised a means for testing her hypothesis and found evidence to support it. Her interpretations, however, conflicted with the archaeological paradigm of the day and she was dismissed by formally trained archaeologists. Even so, she and her husband continued their work, convinced of the accuracy of her findings. Four decades later, the archaeological establishment validated and accepted her ideas. Campbell’s research ultimately revolutionized archaeological thought, forming the basis of today’s landscape archaeology.

Joan SchneiderJoan S. Schneider, Ph.D., manages the archaeological aspects of Earthwatch's Archaeology of the Mongolian Steppe project. Recently retired from her position as associate state archaeologist, Colorado Desert District, with the California State Parks, she continues to teach and pursue her research interests. Her archaeological research focuses on the reasons why prehistoric people (particularly women) chose certain stones for tools and vessels, and how the stones chosen relate to the tasks performed or uses of the artifacts. Dr. Schneider has worked for over 20 years in the deserts of the world, including the Colorado, Mojave, Sonoran, and Negev deserts. She has conducted field research projects in Israel and in Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks in the U.S. and has worked as an archaeological field school director for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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