On Oct. 14, 1964, Teiwes began documenting the excavation of the Snaketown site
at Sacaton on the Gila River Indian Reservation. She recalls, "The following
seven months were glorious, despite my bout with Valley Fever. We were 12 staff
members and 26 Pima crew members. I
was happy to be in the field every day, being taught by the best teacher anybody
could have asked for. We were privileged to work under Emil Haury. We all knew it
and were grateful for it."
Helga's photography skills were quickly recognized and she was sought after
for other archaeology projects. "The 1960s and 1970s were great times in Southwest
archaeology with many excavations being done. I was called to many of them to take
publication photos and studio shots."
Snaketown and Chaco Canyon
The archaeological site known as Snaketown is located south of Phoenix,
on lands of the Gila River Indian Community. This site was inhabited by the Hohokam,
which in the Pima language means "those who have gone," and was also
the location of the historic Pima Indian village of Ska'kaik from about 1875
to 1940. Snaketown is said to be one of the most significant of the Hohokam sites.
It contains some 60 trash and platform mounds, two ball courts, a large central
plaza, many house ruins and trash deposits, and an extensive canal irrigation
There have been two large-scale excavations undertaken at the settlement to
date. The first excavation project was in 1934 by the Gila Pueblo Foundation
of Globe, Arizona under the direction of Harold S. Gladwin. Dr. Emil Haury, Director
of the Arizona State Museum, headed subsequent excavations in1964-1965. Archaeologists
currently place the occupation at Snaketown between A.D. 500-1100.
Located in the San Juan basin of New Mexico, Chaco Canyon was a civic/religious
center of ancestral Puebloan culture during the 10th through 12th centuries.
It is distinguished by its built roads, intricate masonry and apartment-like
"Helga's images of Chaco are a treasure for people who need absolutely
outstanding photographs of this site."
Dr. R. Gwinn Vivian, Chaco Canyon archaeologist and former Associate Director