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David DeJarnette papers

Identifier: MSS-0421

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographs related to archaeology and geology, including photos of the Stanfield-Worley Bluff Shelter dig. There is correspondence to DeJarnette when he served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Alabama Archaeology as well as personal correspondence related to information on the Native Americans that are associated with Moundville, Alabama. This collection also contains a draft of his MA thesis.


  • 1935-1975

Biographical / Historical

David L. DeJarnette (1907-1991), a southeastern archaeologist, was the founder of modern archeology in Alabama, and established the first archeology field school at the University of Alabama. He was hired in a curatorial position at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in 1929, having received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama earlier that same year. DeJarnette also came to be affiliated with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, as a lecturer in 1955 and later as Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, after receiving his master’s degree in 1958. He taught sociology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology, remaining at his position in the department until his retirement in 1976. Throughout his life, David DeJarnette worked extensively at Moundville, serving as director of Mound State Monument from 1953 to 1976, but he also accomplished significant work in other areas of the southeast United States. He participated in and directed the excavation of many sites within the state of Alabama, and one of the most well-known sites is the Stanfield-Worley Bluff Shelter, which has been dated to 7000 B.C. DeJarnette’s affiliations with Moundville, the Museum, and the Department of Anthropology have certainly strengthened the working relationship among these entities over time.

David DeJarnette had many important collaborators over the years, including Stephen B. Wimberly, a southeastern archaeologist who was hired at the Museum in 1945. Another set of important collaborators were DeJarnette’s students. He taught a large number of students, including Dr. Jim Knight, most notably through twenty years of archaeological field schools. He also helped found the Alabama Archaeology Society in the 1950s. DeJarnette has been called a “scholar of culture” (personal interview, Sally Caldwell), and he was well-known for his photographs of his field research in the United States and in the Yucatan, and of his time spent in New Guinea during WWII. Often these photographs were used in the classes he taught at the University. DeJarnette was a founding father of anthropology in the state of Alabama and at the University of Alabama, and his legacy is still felt with the David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship in Anthropology, awarded each year to support a graduate student in their research on Moundville or Moundville-related topics.

This historical note came from:


6.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Photographs related to archaeology and geology, including photos of the Stanfield-Worley Bluff Shelter dig.

Physical Location

W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections


Transferred from Alabama Museum of Natural History, 1996.


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Processing Information

Guide to the David DeJarnette papers
April 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266