Born in Bisbee, Ariz., six years before Arizona became a state, Caywood received a BS degree in business administration in 1932 from the University of Arizona, and the following year, an MA in anthropology under the aegis of Dean Byron Cummings. In June 1934 he began a 34-year career with the National Park Service (NPS) as a temporary summer ranger at Mesa Verde.
Caywood's career as a practicing archaeologist had begun in 1933 as a pioneer in the implementation of Federal Emergency Relief fieldwork at Tuzigoot, the 13th-century A.D. pueblo in the Verde Valley near Clarkdale, with Edward H. Spicer, another University of Arizona graduate student. By July 1935 the fieldwork and ruin stabilization had been completed with Civil Works Administration labor, and a 119-page illustrated report published by Caywood and Spicer through the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and NPS, the latter now Caywood's full-time employer. This stands as a speed record for excavation and publication by any unit of Federal Relief archaeology in the 1930s and 1940s. Tuzigoot became a National Monument in 1940.
Continuing an enviable record of producing reports, most of them limited mimeographed issues by the NPS, Caywood supervised excavations at Fort Vancouver, Fort Spokane, and Fort Okanagan, Washington, for the western region of the NPS. In 1954-1955 he was assigned to Colonial National Historical Park to work at the site of the 17th-century English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, and was loaned to the Jamestown 350th Anniversary Commission to excavate Governor Berkeley's Greenspring plantation house and grounds near Jamestown.
Other special assignments took Caywood to Alaska to make survey reports on Sitka and on the Kenai Peninsula, and to Hawaii to make archaeological surveys of the islands of Oahu, Molakai, Maui, and Hawaii. On loan to the Branch of Historic Sites of Canada, he excavated the site of Meductic in the province of New Brunswick.
Projects within the NPS included Harpers Ferry, W. Va., on Virginius Island, and excavation and stabilization work at Montezuma Castle, Tumacacori, Tonto National Monument in Arizona, and Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. After a stint as superintendent of Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia, from 1956 to 1961, he ended his career in 1969 at the NPS Southwest Archeological Center, then at Globe, Ariz.
In his practice and publications of historical sites archaeology, including the Hudson Bay forts in the Northwest, the mission sites in the Southwest, the historic Meductic site in Canada, and his work at Greenspring and Jamestown, Caywood became one of the early practitioners of historical archaeology.
He leaves a legacy of meticulous fieldwork and valuable reports never made widely available. It remains for the NPS to update, collate, and reissue a good selection of these reports.
John L. Cotter is curator emeritus, American Historical Archaeology, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.