The Boundary End Center (BEC), formerly known as Boundary End Archaeology Research Center, is located 25 miles (by highway) northeast of Asheville, North Carolina. The name derives from its situation adjacent to the "Coleman Boundary" portion of the Pisgah National Forest. The land consists of two partsBoundary End, a seven-acre rectangle of gently sloping land containing the dwellings and the research center; and "Riven Rock," a nearby forested upland of some 25 acres overlooking the smaller parcel. Both pieces of land lie between 2,500 and 3,000 feet above sea level, and are situated some seven miles west of the peak of Mt. Mitchell (el. 6,684 feet), the highest point of land east of the Mississippi River (within the coterminous 48 states). Sprinkle Branch, a small permanent stream, crosses Boundary End, and the larger Walker Creek flows out of the National Forest to form the northern boundary of both areas.
Boundary End has been the residence for George and Melinda Stuart since 1994. The house, a local version of a 1930 Sears Roebuck bungalow, has been fully restored, as has the mid-19th-century log cabin, which now serves as an extra bedroom and occasional guest house. The research center occupies two separate buildingsthe Library, a converted horse barn, and the Library Annex, a combination conference room, workshop, and book storage and sorting area.
These buildings and the landscape where they are situated, from the fieldstone boundary walls and terraced edges to the areas set aside for vegetables, wildflowers, trees, and shrubs are works-in-progress. Long-term plans include the creation of a walking trail along Sprinkle Cove Branch to provide access to the Riven Rock wilderness mountain area. The trail will allow visitors to observe a rich variety of local natural features, including the 30-foot-high split cliff of granite that gives the property its name, several mountain springs, and a promontory affording a spectacular view north and east to Balsam Gap and the main ridge of the Black Mountain Range. The most important promise of the Riven Rock Trail remains the forest itself, marked by an extraordinarily diverse inventory of trees, mountain shrubs, mosses, wildflowers, lichens, and fauna.
George Stuart founded the Center for Maya Research (CMR) as a not-for-profit organization in 1984. On March 1, 2006, the Center for Maya Research was formally re-named the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center (BEARC). No essential change in either the mission or the activities of the organization has taken place. The use of name "Center for Maya Research" will be phased out by the end of 2006 (while we change stationery, etc.), as will the name of the related but unofficial "Center for Ancient American Studies." This use of a single designation in place of three will greatly simplify the operation of the facility.
Thus the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center retains FID # 52-1372-456, and continues to operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meanings of sections 170(c)2(B), 501(c)(3), 2055(a)(2), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The purposes of the organization are (1) to promote research in Native American study in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art history, iconography, epigraphy, ethnohistory, ethnology, and linguistics, and (2) to conduct small-scale projects related to these areas.
Officers of the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center are George Stuart (President and Acting Treasurer), Jeffrey Splitstoser (Vice-President), and Melinda Y. Stuart (Secretary)
The following nine individuals constitute the Board of Directors of the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center:
Christopher K. Calvert, Silver Spring, Maryland
Arthur Dunkelman, Curator, Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.
Douglas M. Orr, Jr., President (ret.), Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, North Carolina
Jeffrey C. Splitstoser, Silver Spring, Maryland
Vincas P. Steponaitis, Director, Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
David Stuart, Linda and David Schele Professor of Ancient Mesoamerican Art and Writing, The University of Texas at Austin
George Stuart, President and Founder, Boundary End Archaeology Research Center, Barnardsville, North Carolina
Melinda Y. Stuart, Barnardsville, North Carolina
Kathy L. Williamson, Committee for Research and Exploration, The National Geographic Society, Washington, D. C.
The Library and Library Annex at the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center holds some 12,000 volumes dealing with American archaeology and related fields, with special emphasis on Mesoamerica (particularly the Maya) and Southeastern North America. The collection also contains basic works on the archaeology of Africa, Asia, and Europe.
At this writing, slightly less than half of the library holdings, around 6,000 volumes, are made up of George Stuart's personal working library, assembled over the past 50 years of purposeful pursuit with a very limited budget. These include mostly works on the archaeology, anthropology, and history of Mesoamerica and Eastern North America. The Stuart portion of the library is particularly strong in key works dealing with the history of Maya research, the 19th century histories of Yucatán, and reports on site excavation and hieroglyphic decipherment. In addition, many early works on the archaeology of the Southeastern United States are present, with an emphasis on site reports pertaining to the Woodland and Mississippian cultures. Extensive photographic files cover the Maya area and the Southeastern United States.
Other works came to the library from a variety of sources. In 1960, the Carnegie Institution of Washington gave Stuart many of its remaining duplicates. In the late 1960s, Col. William Friedman, the famed World War II cryptographer, gave a nearly complete set of the limited editions of the works of William E. Gates, founder of the old Maya Society and a friend of Friedman's. And so it continued.
In 1978, George Stuart purchased an interesting and important set of Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough's Antiquities of Mexico. That copy of the nine great folio volumes, untrimmed, and in the deep red morocco and thick marbled boards that mark the earliest presentation copies, proved unique, for Volumes 1 and 2 bear the date 1829, one year earlier than all other known examples. In 1980, Stuart sold the Kingsborough volumes to the National Geographic Society for little more than cost, but remained custodian of the volumes. Upon Stuart's retirement in 1998, the Society transferred the set as a "permanent loan" to the Center. Each volume rests in a custom-made drawer that allows easy viewing of its content.
Other important Library holdings include a 1787 copy of Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, the first work to report archaeological excavation in the Americas; Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's great six-volume work on the Indians of North America (1854-57); the 20 volumes of Clarence B. Moore's pioneering archaeological expeditions in the Southeast; and extensive files of site maps and photographs.
No group of books in the Library is more important than that assembled by anthropologist Matthew W. Stirling (1896-1975), who served as Director of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, from 1929 to 1957. This body of an estimated 5,000 volumes, including a remarkable collection of scholarly pamphlets and reprints from the mid-1800s on, was donated to the Library in 2000 by the late Marion Stirling Pugh, widow of Matthew, who had carefully maintained the collection.
The Stirling gift consists not only of thousands of individual volumes, but also of virtually all the major institutional sets, journals, and periodicals dealing with the archaeology and anthropology of many areas of the Western Hemisphere. High points include complete runs of the prominent journals and series' such as the American Anthropologist (1881- ); American Antiquity (1935 - ); Bulletins 1-200 and Annual Reports 1-48 of the Bureau of American Ethnology; complete sets of the Indian Notes, Notes and Monographs, Contributions, and Leaflets produced by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation; the complete run of the Papers and Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University; and all of the Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History.
In 2001, David Humiston Kelley of the University of Calgary presented the library with his collection of reprints and pamphlets originally gathered by archaeologist Marshall Saville (1867-1935). That gift joined other Saville material already held by Stuart.
In addition to books in the Stuart portion of the library, there are small holdings of manuscript material of the 18th to 20th centuries These include miscellaneous documents of the 18th and 19th centuries related to Yucatán and original correspondence from the files of Marshall Savilleletters related to the formation of the Maya Society and the Museum of the American Indian. Extensive files of 35mm transparencies and prints cover the last half-century of archaeology, mainly in the Maya area.
In 1979, Jerome O. Kilmartin of the United States Geological Survey bequeathed to Stuart his small but extraordinary collection of books, letters, diaries, and photographs related to archaeological sites in the Maya Area, particularly Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico, which Kilmartin mapped in the early 1920s. In addition to Kilmartin's Yucatán diaries of 1923 and 1924, the collection includes original correspondence between Kilmartin and Sylvanus G. Morley setting up the Carnegie Institution of Washington's work in Yucatán.
In 2001, other noteworthy gifts came to the Center for Maya Research. Ian Graham of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions project, Harvard University, presented the library with manuscripts related to the Dupaix expedition of 1805 in Mexico, along with correspondence and other manuscript material of the early nineteenth century pertaining to the Latour-Allard collection of Mexican antiquities. In addition to these treasures were several annotated sketches of artifacts by Jean Frederic Waldeck. Later Graham presented the Library with the 1834 manuscript of Waldeck's Description de Yucatan, two drawings by Frederick Catherwood, and a lengthy letter written to Lord Kingsborough in 1836 describing the ruins of Palenque.
Also in 2001, Lawrence G. Desmond of Palo Alto, California, generously donated his collection of the photographic images, mainly of Chichén Itzá and other archaeological sites of the northern part of the Yucatán Peninsula, made by Augustus Le Plongeon (1826-1908). This body of material consists of some 4,000 separate itemsarchival copies of negatives and prints, along with a detailed catalog of the collection compiled by Desmond over the past two decades.
The Library Annex contains a fully equipped workshop as well as a 40 x 24-foot conference room capable of comfortably holding up to 24 people. The room accommodates presentations based on slides or digital imagery, and also contains facilities for drafting and mailing.
In 1985 the then-Center for Maya Research initiated the journal Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing, an irregular series devoted to current (and historical) efforts to decipher the hieroglyphic writing system of the ancient Maya and to the related fields of linguistics and iconography as well. Number 60 of that journal will appear late in 2006. In the meantime, the production of this journal is moving to the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin, under the direction of David Stuart. This new era of publication is being initiated with Number 61 of the Research Reports. Information on this and subsequent numbers is available at the University of Texas Mesoamerica Center website, www.utmesoamerica.org.
The Boundary End Archaeology Research Center continues its publication program with the journal Ancient America, initiated in 2001 under the auspices of the now-discontinued Center for Ancient American Studies. This year, Ancient America will produce its tenth numberand final issue in the current subscription period. It was a remarkable run, with the inaugural number devoted to Karl Taube's study of writing at Teotihuacan, and later issues designated for the honor of publishing the first scholarly report and analysis of the early Maya mural at San Bartolo, Guatemala.
The time-consuming tasks connected with the various steps in the process of publishing Ancient Americafrom solicitation of manuscripts to final layout, and including corresponding with reviewers, the editing of texts, and the manipulation of illustrationsare in the main the extraordinary achievement of Jeffrey C. Splitstoser of Silver Spring, Maryland, Vice-President and Managing Editor for the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center. Other crucial help with layout and design comes from Helen Robinson of nearby Asheville, art director at Front Street Books, a local publishing house; and John Oravets, retired former copy editor at the Washington Post.
The Boundary End Archaeology Research Center provides a unique facility for research on most topics related to Native American art, culture, and writing systems. Its location in the very heart of a region where a large number of environmental, cultural, and conservation issues are present also makes the center a prime place for small-scale retreats and scholarly meetings on a variety of topics that include botany, conservation biology, forestry, and geology. It is also one of the most beautiful spots on our planet.
One Walker Creek Road
Barnardsville, NC 28709-0529