Vaillant, George Clapp
- Sharon Sue Kleinman
Vaillant, George Clapp (05 April 1901–13 May 1945), archaeologist, museum administrator, and cultural attachÃ©, archaeologist, museum administrator, and cultural attaché, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of George Wightman Vaillant, a stockbroker, and Alice Vanlora Clapp. In 1918 he enlisted in the marines and served until World War I ended. Vaillant then entered Harvard, intending to study literature and history. He became interested in anthropology and archaeology serendipitously during the summer after his freshman year. His college friend Singleton Moorehead, the son of archaeologist Warren K. Moorehead, invited Vaillant to spend the summer working on his father’s archaeological excavation of a Native American burial site in Maine for the Peabody Museum. Vaillant’s interest was piqued during this experience. When he returned to Harvard as a sophomore, he concentrated in anthropology and archaeology. By the time he was twenty-six years old Vaillant had earned three degrees in anthropology from Harvard (A.B., magna cum laude, 1922; M.A., 1925; Ph.D., 1927). His unpublished but widely circulated doctoral dissertation “The Chronological Significance of Mayan Ceramics” was a pioneering work on the chronology and cultural history of the Maya. In this research, embracing a multidisciplinary approach, Vaillant synthesized both the techniques and findings of ethnology, ethnohistory, and archaeology. The Holmul sequence he developed was the first ceramic chronology of this area....