Guide to the Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki papers, 1904-2017 (bulk 1950-1999)
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.2016-29
Creators:
Solecki, Ralph S.
Solecki, Rose L.
Dates:
1904-2017
bulk 1951-1999
Languages:
Multiple languages
Collection is primarily in English. Some files are in French, German, Kurdish, Arabic, Polish, and Russian.
Physical Description:
107 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki, 1904-2017 (bulk 1951-1999) primarily document their archaeological excavations and subsequent analysis of Near East sites including Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq; Yabroud, Syria; and Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon primarily during the 1950s-1980s. The papers also include their work at other sites throughout the Near East and North America and files relating to the professional careers at the Smithsonian Institution, Columbia University, and Texas A and M University. The collection consists of field notes, data and analysis, manuscript drafts, publications, corrrespondence, illustrations and maps, photographic prints, negatives, slides, and recorded film.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki document their archaeological excavations and subsequent analysis of Near East sites including Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq; Yabroud, Syria; Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon primarily during the 1950s-1980s. The papers also reflect their academic careers as students and faculty at Columbia University, staff at the Smithsonian Institution, and adjunct faculty at Texas A&M University.
The bulk of the collection consists of materials relating to the Soleckis' archaeological excavations at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq (1951-1960); Yabroud, Syria (1963-1965, 1981, 1987-1988); Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon (1969-1973). These materials include field notebooks, excavation catalogs, research notes, data analysis, manuscript drafts, publications, correspondence, illustrations, maps, photographs, slides, sound recordings, and film. Similar materials from other expeditions and projects include aerial photography projects in the 1950s-1960s; expeditions to Alaska in 1949 and 1961; expeditions to Sudan, Iran, and Turkey through the Columbia University Near East expeditions (or C.U.N.E.) throughout the 1960s-1970s; and various archaeological projects elsewhere in North America such as Ralph's work with the River Basin Surveys in the 1940s-1950s, New York, and elsewhere in the eastern United States, contain similar materials.
The papers also contain research and teaching files in the form of annotated publications, course materials, student theses, and other files from their time as students and faculty at Columbia University, staff at the Smithsonian Institution, and adjunct faculty at Texas A&M University. Correspondence and administrative files such as grant applications, daybooks, and departmental forms and files from their professional careers are also within the collection. Personal files, while sparse, are also represented.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki papers are divided into 7 series:
• Series 1: Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar, Iraq, 1947-2017 (bulk 1951-1990)
• Series 2: Yabroud, Syria, 1964-1992 (bulk 1960s-1980s)
• Series 3: Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon, 1968-1998 (bulk 1969-1973)
• Series 4: Other Expeditions and Projects
• Series 5: Research and Teaching Files
• Series 6: Correspondence and Administrative Files
• Series 7: Personal Files

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ralph S. Solecki (1917-2019) and Rose L. Solecki (b. 1925) are archaeologists that worked in the Near East at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq (1951-1960); Yabroud, Syria (1963-1965, 1981, 1987); and Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh in Lebanon (1969-1973). Ralph Solecki also conducted archaeological field work in North America at sites in Nebraska, Alaska, and New York as well as with the Smithsonian Institution's River Basin Surveys. From 1958-1988, Ralph Solecki was a professor of anthropology at Columbia University. The Soleckis became adjunct faculty at Texas A&M University.
Stefan Ralph Solecki was born on October 15th, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Newtown High School in 1936, he attended the City College of New York from 1936-1941 and received a B.S. in Geology in 1942. Solecki then served in the US Army and fought in World War II. He was discharged in 1945. In 1946, Solecki enrolled at Columbia University to study Anthropology, and he received a M.A. degree in 1950. During this time, Solecki worked for the River Basin Surveys at the Smithsonian Institution. He also accompanied a geological survey to northern Alaska in 1949. In 1951, he became an associate curator of archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution. In that same year, he traveled to Iraq to survey prehistoric sites and began Season I of excavation at Shanidar Cave. Solecki then received a Fulbright fellowship to return to Iraq in 1953-1954 to continue excavations at Shanidar Cave (Season II) and conduct research at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. In 1958, he received his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University and accepted a faculty position within the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Following the final two seasons of excavation at Shanidar Cave (see below for details on Season III and IV), Solecki led a number of Columbia University expeditions to various locations around the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. He also spent three seasons (1963-1964, 1981, 1987) surveying and excavating the site of Yabroud in Syria and three field seasons excavating the sites of Nahr Ibrahim (1969, 1970, 1973) and El Masloukh (1969) in Lebanon. Solecki retired from Columbia University in 1988.
Rose Muriel (née Lilien) Solecki was born on November 18th, 1925 in New York City, New York. She completed her undergraduate studies in Anthropology from Hunter College in 1945, and she went on to receive her M.A. and PhD degrees in Anthropology from Columbia University. While at Columbia, she studied under William Duncan Strong and joined Strong's excavations in Peru from 1952-1953. Rose Solecki acted as a research associate within the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University until Ralph Solecki's retirement in 1988.
Ralph and Rose met at Columbia University as students and married in 1955. In 1956-1957, both Ralph and Rose Solecki travelled to Iraq, where Ralph conducted a third season of excavation at Shanidar Cave and Rose excavated the nearby Zawi Chemi Shanidar village site. In 1960, the Soleckis returned for a fourth and final field season of excavation at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar, where they were accompanied by Smithsonian Institution curator of Physical Anthropology, T. Dale Stewart. Ralph and Rose Solecki both held positions at Columbia University until Ralph's retirement in 1988. In 1990, Ralph and Rose served as adjunct professors at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. In 2000, they left Texas A&M University and moved to South Orange, New Jersey.
Ralph Solecki died in Livingston, New Jersey on March 20, 2019.
Chronology of the Life of Ralph S. Solecki
1917 October 15
Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA
1942
B.S. in Geology from City College of New York
1942-1945
Served in the United States Army during World War II
1948
Started working with the Smithsonian Institution's River Basin Surveys
1948-1949
Accompanied a United States Geological Survey party to the upper Kokpowruk and Kokolik rivers at the Brooks Range in northwestern Alaska
1950
M.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University
1951
First field season at Shanidar Cave, Iraq
1953-1954
Fulbright fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Iraq
Second field season at Shanidar Cave, Iraq
Shanidar Child skeleton discovered
1955
Married Rose M. Lilien
1956-1957
Third field season at Shanidar Cave, Iraq
Shanidar I, II, and III skeletons discovered
1958
Appointed Associate Curator of Archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution
PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University
Accepted post at Columbia University as Associate Professor of Anthropology
1960
Fourth field season at Shanidar Cave
Shanidar IV, V, VI, VII (or IV-VII), and VIII skeletons discovered
1961-1962
Columbia University Nubian Expedition to Sudan
1963
Columbia University Near East (C.U.N.E.) Expedition to Seberde, Turkey and Yabroud, Syria
1964-1965
Columbia University Near East (C.U.N.E.) Expedition to Yabroud, Syria
1969-1973
Three field seasons at Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon
1971
Authored Shanidar: The First Flower People
1981
Archaeological survey at Yabroud, Syria
1987-1988
Field season at Yabroud, Syria
1988
Retired from Columbia University
1990-2000
Served as Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M University
2004
Coauthored The Proto-Neolithic Cemetery in Shanidar Cave with Rose L. Solecki and Anagnostis Agelarakis
2019 March 20
Died in Livingston, New Jersey
Chronology of the Life of Rose L. Solecki
1925 November 18
Born in New York City, New York
circa 1945
B.S. in Anthropology at Hunter College
1946
Enrolled at Columbia University
1952-1953
Field season in Peru under William Duncan Strong
1956
PhD from Columbia University
1956-1957
Field season at Zawi Chemi Shanidar, Iraq
1960
Field season at Zawi Chemi Shanidar, Iraq
1990-2000
Served as Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M University
2004
Coauthored The Proto-Neolithic Cemetery in Shanidar Cave with Ralph S. Solecki and Anagnostis P. Agelarakis

Administration
Processing Information
The collection arrived at the National Anthropological Archives in two primary deposits. The first accession was stored at the Soleckis' home in South Orange, NJ and at Columbia University and then tranfered to the NAA in 2016. These materials were primarily arranged by archaeological site or affiliated institution. The second accretion of materials was stored at the Soleckis' home, transfered in 2018, and were similarly arranged by site or institution in which the files were affiliated. The archivist has maintained this arrangment. Original folder titles have also been maintained. Weeding of materials was undertaken to remove duplicate material. Material was either tranferred to the John Wesley Powell Library of Anthropology or destroyed. In Series 5: Research and Teahcing Files, only the material that was annotated or rare/unpublished was retained.
Molly Kamph processed and encoded series 1 and some of 3 from 2017-2019. Material still in process has been rehoused, but remains to be arranged and described.
MS 7091 has been relocated into the Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki papers. MS 4348, MS 4358, MS 4613, MS 92-10, MS 92-35, and PL 77 are in process to be incorporated into the papers.
Author
Molly Kamph
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Ralph and Rose Solecki and their sons, John and William, in 2016, 2018, and 2019.

Digital Content

Selected Bibliography
Selected Bibliography
Shanidar: The first flower people. New York: A. Knopf, 1971.
Shanidar: The humanity of Neanderthal man. New York: Penguin Press, 1972.
The proto-neolithic cemetery in Shanidar Cave. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2004

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation
Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Related Materials
The Smithsonian Insitution's National Museum of Natural History's Department of Anthropology contains archaeological and ethnographic collections relating to the work of Ralph and Rose Solecki including accession numbers 202536, 209544, 217009, 220078, 220920, 224956, 232170, 242336, 249217, 356696.
Accession 220078 contains archaeological and archaeobiological material excavated by Ralph and Rose Solecki at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar. An accretion transferred in 2016 was cataloged as part of the Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki Papers and Artifacts Project (2017-2019) and cross-references excavation and artifact analysis within the Solecki papers.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Excavations (Archaeology) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archaeology -- Iraq Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shanidar Cave (Iraq) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archaeologists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women archaeologists Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Early man -- Neanderthal Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Human evolution Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746
naa@si.edu
http://www.anthropology.si.edu/naa/