In 1927, the Folsom site in New Mexico, which contained the distinctive fluted stone points of the same name directly associated with an extinct species of bison, was identified by archaeologists as the first Paleoindian site. In conjunction with the similar, but earlier, Clovis fluted points found at Blackwater Draw a few years later, these two sites provided clear evidence that humans had been present in the United States since the end of the Pleistocene.
As these discoveries became publicized and archaeologists looked for more examples of early sites, it soon became apparent that fluted points had been found in many states by amateur antiquarians, often as surface finds. Without good contextual data, however, no one had realized how old these points actually were.
In 1919, James Henry Breasted, archaeologist and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, embarked on a year-long trip through the Middle East. His goal was to identify research opportunities throughout the area, and to obtain artifacts to bring back to Chicago. The story (from a 2010 exhibition at the Institute) was told in Archaeology Magazine.
By digging at the site of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson in 1929, Engineer Donald Page gets the nod as Tucson, Arizona’s first historical archaeologist. That was his only excavation, and less than ten years later, his life took a tragic/stupid turn (alcohol and a handgun were involved). See Donald Page: Tucson’s Tragic First Historical Archaeologist by Homer Thiel.
Mark Raymond Harrington was not only an archaeologist and ethnologist, but also a writer. Tellers of Weird Tales has an account of one of his earlier works of fiction, Teoquitla the Golden, which was published in Weird Tales using his pseudonym, Ramon de las Cuevas (i.e., Raymond of the Caves).
This story was published in 1924, the year before Arthur Parker and William Ritchie would begin excavations at the Lamoka Lake site. Harrington had recently completed his work at the Ozark rockshelters (likely the inspiration for his pen name) and would soon make some of his major discoveries in Nevada.
See how Harrington dressed when he wasn’t writing here.