The archaeological community mourns the loss of Lewis H. Larson, Jr. who passed away on Sunday, November 25, 2012. In the Winter 2004 thematic issue of Southeastern Archaeology, published in honor of Lew Larson’s contributions to the field of archaeology in the Southeast, David J. Hally penned the following:
Lew earned his BA degree in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota in 1949, his MA from the University of Michigan in 1952, and his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1969. At various times during those years, he held teaching positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and Eastern Kentucky University and directed the archaeological program of the Georgia Historical Commission. At the time of his retirement, Lew was professor of anthropology at the University of West Georgia and state archaeologist for Georgia.
The Lewis H. Larson, Jr. Anthropology Volunteer Program at the University of West Georgia’s Antonio J. Waring, Jr. Archaeological Laboratory (aka Waring Lab) in Carrollton, Georgia was named in his honor.
Dr. Larson conducted fieldwork throughout the state of Georgia during his career; however, he is best known for his excavations at Etowah in northwest Georgia and sites along the coast of Georgia. While touring the museum at Etowah, thousands of visitors have marveled at the sight of the painted marble effigies of a seated man and woman discovered during Larson’s excavation at Etowah in the 1950s. His work along the coast resulted in a number of articles and the 1980 publication of Aboriginal Subsistence Technology on the Southeastern Coastal Plain during the Late Prehistoric Period.
The website for the volunteer program named for Larson states:
In 1972, when Lewis H. Larson, Jr. was appointed Georgia’s first State Archaeologist, State Historic Preservation programs were struggling to combine state duties with the new mandates of the National Historic Preservation Act. As state archaeologist, Larson was the senior advisor in matters involving archaeology in state government. Only one year after Larson’s appointment, Governor Jimmy Carter reorganized state government and followed Larson’s advice to transfer the Historical Commission’s functions to the new Department of Natural Resources. Lewis H. Larson, Jr. retired on 1 September 1998, bringing to a close more than fifty years of involvement in Georgia and Southeastern archaeology.