Sometimes childhood events can shape a person's destiny. Such was the case for George Frison. His father's accidental death meant that Frison was raised by his grandparents, thus experiencing life on a ranch instead of the small town childhood he otherwise would have had. He was fascinated by the wealth of prehistoric artifacts on the ranch; eventually, this interest prompted him to change his life's course at age thirty-seven.
In this memoir, Frison shares his work and his atypical journey from rancher to professor and archaeologist. Herding cattle, chopping watering holes in sub-zero weather, and guiding hunters in the fall were very different than teaching classes, performing laboratory work, and attending faculty and committee meetings in air-conditioned buildings. But his practical and observational experience around both domestic and wild animals proved a valuable asset to his research. His knowledge of specific animal behaviours added insight to his studies of the Paleoindians of the Northern Plains as he sought to understand how their stone tools were used most effectively for hunting and how bison jumps, mammoth kills, and sheep traps actually worked. Frison's careful research and strong involvement in the scholarly and organisational aspects of archaeology made him influential not only as an authority on the prehistory of the Northern Plains but also as a leader in Wyoming archaeology and North American archaeology at large.
This book will appeal to both the professional and the lay reader with interests in archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, plains history, animal science, hunting, or game management. Frison's shift from ranching to academic archaeology serves as a reminder that you are never too old to change your life.
George C. Frison is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Wyoming. He served as Wyoming's first state archaeologist and as president of the Plains Anthropologist Society and the Society of American Archaeology. He is the author or coauthor of numerous publications including Survival by Hunting, The Mill Iron Site, and Hell Gap: A Stratified Paleoindian Campsite at the Edge of the Rockies (with Marcel Kornfeld and Mary Lou Larsen, University of Utah Press, 2009).