Frison, George C. 1924- (George Carr Frison)
Frison, George C. 1924- (George Carr Frison)
Born November 11, 1924, in Worland, WY; son of George S. (a rancher) and Meta Frison; married, September 8, 1946; wife's name Carolyn; children: Carol L. Frison Grace. Education: University of Wyoming, B.A. (with honors), 1964; University of Michigan, M.A., 1965, Ph.D., 1967.
Home—Laramie, WY. Office—University of Wyoming, Anthropology Department, Dept. 3431, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071. E-mail—[email protected]
Anthropologist and educator. Rancher in Ten Sleep, WY, 1946-62; University of Wyoming, Laramie, professor of anthropology, 1973-95, head of department, 1967-95, professor emeritus, 1995—. Cofounder of George C. Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology; conducted and directed archaeological and anthropological field work all over Wyoming, 1967-94. Wyoming state archaeologist, 1967-84; member of state advisory board on land quality, beginning 1973; consultant to National Geographic and to writer James Michener. Military service: U.S. Navy, in fire control, 1942-45; served in Pacific theater.
American Anthropological Association, Society for American Archaeology (member of executive board, 1973), American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow), American Quaternary Association, Plains Anthropological Association (member of board of directors, 1970—; president of board, 1972), Phi Beta Kappa.
Woodrow Wilson fellowship, 1964; National Science Foundation grants, 1969, 1970, 1971-72, 1973-75, 1974-77, 1976-78; American Academy of Science fellow, 1972; Asa Hill Award, Nebraska Historical Society, 1975; Carter Corporation and Kerr-McGee Corporation grant, 1977-78; National Parks Service grant, 1978; Regents' fellowship award, Smithsonian Institution, 1979; George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award, University of Wyoming, 1985; Arts and Sciences College Outstanding Alumni Award, University of Wyoming, 1993; elected to National Academy of Sciences, 1997; Paleoarchaeologist of the Century award, 1999; Lifetime Achievement Award, Society for American Archaeology, 2005.
(Editor) The Casper Site: A Hell Gap Bison Kill on the High Plains, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1974.
(With Bruce A. Bradley) Folsom Tools and Technology at the Hanson Site, Wyoming, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1980.
(With Dennis J. Stanford) The Agate Basin Site: A Record of the Paleoindian Occupation of the Northwestern High Plains, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1982.
(With Lawrence C. Todd) The Colby Mammoth Site: Taphonomy and Archaeology of a Clovis Kill in Northern Wyoming, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1986.
(Editor, with Lawrence C. Todd) The Horner Site: The Type Site of the Cody Cultural Complex, Academic Press (Orlando, FL), 1987.
(Editor, with Robert C. Mainfort) Archeological and Bioarcheological Resources of the Northern Plains, Arkansas Archeological Survey (Fayetteville, AR), 1996.
(Editor) The Mill Iron Site, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1996.
Survival by Hunting: Prehistoric Human Predators and Animal Prey, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2004.
Medicine Lodge Creek: Holocene Archaeology of the Eastern Big Horn Basin, Wyoming, Clovis Press (Avondale, CO), 2007.
Contributor to books, including The Development of North American Archaeology, edited by James E. Fitting, Anchor Books, 1973; and Cultural Change and Continuity: Essays in Honor of James Bennet Griffin, edited by Charles E. Cleland, Academic Press, 1975. Contributor to Wyoming Geological Association Guidebook and Handbook of North American Indians. Contributor of articles and reviews to anthropology and archaeology journals.
George C. Frison is a renowned anthropologist and educator whose work focuses on the prehistory of the Northwest Plains, specifically Paleoindian culture. A professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Wyoming, Frison has received numerous honors during his career, including a lifetime achievement award from the Society for American Archaeology. In 1997, he became the first University of Wyoming professor to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In the words of American Scientist contributor Lawrence Straus, Frison "is an original of American archaeology, a towering figure in the field of Plains prehistory."
Frison was born in 1924 in Worland, Wyoming. Raised by his grandparents on their ranch near Ten Sleep, Frison developed an interest in archaeology at a young age, discovering his first arrowhead in the Big Horn Basin when he was four years old. "I've had this collecting syndrome ever since," he told Made in Wyoming Web site interviewer Robin Beaver. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Frison returned to Wyoming, where he worked as a rancher and hunting guide for sixteen years. He also joined the Wyoming Archaeological Society and helped excavate sites in the Rocky Mountains. In 1962 Frison returned to school, eventually earning a doctorate degree in anthropology, and he was later appointed head of the anthropology department at the University of Wyoming as well as Wyoming's first state archaeologist. From 1967 to 1994 Frison participated in numerous excavations at the Glenrock, Casper, Agate Basin, Carter-McGee and Mill Iron sites. "His research on Paleoindian hunters of the Clovis culture, which at 14,000 years old, is widely considered the oldest cultural find in North America, and is recognized worldwide," Beaver noted. Frison became an expert on ancient chipped-stone tools and bison bone beds, and the "Frison Effect," which refers to modifications in tool edge shape and usage through resharpening, was named after him.
In his highly regarded 2004 work Survival by Hunting: Prehistoric Human Predators and Animal Prey, Frison examines the prehistory and ethnography of the High Plains and the middle Rocky Mountains and discusses his experiences as an archaeologist and anthropologist. Survival by Hunting "is first and foremost an autobiography of a scientist, and of how common sense and an inquisitive mind can be put to productive use in a field," noted Marcel Kornfeld in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. "This ethological, ethnohistoric, archaeological and autobiographical tale jumps around quite a bit, but the complete integration of all these sources of knowledge is George Frison's life story," wrote Straus. "And the fact that he leads us back and forth between present and past, between animals and hunters, between hunting stories and prehistoric finds, shows us just how inseparable all these things are in his personal interpretive framework."
Frison once told CA: "Prehistoric animal strategies are interpreted from my own experience handling livestock (including bison) and from nearly three decades' experience as a professional big game guide."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Anthropologist, March, 1988, Dennis Stanford, review of The Colby Mammoth Site: Taphonomy and Archaeology of a Clovis Kill in Northern Wyoming, p. 174; September, 1988, review of The Horner Site: The Type Site of the Cody Cultural Complex, p. 699.
American Antiquity, January, 1989, Vance T. Holliday, review of The Horner Site, p. 203; October, 1998, review of Archeological and Bioarcheological Resources of the Northern Plains, p. 713.
American Scientist, January 1, 2005, Lawrence Straus, "Slaughter in the American West," review of Survival by Hunting: Prehistoric Human Predators and Animal Prey, p. 71.
Archaeology, May, 1994, review of Prehistoric Hunters of the High Plains, p. 67; November 1, 2004, David M. Ewalt, review of Survival by Hunting, p. 55.
Choice, September, 1992, P.J. O'Brien, review of Prehistoric Hunters of the High Plains, p. 168; November, 1996, review of The Mill Iron Site, p. 500; April, 2005, M.J. O'Brien, review of Survival by Hunting, p. 1439.
Journal of Anthropological Research, winter, 1997, Kenneth B. Tankersley, review of The Mill Iron Site.
Journal of Field Archaeology, summer, 1999, John W. Fisher, Jr., review of The Mill Iron Site.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, December, 2005, Marcel Kornfeld, review of Survival by Hunting, p. 845.
Plains Anthropologist, August, 1998, Tom D. Dillehay, review of The Mill Iron Site, p. 325.
Quarterly Review of Biology, December, 2005, Don G. Wyckoff, review of Survival by Hunting, p. 510.
Reference & Research Book News, June, 1992, review of Prehistoric Hunters of the High Plains, p. 9.
Science, June 15, 1984, Cynthia Irwin-Williams, review of The Agate Basin Site: A Record of the Paleoindian Occupation of the Northwestern High Plains, p. 1231.
Science Books & Films, May, 1981, review of Folsom Tools and Technology at the Hanson Site, Wyoming, p. 271.
George C. Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology,http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/frisoninstitute (February 1, 2008).
Made in Wyoming,http://www.madeinwyoming.net/ (February 1, 2008), Robin Beaver, "Digging up the Past: Archaeologist George Frison's Love for Archaeology Blossomed Late."
University of Wyoming Web site,http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/anthropology/ (February 1, 2008), "George C. Frison."