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Mason, Ronald J. 1929-

Mason, Ronald J. 1929-


Born October 11, 1929. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A.; University of Michigan, M.A., Ph.D.


Office—Lawrence University, P.O. Box 599, Appleton, WI 54912.


Lawrence University, Appleton, WI, professor, 1961-95, professor emeritus of anthropology and Henry M. Wriston Emeritus Professor of Social Science, 1995—. Previously did field service for the New Jersey State Museum, Temple University, and the National Park Service; previously worked at the Neville Public Museum, Green Bay, WI.


Late Pleistocene Geochronology and the Paleo-Indian Penetration into the Lower Michigan Peninsula, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), 1958.

Great Lakes Archaeology, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1981, Blackburn Press (Caldwell, NJ), 2002.

Rock Island: Historical Indian Archaeology in the Northern Lake Michigan Basin, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 1986.

Inconstant Companions: Archaeology and North American Indian Oral Traditions, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2006.


Writer, educator, and anthropologist Ronald J. Mason spent more than three decades serving on the faculty at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan, he took a position at Lawrence in 1961, and by the time he retired in 1995, was a full professor of anthropology and held the Henry M. Wriston Chair in the department of social sciences. Mason is also the author of several books on the Great Lakes region and Native North Americans, including Great Lakes Archaeology, Rock Island: Historical Indian Archaeology in the Northern Lake Michigan Basin, and Inconstant Companions: Archaeology and North American Indian Oral Traditions.

Great Lakes Archaeology gives readers a thorough overview of the history and people of the Great Lakes region of the United States, including prehistoric, protohistoric, and the early historic periods. In Inconstant Companions, Mason looks at the place of the oral tradition within the realm of scientific research, and attempts to determine what can be learned on a more precise level from such a varied and ever-changing, yet rich and vitally important part of indigenous cultures. The primary controversy surrounding this issue is what to do when oral traditions conflict with hard scientific evidence, and which aspect of discovered cultures is more reliable.



American Indian Culture and Research Journal, fall, 2007, Wesley Bernardini, review of Inconstant Companions: Archaeology and North American Indian Oral Traditions, p. 160.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October 1, 2007, J.B. Wolford, review of Inconstant Companions, p. 324.

Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2007, review of Inconstant Companions.


Lawrence University Web site, (July 27, 2008), faculty profile.

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