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Tribute to Greg Perino (1914-2005)
by Ray Fraser, Schaumburg, Illinois
Originally Published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.52, No.3, pg.144
Greg Perino, self-taught professional archaeologist, author, consultant and the last living founder of the Illinois State Archaeological Society, passed away in Owasso, Oklahoma on the 4th of July, 2005, at the age of 91. With his passing, a long and rich volume in the history of North American Archaeology has ended.

Born in North Carolina on February 25, 1914, Greg spent most of his early life in Belleville, Illinois. He attended public school in Belleville and graduated from Belleville Township High School in 1934. He married his High School sweetheart, Dorothy Green in 1937. The Perino's had four children and were married for 66 years until Dorothy's death in 2003.

Greg found his first arrowhead at about age seven. This discovery was the cat­alyst that led to a life-long curiosity about the American Indian, and a need to under­stand how Indian life had changed through time. He started exploring Cahokia and the surrounding Mississippi River bluffs as a teenager. His innate ability to locate and meticulously excavate prehistoric trash pits, cemeteries and burial mounds became known to local collectors and to archaeologists working in the area at that time.

One day in 1955, Thomas Gilcrease of the 'Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art' paid him a visit. Having heard of Greg's reputation as a talented field archaeologist and of his integrity and dedication to his work, he asked Greg to join the museum to handle its field excavations and archaeological collections.

It was during the years at Gilcrease that Greg's fieldwork became renown. His reports on excavations at sites like Banks, Cherry Valley, Schild, Peisker, and Klunk, to name but a few, had established Greg as a master in field techniques and an expert at comparative artifact analysis. While working on the Koster mound group in Greene County, Illinois, Greg was the first to recognize the potential for the village site at the base of the bluffs.

Also during his tenure at Gilcrease, Greg began his categorical study of projec­tile point typology. Collaborating with Robert Bell; Greg and Bell published a set of four volumes defining the known point types of that time. Greg was to follow sever­al years later with his three-volume set of "Selected Preforms, Points and Knives of the North American Indians." These books represent a typological bedrock in our under­standing of how projectile points changed through time and how they varied regional­ly. These books reside on the bookshelves of avocational and professional archaeolo­gists alike.

After leaving Gilcrease in 1972, Greg went to work for the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville, Illinois, as a field archaeologist and instructor for its field schools. His primary focus until he left in 1974 were mortuary sites in the lower Illinois River Valley like the Carter and Hacker mound groups.


"Used by Permission of the Author"
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"Used by Permission of the Author"
To learn more about or to join the Central States Archaeological Society, click