Taxonomy, Transitions, and Traditions: Introduction to the Papers in Honor of James B. Stoltman

By Kelly, John E.; Yerkes, Richard W. et al. | Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, MCJA, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

Taxonomy, Transitions, and Traditions: Introduction to the Papers in Honor of James B. Stoltman


Kelly, John E., Yerkes, Richard W., Green, William, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, MCJA


The papers in this collection are published in honor of James B. Stoltman on his retirement from teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and we emphasize retirement from teaching, not from archaeology. Jim's career as an archaeologist continues as he pursues his many research interests, especially the use of petrographic methods in the study of ceramics. Jim's contributions even as they continue are innumerable.

The following articles by some of Jim's former students are given as a tribute to his contributions to North American archaeology. The papers present new data and interpretations on Archaic, Woodland, and Late Prehistoric groups in the midcontinent. They accentuate Jim's diverse interests in lithic and ceramic technology, raw materials, exchange patterns, and ancient ecosystems. Taxonomic issues, chronology, and cultural change also are reflected in these articles.

Any career is a culmination of experiences shaped by influences derived from multiple sources. At the 1993 Society for American Archaeology meeting in St. Louis, Jim organized a symposium honoring his mentor and friend Stephen Williams upon Steve's retirement. The symposium actually was a front for a welldeserved celebratory meal at Cafe de France. In the year prior to that feast, Jim was busily editing the publication that recognized Steve's tremendous contributions to archaeology in eastern North America (Stoltman 1993a). We hope that the present collection of articles will similarly highlight Jim's continuing impact in this field. We would like to acknowledge all of the individuals who participated in the 1999 Chicago SAA symposium in Jim's honor and those who provided invaluable assistance and information, particularly Sallie Stoltman and T. Douglas Price, without whom this tribute would not have been possible.

Any archaeological narrative must begin with a chronology. Born in 1935, Jim is a tried and true Minnesotan from Minneapolis. He attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate, with a major in geology and a minor in archaeology. This geological background helped him immensely in his later use of petrographic techniques to study ceramics and their sources. After graduating cum laude from Minnesota in 1957, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps and spent three years sailing the seven seas and partaking of the wonders of the various ports of call. It was at the end of his Navy stint that he met his wife and lifelong partner Sallie.

James B. Stoltman began his career in archaeology in 1960 as a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Minnesota under the tutelege of the late Elden Johnson. It was in the beautiful, mild summers of northern Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that he learned proper midwestern excavation methods. In 1962 Jim had the opportunity to work on the famous Riverside site, a Red Ocher mortuary site on the Michigan-Wisconsin state line. Thirty-six years later, Jim's student Tom Pleger completed a dissertation on the Riverside material (Pleger 1998), a portion of which is published in the present volume.

The two years Jim spent in graduate school at Minnesota resulted in his Master's thesis (Stoltman 1962) on Middle Woodland Laurel ceramics of northern Minnesota, which was updated and incorporated into his monograph on the Laurel culture (Stoltman 1973). Jim returned to the Laurel culture in 1970 with Ed Lugenbeal, one of his early graduate students at Wisconsin, to conduct excavations at the Smith and McKinstry mounds. These studies formed the basis of Lugenbeal's dissertation work on the Laurel and Blackduck components of the Smith site (Lugenbeal 1976, 1978).

In 1962 Jim shed the Golden Gopher mantle for the Crimson of Harvard University. Jim was accepted into the anthropology graduate program at Harvard and was awarded a fellowship. He initially intended to apply geoarchaeological methods to the study of Paleolithic archaeology. …

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