Footnote: Why didn’t Lewis Larson and Arthur Kelly criticize the new exhibits at Etowah?
A People of One Fire reader sent a personal email asking why archeologists Lewis Larson and Arthur Kelly did not criticize the new exhibits at the Etowah Mounds Museum. The museum was extensively remodeled in the late 1990s, while I was living in Cartersville, GA . . . the location of Etowah Mounds. According to the newspaper articles about the reopening of the remodeled museum, the changes were guided by some of Georgia’s leading archeologists, but I do not recall their names. Also, the articles did not define what was meant by “leading.”
Arthur Randolph Kelly died in 1979 . . . long before the museum was remodeled. During the last 10 years of his life, he was snubbed by most Georgia archaeologists, but still highly respected in the rest of the nation.
Lewis H. Larson died in 2012 of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. Thus, he was still alive at the time of the remodeling, but already suffering from the effects of disease.
William H. Sears, who excavated the Etowah house containing European trade items, died in 1996.
The books, primarily written by Charles Hudson or his colleagues, which stated that Etowah Mounds was abandoned immediately after the De Soto Expedition, were published from 1978 to 2006. The proclamation from a president of the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists, announcing that there was no fourth occupation phase at Etowah was made in 1996. Thus, Lew Larson and William Sears were still active during the first decade of book publications, but not the official deletion of the fourth phase. I cannot answer why they did not speak up. My gut feeling is that some folks made sure that no one heard their opinion on the matter.
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