Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies

Remembering Dr. Robert E.Bell

Larry & Chris Merriam

Central States Archaeological Societies 2006 April Journal

Dr. Robert E.Bell
Dr. Robert E. Bell

It is our sad task to report the passing of Dr. Robert E. Bell. Born on July 16, 1914 in Marion, Ohio to Harry Thew and Clara Stouffer Bell. Following a brief illness he passed away at his home in Norman, Oklahoma on January 1, 2006 at age 91.

When he was ten years old Robert began hunting arrowheads with his father in local fields. This began his interest in archaeology. For his high school graduation, his father took him on a trip from Ohio to Arkansas where he heard about the mounds near Spiro, Oklahoma. Newspaper articles covering the sale of the Edward W. Payne collection in 1935 report "Robert E. Bell among the well known buyers present." His travels took him back to the Spiro Mound from 1933 to 1935. Noting the lack of training by the diggers, he decided to become a trained archaeologist to learn more about our prehistory. Following graduation from Ohio State University, his graduate work at University of Chicago; was a thesis on Lithic Analysis. After his doctorate, he was the first to apply tree-ring dating to archaeological sites in the east. In 1958 he began the four volume series on Point typology, known as the Bell/Perino type guides. His work and influence was also with sabbatical work in New Zealand, Polynesia, Ecuador and South America. Being one of the main collaborators on the book; The Spiro Mound, a photo essay. Dr. Bell was truly one of the giants.


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