Mark Harrington

Mark Raymond Harrington . Pioneer in the field of archeology in Arkansas . He researched the American Indians of Arkansas for the Museum of the American Indian , Heye Foundation ( New York ). His two published books on these investigations, Certain Caddo Sites in Arkansas ( 1920 ) and The Ozark Bluff-Dwellers ( 1960 ), have had a lasting influence on the development of archeology in the southeastern United States .


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  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Childhood
    • 2 Adolescence and higher education
    • 3 Work at the Museum of the American Indian
    • 4 Death
  • 2 Publications
  • 3 Posthumous tribute
  • 4 Sources

Biographical synthesis


Mark R. Harrington was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan , the 6 of July of 1882 , son of Rose Martha Harrington Smith and Mark Walrod Harrington , an astronomer, meteorologist, and then director of the University Observatory Detroit , Michigan. Later, the family lived in Washington DC ; Seattle , Washington; and Mount Vernon, New York .

Adolescence and higher education

Harrington’s early interest in Indians and the discoveries of ancient sites and artifacts near his home in New York led him to FW Putnam of the American Museum of Natural History. While still a teenager, Harrington worked for Putnam, excavating sites around New York City . He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from Columbia University in New York, writing his master’s thesis in Iroquois archeology ( 1908 ).

I work at the Museum of the American Indian

Harrington met and worked for George Gustav Heye collecting ethnological and archaeological artifacts, even before Heye made up his extensive collection at the Museum of the American Indian . In February 1916 , Harrington arrived in Fulton ( Hempstead County ) to lead an archaeological expedition into the Red River Valley for the newly formed museum. Harrington’s team explored Caddo Mound and some villages in Hempstead, Howard, and Garland counties. He later posted descriptions of these sites. Based on his excavations near Hot Springs ( Garland County) Harrington presented a number of ancient Indian cultures from southwestern Arkansas, with an earlier group (in what is now called the Archaic Period) predating the more recent Caddo Indians (in the Mississippi period). Harrington drew on historical descriptions of the Caddo Indians from the 16th , 17th, and 18th centuries , as well as his archaeological finds to describe the ancient culture and way of life of the Caddo Indians in southwestern Arkansas .

Harrington’s work in northwestern Arkansas began after the Museum of the American Indian purchased a collection from WC Barnard of Missouri , including Indian basket weaving and other organic objects preserved by the unusually arid conditions of some Ozark mountain rock shelters . Harrington led an expedition to the area between 1922 and 1923 . He investigated numerous rock shelters in Benton , Carroll , Madison , Marion , and Newton counties in Arkansas and in McDonald County , Missouri .

Harrington published an article on this work in the American Anthropologist in 1924 , but his book on the subject, The Ozark Bluff-Dwellers , was not published until 1960 . Although their research has been reviewed by modern archaeologists, it showed the variety of plant and animal foods, both wild and cultivated, that made up the diet of the ancient Indians in Arkansas. The bones of deer , bears, and smaller animals such as turkeys , as well as tools such as spears , bows, and arrows, indicate that hunting was important, and preserved plant remains and agricultural tools showed that corn , beans , squash , sunflowers , and other plants are grown for food purposes. Harrington descriptions of preserved baskets, clothing and other objects of native production also prompted Samuel C. Dellinger , curator of the Museum of the University of Arkansas ( 1925 – 1960 ), digging Ozark rock shelters during the late 1930s .

From 1919 to 1928 , Harrington also led expeditions in Tennessee , Nevada, and Texas for the Museum of the American Indian, before moving to Los Angeles , California , to become the Director of Research and later curator of the Southwest Museum . His major excavations include the Gypsum Cave Expedition, the Tule Springs site, and the “Lost City” site, all in Nevada. Expeditions in California include several sites in the small lake area and a 10,000-year-old site at Borax Lake .

In 1915 he visited Cuba and extracted numerous ethnographic and archaeological material for his museum in the United States . Later, in 1921 , he published his study on Cuban aboriginal archeology Cuba Before Columbus . In 1930 he moved to an old and abandoned adobe house, near the San Fernando Mission, which had once been the property of General Andrés Pico . Restored by Dr. and Mrs. Harrington, it was their home until 1945 .

In 1956 , Harrington received an honorary doctorate from Occidental College in Los Angeles .


MR Harrington died on June 30 , 1971 , in Los Angeles . He is buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, California .


  • 1908 – Iroquois silverwork. New York: The Trustees.
  • 1909 – Ancient shell heaps near New York City ”. New York: American Museum of Natural History.
  • 1914 – Sacred bundles of the Sac and Fox Indians. Philadelphia: University Museum.
  • 1920 – A sacred warclub of the Oto. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1920 – Certain Caddo sites in Arkansas. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1920 – Old Sauk and Fox beaded garters. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1920 – An archaic Iowa tomahawk. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1920 – A bird-quill belt of the Sauk and Fox Indians. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1921 – Cuba before Columbus. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1921 – Religion and ceremonies of the Lenape. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1922 – Cherokee and earlier remains on upper Tennessee river. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
  • 1960 – The Ozark bluff-dwellers. New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.

Posthumous tribute

In June 1970 , Dr. Harrington was honored by the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, which named its library the Mark R. Harrington.

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