Fran Hamilton

Some of my earliest memories involve digging holes. Whether they were behind the bushes in my mother’s garden or in a drainage ditch where I felt like I had a head start, I just knew there were things worth finding underground. I found my first piece of flaked stone during a family picnic in the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. I was hooked.

One of my many jobs as an undergraduate was in the chemistry department, cleaning glassware and setting up laboratory classes for students. With what I learned there, I found my way to a job in the archaeology lab, and there I met real live anthropologists. Later, when I realized I could receive college credit for digging in a beautiful valley in New Mexico, my career choice was firmly made. I earned a B.A. in Anthropology at Texas A& M University and moved to Washington where I fell in love with the mountains and giant trees.

Studying at the University of Washington was amazing. Every summer I left for a new far away field experience after head-bending theoretical study during the school year. I worked at Black Mesa in Arizona, studying ancient plant remains. I analyzed stone tools from along the Columbia River in a makeshift laboratory in Nespelem. Eventually I discovered the Late Archaic tradition of the Central Mississippi Valley, and there I delved into plowzone archaeology. It’s always been a privilege to study both the ancient and recent elements of our history.

Being a teaching assistant was more play than work. And soon I was teaching my own classes in the evenings and filling in for faculty on leave. Again, I was hooked. I earned my M.A. & Ph.C. (ABD) from the University of Washington Archaeology Program. I’ve worked as a field archaeologist, environmental analyst, and consultant in Washington, Idaho, Missouri, and Louisiana. Who knows where I might dig next?