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Greg Perino was a self-taught professional archaeologist, author, consultant, and the last living founder of the Illinois State Archaeological Society. Perino was considered one of the foremost experts on Native American artifacts. He died July 4, 2005 at the age of 91.
Early life and career
Originally from Belleville, Illinois, Perino started exploring Cahokia and the surrounding Mississippi River bluffs as a teenager. His fascination with the past and his innate ability to locate and meticulously excavate prehistoric cemeteries and burial mounds soon led him into a career as a self-taught professional archaeologist, first with the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma; then with the Foundation for Illinois Archeology in Kampsville, Illinois; and finally with the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, Oklahoma.
Perino is perhaps best known for his guidebooks for North American projectile points. In Illinois, he is well known for his numerous excavations of Middle and Late Woodland, and Mississippian mortuary sites in the Illinois, Mississippi, and Kaskaskia River valleys. However, his earlier work at Cahokia is of equal importance. His 1956 Gilcrease Institute excavations into Mound 34 uncovered a series of unusual artifacts and deposits from a copper workshop, that was subsequently lost for 60 years but rediscovered in 2010. It is the only known copper workshop to be found at a Mississippian site. Perinos many contributions to Illinois archaeology are well documented through his routinely published reports on discoveries. For Gregory Perino's enduring contributions to Illinois archaeology, he was accorded the IAS Public Service Award.
His most important contributions were to artifact typology, mound construction and use, and mortuary practices. His works to artifact typology are wellknown, especially where projectile points are concerned. Beginning with Perino's collaborative workwith Robert Bell and later publishing his own monographs on preforms, points,and knives of the North American Indians reside on the bookshelves of vocational and professional archaeologists alike.
Perino's contributions to our understanding of material culture also include exceptional specimens such as the bone scepter from the Lawrence Gay mound, the cache of North preforms from the North site, and the copper object and beaver effigy pipe from the Bedford Mounds.
As illustrated by his many profile and plan-view maps, Perino documented mound structure and provided insights into mound construction and uses, especially the construction and function of log tombs in Middle Woodland mounds. He provided detailed descriptions of burial contexts and, in turn, enhanced the understanding of mortuary practices.
- Ray Fraser. "A tribute to Greg Perino (1914-2005)". Central States Archaeological Societies. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Pawlaczyk, George (16 Feb 2010), Copper men: Archaeologists uncover Stone Age copper workshop near Monk's Mound., retrieved 2010-11-08