James Skibo Obituary, Death – Dr. James Skibo, Wisconsin’s State Archaeologist, died. After being retrieved from Lake Mendota on April 14, 2023, Jim died. Jim was certified for the dive depth and equipment. In July 2021, the Wisconsin Historical Society welcomed Jim, a Great Lakes archaeologist. He handled the state’s 36,000
archaeological sites and contributed greatly to our purpose, team, and state archaeological research. In 2021 and 2022, his agency and Wisconsin’s Native Nations recovered two boats, one 1,200 years ancient (800 A.D.) and the other 3,000 years old (1,000 B.C.). Jim was a team leader, mentor, and learner. He was excited to get out in the water with his colleagues this spring to examine the historic canoe recoveries site, knowing there were many stories
to tell. Our organization and state felt Jim’s passion and energy. Jim was an explorer who visited Wisconsin to democratize archaeology and communicate stories through the archaeological record. He was the “People’s Archaeologist,” as he called himself. He was an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed. Jim was retired
distinguished professor of anthropology and department chair at Illinois State University for 27 years before joining the Society. He wrote 11 books and edited dozens of peer-reviewed publications on pottery, archaeological theory, and Great Lakes archaeology. He co-edited Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory for 17 years.
Jim enjoyed working with William A. Longacre on the Kalinga Ethnoarchaeological Project, one of the longest-running ethnoarchaeological projects, which studied pottery makers in northern Luzon, Philippines. He supervised the Grand Island Archaeological Research Program from 2000 and received the Society for American Archaeology’s
Excellence in Archaeological Analysis award in 2012. We’re thinking of Becky, Matt, and Sadie, Jim’s wife and children, during this terrible time. His family recommends giving back to the earth Jim loved and learnt from. We invite you to honor Dr. James Skibo, the People’s Archaeologist.