BY THOMAS R. HESTER
ROBERT FLEMING HEIZER WAS one of the preeminent archaeologists of the twentieth century. A longtime professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, Heizer made scholarly contributions to archaeology, anthropology, ethnohistory, and history. Much of his research and the many publications that followed dealt with the prehistoric and historic Native American peoples of the western United States, particularly Nevada and California. He was a pioneer in the field of scientific applications to archaeology, principally in research dealing with radiocarbon dating in its early phases in the 1950s and then with trace element analysis of obsidian (volcanic glass) artifacts in the 1960s and 1970s.
Heizer also was deeply involved in the early application of cultural ecology in North American archaeological sites. Much of this research stemmed from analyses of preserved materials from ancient Nevada caves, primarily coprolites (fossil feces) that were a direct reflection of human diet
This work draws heavily on Hester (1982). Some portions originally appeared in American Antiquity 47:99107. Copyright 1982 by the Society for American Archaeology. Reprinted with permission