I first met Charlie in the late 1990’s while working with Cheryl Munson at the Hovey Lake site, and developed a continuing friendship. In 2008, Charlie graciously allowed me to analyze archaeobotanical samples from the Mann site. These samples from IU Mound No. 9 were well documented and carefully processed, and provided the first analysis of Mann site non-habitation macrobotanicals, which resulted in a 2011 publication in Southeastern Archaeology [30(2):365-376]. In that paper, I described Charlie’s meticulous work, and acknowledged him as: “…a competent and responsible avocational archaeologist….”
Jocelyn Turner, Dept. of Anthropology
Charles Lacer, Jr. was both a friend and colleague, helping my research in many ways. I first met him in 1972, when he looked just like the photo on his obituary program. With Tom Green, I had just begun reviewing and organizing information on all the collections then at the Glenn Black Laboratory (GBL) of Archaeology (Indiana University) from sites in the Ohio Valley of Indiana. From the sites in Posey County I was most impressed by how different the unusual ceramic vessels from Murphy (Anderson’s 1898 excavations for W.K. Moorehead , then curated at GBL) and the decorated pottery sherds from surface collections at the Caborn and Welborn sites were from the Angel site. The end scrapers from those sites and the disk pipes from Murphy and other sites also stood out. Jim Kellar then introduced me to Charlie, and he showed me his surface and excavated collections from Murphy, and his large surface collections from the Hovey Lake and Caborn sites. Much larger than those at GBL, Charlie’s collections re-enforced the differences from the Angel site material.
Subsequently, Charlie showed me his Mississippian surface and excavated collections from the well-known Hopewell Mann site, where in addition to dense Hopewell materials and earthworks there are geographically distinct areas of Mississippian habitation. His Mann site Mississippian collections were something like a Rosetta Stone – comprised of hundreds of pottery sherds instead of words – with each habitation area having different decorated ceramics. One group was comparable to the Angel site (the Angel phase was then in the early stages of being defined) and the other was clearly a component of a different group, which was one of the keys that helped me to initially define the “Caborn-Welborn Complex.” Tom Green and I (1978, “Mississippian Settlement Patterns”) then defined the Caborn-Welborn phase once radiocarbon dates were available to help distinguish it chronologically from the Angel phase.
Charlie’s records, maps, and collections were instrumental in my choosing the Hovey Lake site for initial test excavations at a Caborn-Welborn site. He continued to help my research, as he gladly did many other archaeologists, until his health declined. For over 30 years, Charlie visited every one of my excavation projects in Posey County when he could. It was a joy to me to have him talk with students, workers, and volunteers while he helped with screening, and I know it was always a pleasure for him. I am indebted to Charles Lacer for his diligence, knowledge, and generosity. He was the best representative of avocational archaeology, and his legacy will endure because of his careful collections, records, and reporting.
Cheryl Ann Munson
Department of Anthropology
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Charles Lacer, Jr., 85 passed away December 9, 2019 at The Woodlands in Newburgh, Indiana. He was born to the late Charles Lacer, Sr. and Suzanna
“Sue” (Mann ) Lacer.
Charles worked as a produce manager in the grocery business. He spent 20 years at Kroger and 3O years at Wesselmans. He enjoyed watching movies and television. Beyond all things he loved his family with his whole heart.
In his younger days he spent time with his Dad and brother walking, hunting, and digging for artifacts. But what began as a pastime became Charles passion in life, Archaeology. Charles gained much of his notoriety from digging in Posey County due to a kind farmer who allowed him to hunt for Native American Artifacts on his land.
Charles was an avid reader who was self- taught in his craft. There are many fellow Archaeologist with college degrees who can attest to his profound knowledge of Archaeology. Studying Native American History spanned over his lifetime. He is very well known in Southern Indiana. There was an exposition last year at the Indiana State Museum dedicated to his work with an array of artifacts procured by Charles. He loved to share his work with the public. He was once interviewed about his work and has an article published in Evansville Living Magazine, by Kristin Lund in 2010. Angel Mounds celebrated Charles with a large event honoring his work as an Avocational Archaeologist.
Charles leaves behind, his Son Rick (Elizabeth) Lacer; grandchildren: Jonathan (Megan) Thomas and Angel (Kelly) Craig, his great-grandchildren Jessica (David) Riffey, Brandon Jackson, Hannah Jackson, Trinity Jackson, Katelyn Jackson, Gabrael Norris, Nathaniel Norris, Charles Xavier Lacer, and Lillian Lacer; brother, William (Cathy) Morris Lacer; many nieces and nephews.
Preceded in death by his parents; wife Wilma (Helms) Lacer; a son, James Lacer; and brother, Bob Lacer.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 1:00 PM at Sunset Funeral Home 1800 St. George Road Evansville, IN 47711 with a Graveside Service immediately following at Sunset Memorial Park. There is a public visitation from 11:30 until the time of service Saturday. A visitation will also be held on Friday December 13, 2019 from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM.
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