December 31, 2012


Filed under: Amateur, Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 9:17 am

Archaeologist, 72, who kept headless native American mummies in his back garden after looting graves and tried to pay for hit on rival with OPALS dies in prison

A former insurance agent and amateur archaeologist convicted of looting ancient Indian graves in the Nevada desert and later offering $10,000 in opals for a hit man to kill a former business partner has died in prison.

The Department of Corrections confirmed on Thursday that Jack Lee Harelson, 72, of Grants Pass, died on Dec. 14 in the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. The agency said he died of natural causes in the prison infirmary. His death was first reported by the Grants Pass Daily Courier.

When he was arrested in 1995, authorities said they found the headless mummified remains of two children wrapped in garbage bags and buried unceremoniously in Harelson’s garden.

Sadly, while he makes a good point regarding the usefulness of amateurs in locating sites and materials, the rest of the story rather undermines even that meager contribution. Would have been nice if they’d put quotes around “archaeologist” though.

1 Comment

  1. I’ll have to reread Tony Hillerman. Sounds like one of his plots, or subplots. Usually the hit man succeeds, hence the adventure.

    Comment by Richard Aubrey — January 2, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

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