Carroll Riley
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Riley, Dr. Carroll L.

Dr. Carroll L. Riley, age ninety-three years and 11 months, died in his home in Las Vegas, New Mexico, on Saturday morning, March 25th, 2017. He was one of the main architects of Southwestern archaeological theory as it is accepted today. His career spanned the fields of anthropology, including ethnology, archaeology history and ethnohistory. Riley studied with such scholars as Donald Brand, Florence Holly Ellis, Paul Reiter, and Frank Hibben. Leslie Spier, a student of Franz Boaz, was Riley's major professor, chairing his doctoral committee.

Riley's professional and publishing career spanned 1950-2008. During his fifty-eight year professional career Riley wrote, contributed to and coedited at least nineteen books and articles, "Fifty-seven works, [and] two hundred and three publications"


After discharge from the U.S. Army, he entered the University of New Mexico (UNM) where he received his Bachelors degree with honors in 1948. In 1950 he was awarded his Masters degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, followed by a PHD at UNM in 1952.

During this period Riley worked summers as a ranger for the National Park Service in Mesa Verde National Park and Hovenweep National Monument. While gathering data for his dissertation he lived among and studied the jungle dwelling Panare people in Venezuela. From 1952-1955 Riley served as a consultant to the United Sates Department of Justice Land Division where he was an expert witness on several Native American cases. His interests were broad and he traveled extensively, looking at archaeological sites in Greece, Italy, Scotland and Ireland and spent several seasons studying the Tepehuan, who live in the rugged mountains of northwestern Mexico.

Riley began his teaching career at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1955, Riley was about to accept a position in Washington D.C. with the State Department when he was offered a position at Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale, which was the only open anthropology position in the country at that time. The bulk of his professional life was spent at SIU, Carbondale.

Dr. Riley received several major awards including the Historic Preservation Award in 1985 with Charles and Elizabeth Lange for their work on the Southwest Journals of Adolph P. Bandelier, and Distinguished Life Time Achievement Award in 2015 from the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Preservation Division. He retired from SIU in 1987.

Riley, born April 18th in 1923 on his family's farm in the Missouri Ozarks, rose from the dusty cornfields and one room school houses to attend South West Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau before he served in England with the air division of the US Army during WWII. He attended UNM on the G.I. Bill & married fellow student Brent Robison Locke on March 25, 1948 in Alb, NM.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Minnie Belle and Benjamin Franklin Riley of rural Summersville, MO, brothers Paul and James, sisters Olyn Baker, Edna Crawford and Fern Bailey, and daughter Janet Olyn. He is survived by his wife, Brent, son, Benjamin, two daughters Victoria Evans (Don) and Cynthia (Amanda Ruffin), two granddaughters Rowyn Alarid (Eric), and Jessica Evans (Erik Jonasson), and grandson Nicholas Evans (Lynette Melendrez), great-grandson Liam and great-granddaughters, Ella, Ada and Teagan.

Cremation has taken place & a memorial service will be held at a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Apr. 11, 2017.
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2 entries
June 28, 2017
Dear Brent: I was searching on line for you and Cal to bring you up to date on many happenings. Much to my sorrow I found Cal's obituary. I wish I had tried earlier to find you. Many fond memories of you in the cinderblock house, Ben as a baby, your writing, lovely conversations with Cal. Please send me your current email or phone. I'm at Much love from all of us.
Jean Earnhardt
April 12, 2017
My sympathy goes out to the family during your time of grief. May God's loving kindness comfort you and help you through this difficult time. Psalms 119:50,76

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