Biographical / Historical
Hannah Marie Wormington was born in Denver, Colorado in 1914. She studied archaeology with E.B. Renaud and earned a B.A. from the University of Denver in 1935. After graduating from college, she traveled to France where she worked under Henri Martin at a Paleolithic excavation in the Dordogne. She retained an interest in French archaeology. Returning to Denver from her studies abroad, she was hired by the Denver Museum of Natural History as a staff archaeologist. In 1937, she became curator of archaeology, establishing the museum's status as an important center for Paleo-Indian research. She remained at the museum until 1968. She received her doctorate in 1954, becoming the first Harvard (Radcliffe) female Ph.D. to specialize in archaeology.
While at the Denver Museum of Natural History, she cataloged the Lindenmeier material in the collection (1936) and excavated the Johnson Site (a Folsom camp) near La Porte, Colorado. Starting in 1937, she excavated a series of rock shelters in Montrose County, Colorado, Grand County, Utah, and Mesa County, Colorado. She surveyed prehistoric migration routes of ancient hunters in the Province of Alberta, Canada in 1955 and1956. In the 1960s, she worked at the Frazier Agate Basin site and with Joe Ben Wheat at the Jurgens Cody site at the Jurgens Cody site in Weld County, Colorado. She also served as a consultant on an excavation of mammoth and associated material in the Valley of Mexico (1952) and of a human skeleton near Turin, Iowa (1955); excavations at Onion Portage, Alaska (1963), the Scottsbluff butchering site near Chadron, Nebraska (1971), and Hot Springs Mammoth Site, South Dakota (1977). Wormington also served as a visiting or adjunct professor with Arizona State University, Colorado College, the University of Colorado, and the University of Wyoming.
Wormington became the first women president of the Society for American Archaeology in 1967. She received many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1970, Colorado's State Archaeologist's Award in 1977, an Honorary Doctorate from Colorado State University in 1977, and the Society of American Archaeology's Distinguished Service Award in 1983.
Hannah Marie Wormington was an American archaeologist known for her study of Paleo-Indians in the Southwest. She contributed greatly to the body of research of prehistoric cultures; among those were the Fremont of Utah, and the Uncompahgre of Colorado. Her most significant publications were Ancient Man in North America (1939b) and Prehistoric Indians of the Southwest (1947). Both are considered classics for synthesizing an incredible amount of data on the subject of Prehistoric Indians.