LYENT RUSSELL (1904 -1998)
Lyent Russell joined the Archaeological Society of Connecticut just after it was founded and became one of its most dedicated members. In addition to serving as the Society’s President in the 1940s, he organized digs at Grannis Island and other sites in southern Connecticut which served as a training ground for generations of local archaeologists. He was an indefatigable lecturer at local schools and in his home where he inspired so many to pursue archaeology even if it was just as an avocation or hobby. He was responsible for the shift in local archaeology from mere collecting of artifacts to their scientific study, and his constant experimenting with aboriginal crafts and processes added considerably to our knowledge of Indian lifeways. His respect for Connecticut’s aboriginal population led him to be accepted by them as few others have and earned him his Indian name Saumpi-Cauguat (Straight Arrow). His collections of Indian artifacts and crafts were generously loaned and given to state and tribal institutions to enhance their displays and exhibits.
Following Lyent’s death in 1998, the ASC Board felt that it would be fitting to set up a grant that would supply funding for archaeologists working in Connecticut.