[The following excerpt is taken from an article regarding the first award recipients, Col. Donald H. and Patricia Randell in April 1989 SWFAS newsletter] 

  • The distinction is conferred in recognition of major accomplishments in any of three fields: archaeological research, education in the area’s prehistory, and conservation of archaeological resources.
  • Eligible are individuals in these categories: Landowners and/or developers, educators, government employees, worker in both print and electronic media, and both amateur and professional archaeologists.
  • The award is named for the late Dr. Craighead, who did pioneering research in the region’s environment and who exercised a great impact on young people with whom he came in contact.

Craighead Award Recipients

1989      Col. Donald H. and Patricia Randall
1990      Robin and Jan Brown
1991      Dr. William H. Marquardt
1992      Arthur R. Lee
1993      Bonita Bay Properties, Inc.
1994      Kevin Lollar
1996      Dr. Randolph J. Widmer and wife Dr. Rebecca Storey
1997      John Beriault
1998      Robert S. Carr
2000     George Luer
2002     Corbett Torrence


The Dr. Frank C. Craighead, Sr., Award was conceived by the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society’s board of directors as a means of forwarding the organization’s goals of learning more about the early residents of the area, disseminating that information, and preserving its evidences. The heavy influx of new residents and tourist to the Southwest Florida area is creating an unprecedented demand for housing and facilities which, in turn, is stimulating construction and development, with a resultant threat to aboriginal habitation and activities sites. At the same time, a flourishing black market in artifacts has prompted widespread violation of burial and other important sites. In the face of these challenges, the Society carries out a number of activities to stimulate awareness of the importance of the history locked in the area’s soils and of preserving it. It is the hope of its membership that the Craighead award will help in this effort, as well as in encouraging the development and dissemination of information about the area’s past.


Individuals and organizations in a number of fields are considered for the award, although only one is conferred annually. These are: Educators in primary, secondary and higher schools and other educational institutions; representatives of the media, both print and electronic; both avocational and professional archaeologists; and landowners and developers. Criteria used in judging candidates include impact of the individuals’ efforts, considering both primary and secondary audiences; duration of the results of activities; and evident effectiveness of candidates’ efforts. Under these criteria, modest programs carried out over a period of time can compete with more dramatic, but single-event efforts.


Use of Dr. Craighead’s name for the award has been graciously granted by his widow, who is a Naples resident. The distinguished scientist was chief entomologist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service at the time of his retirement in 1950. It was then that he started a second career studying the environment of the Everglades region, research that resulted in a new understanding of the area, opening new fields of study and furthering concern for the conservation of wetlands and coastal resources. Although his interest in archaeology was secondary, it had a great impact upon the young people with whom he came in contact and through them study of the Southwest Florida’s prehistory has been greatly enhanced.


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