Hal Landem

Hal playing the fiddle on the IPCAS Mesa Verde Fieldtrip. Courtesy of Karen Kinnear

My’ early interest in archaeology was primarily Egyptology. At an early age of about twelve I took many trips on the el train to the Oriental institute of the University of Chicago where they were kind enough to let me check out some rare and exciting volumes. I endeavored to teach myself to read hieroglyphics, but had only some success. I could recognize the names of gods and of pharos and a few common words and phrases, but couldn’t really decipher an entire text. And today most of that is a hazy memory at best.

My career consisted of starting or reviving small businesses and selling them, For a couple of years I was manager of the Cripple Creek and Victor  narrow gauge railroad . This was in a district where interest in industrial age archaeology was of interest. Later I entered a career of materials and process engineering for a composite materials company, an endeavor that spanned mor than two decades for three different companies.

It was because my wife saw some of my ledger books from the businesses I had early on that she suggested becoming treasurer of the club. I will say that my bookkeeping methods of yore were very like those of Bob Cratchet or Jethro Tull in the Charles Dickens novels. Marking tiny numbers in prescribed tiny boxes is what we did then. Now the computer, a mysterious and malevolent machine, is the preferred method, much to my chagrin.

My current activity is finding and learning fiddle tunes of the Mississippi valley, namely Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi. However I depend on the scholarship of others for the most part in this endeavor. I am pleased to be associated with the Indian Peaks chapter of CAS, and have enjoyed the people and the many interesting presentations that the club is known for.