USD professor’s book subject of Discovery Channel special

USD professor's book subject of Discovery Channel special On Nov. 6, Dr. Richard Fox, professor of anthropology at The University of South Dakota, will be featured on The Discovery Channel's newest series, Unsolved History. The program, titled, Custer's Last Stand, will air on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 7 at 11 p.m.

The Discovery Channel program is based on a book written by Fox titled Archaeology, History, and Custer's Last Battle: The Little Big Horn Reexamined. The basis of Fox's book is contrary to the popular theory of a gallant last stand. According to Fox's analysis of artifacts found on the battlefield and written accounts by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, his conclusions are that chaos, not composure, ruled the battle's final moments for Custer's men.

Fox will also lecture on the topic at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC on Nov. 4. The lecture is being jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates and the Discovery Channel. The book, subsequent film and lecture are all results of Fox's research as co-director of the archeology of the Montana battlefield. Fox was the first person to do archeology at the battlefield, now a national monument.

"The book challenges the myth of a heroic last stand," according to Fox. "Instead, it shows that Custer's battalion disintegrated ? that is, psychological debilitation overcame the soldiers, Custer's battalion collapsed and there was no heroic gallant last stand."

With the "History's Mysteries" series, the Discovery Channel seeks to re-examine conventional views of the past using modern forensic analysis and experiments to offer new interpretations of famous events. Filming of The Discovery Channel documentary took place in Montana during October 2001.

For more information contact Dr. Richard Fox at (605) 677-5594 or visit the Discovery Channel Web site at

Fox, a Montana native, is a professor of anthropology at The University of South Dakota. He earned a master in anthropology for the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. in archaeology for the University of Calgary. As an historical archeologist, he has conducted digs at Fort Abraham Lincoln, along the Custer trail, and at Little Big Horn battlefield.

He has written numerous articles, is the co-author of three books, and the author of Archeology, History, and Custer's Last Battle: the Little Big Horn Reexamined (1993, University of Oklahoma Press.) The latter book won the Little Big Horn Associates literary award, and was named to the Choice Outstanding Academic Book List.

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