Jesse Walter Fewkes
Jesse Fewkes was particularly interested in the prehistoric inhabitants of the island of Puerto Rico, which became a possession of the United States as a result of the Spanish-American war. His objective was to collect specimens that would shed light on the island's prehistoric inhabitants. Excavations there yielded information about the physical characteristics and the manner of life of its early indigenous people.
Among the archaeological artifacts recovered by Fewkes were some "problematic archeological objects," then called stone collars or rings. Fewkes was perhaps the earliest anthropologist to call attention to these pieces, and attempt to associate them with other Mesoamerican artifacts we now know to be related to the ball game.
He excavated a number of Precolumbian sites in Puerto Rico and extended his research to neighboring islands such as Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad and the Lesser Antilles. His book, Aborigines of Porto Rico and Neighboring Islands, published in 1907 is a classic of early archaeology, and is profusely illustrated with photographs of his many important finds. Jesse Fewkes retired from the Smithsonian Institution in 1928 and died two years later.