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The Take Down of Don Miller: the Collector / Grave Robber Extradinaire

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  • The Take Down of Don Miller: the Collector / Grave Robber Extradinaire

    A recent article in Vanity Fair for those of you who may not have heard of him. 31204&utm_social_type=owned&utm_brand=vf&service_u ser_id=1.78e+16&utm_content=instagram-bio-link&utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=social&client _service_name=vanity%20fair&supported_service_name =instagram_publishing
    If the women don\'t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

  • #2
    Probably the best article I have read yet about Don Miller. A shame this is what typically gets national attention as opposed to the hundreds, thousands upon thousands that do right. The man did do illegal in a big way though and should have been caught and brought to the publics attention.
    Searching the fields of NW Indiana and SW Michigan


    • #3
      I seen something about Him, He may not have been a bad Guy but got really carried away.


      • Olden
        Olden commented
        Editing a comment
        He was insanity housed in a type A personality I think

    • #4
      Vanity fair?, FBI? 🤔


      • Olden
        Olden commented
        Editing a comment
        I know.. don't seem right.
        The whole premise that they found an Indiana Jones in Indiana (from the FBI's standpoint) is sensational clickbait: it speaks to the business of selling articles.
        Sometimes we do the best we can

    • #5
      Wow, that was a riveting story. In some cases he handled artifacts with the utmost care (regardless of how he aquired them) and then there was the cavalier way he treated human remains.
      Last edited by Narrow Way Knapper; 11-04-2021, 04:45 PM.
      South Carolina


      • Olden
        Olden commented
        Editing a comment
        It's been said that someone should dig up his grave and scatter his remains for animals to scavenge.

    • #6
      Enjoyed the read, Don seemed a bit extreme as a collector , to extreme for me as far as disturbing human remains
      2ET703 South Central Texas


      • Olden
        Olden commented
        Editing a comment
        It is a macabre tale that highlights the worst of collecting - it's important to occasionally view extreme stories to help us stay centered I think..

    • #7
      The human remains being disturbed and collected like that would be the part i wouldnt hold with...
      JR, from jackson co, southern indiana


      • #8
        I posted this on another forum a while back, interesting to see how Vanity Fair addresses it. But there is a whole lot more to this story than an old guy who collected like an old time collector.

        But briefly about Don- Right or wrong he was a product of his generation, with the exception that he had the willingness & means to travel around A LOT. Human remains should not have been handled like that, but flip through some old Ohio Archaeologists or books, and skulls were collected and displayed. Meuser, Vietzen, Bell, Park, etc. etc. etc. etc. all had massive collections that would border on "hoarding" if you chose to paint them in a negative light. They all either dug, paid people to dig, or visited mound/kame sites where people were digging for relics with the intention of collecting. That's just the way wealthy, focused collectors rolled back in the day, and it was perfectly legal at the time.

        Here is a link to a local news article at the time. It has several pictures of the collection, and one of the skeletons. The skeleton is laid out like it was found, with the necklaces and beads found in relative situ. It isn't pretty, but this is how museums all around the world display archaeological material. It used to be done this way at museums in the US as well. (The article also has the details of the back story mentioned below.)


        This entire story has been over blown to cover up the interesting part of the real story.

        The original reason that an entire squadron of FBI agents set up check points so far away from the buildings on the property is that a well known (maybe not well respected by all) archaeologist was visiting Don, and Don had some items from the Manhattan project (the creation of the nuclear bomb.) The good Dr., knowing that Don collected all things strange, saw something that he assumed was a nuclear trigger, and an incredibly heavy metal ball, and naturally assumed that this 91 y/o guy had the important parts of a functional nuclear weapon sitting on a shelf across from his Peruvian pottery.

        The amazing part of this is the archaeologist happens to be childhood friends with someone in the pentagon who can pick up a phone and mobilize a terrorism/nuclear containment taskforce based on the word of a buddy. (The items turned out to be an old radio and apparently some type of polished cannon ball.)

        For my view of grave robbing it is bad, people shouldn't do it, but more sites have been and will be destroyed by construction and agriculture than by looters. Be careful with wanting absolute protection of cultural assets because it becomes very expensive or impossible to build anything.

        Archaeology and collectors sometimes come across old remains, and they should be treated with dignity and respect.

        I hunt in the desert and have found lots of old remains that were exposed by wind erosion, not much you can do but admire the truth of a statement like "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" and hope that some day my mortal remains are returned to nature like that.
        Hong Kong, but from Indiana/Florida


        • LongStride
          LongStride commented
          Editing a comment
          We'll put, you got it right
          always reburied any human remains that were exposed

        • Narrow Way Knapper
          Narrow Way Knapper commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the clarification. He lived a pretty interesting life.

        • CMD
          CMD commented
          Editing a comment
          In the 50’s, members of the local archaeological society, which no longer exists, but did important work, like establishing the ceramic sequence in southern New England, kept human remains when found in digs. Yes, it was common, everywhere. Sometime in the 90’s, when part of a skull was plowed up from a prehistoric refuse pit, we buried it with offerings nearby, and where it would not happen again.

      • #9
        Good read. Interesting...
        Near the PA/Ohio state line


        • #10
          That was one weird dude.
          east Tx.


          • #11
            Weighing in here. You all know I'm not a digger. I too have thousands of artifacts. 99% found on the surface. I do agree with Emergency salvation. Some times you have to just get in front of the Bulldozer. Every site is in itself a contained environment. All artifacts on site have a connection with all other items / relics on the site. This inter-connectablity, tells the whole story. When something is taken away then site information is lost. And lost forever. When proper excavation (and some of you have heard this from me before) has been done the information has been saved to be easily put back together in the lab. Story saved for ever. I too have read of the early so called Archaeologists ( Societies) all over the country that had done the same things as Miller. All supposed to be in the interest of science. BULL CRAP ! I personally know of these men and women taking most of the excavated relics home to private collections. Thanks for posting this story, I've read some of it before, but I think this is the best rendition. I only wish that those here who want to dig start doing it all properly. Kim Mattern Avocational Archaeologist.
            Knowledge is about how and where to find more Knowledge. Snyder County Pa.


            • #12
              Good read but the facts stated are not correct. The bomb dropped on Hiroshema was a gun type device and was called Little Boy. The spheres mentioned would of been from Fat Man the device dropped on Nagasaki.
              SE IA