Archaeologist Terry Steinacher Dies At Home Of Natural Causes At Age 80


     Long-time History Nebraska archaeologist Terry Steinacher of Crawford has died at age 80. Steinacher was found unresponsive by friends at his home Friday afternoon, leading to an unattended death investigation.

      Dawes County Attorney/Coroner Vance Haug and the Dawes County Sheriff’s Office responded to Steinacher’s home about 2:30 and conducted a preliminary investigation.

     Haug says that a review of the scene and evidence found there, interviews of witnesses, a review of Steinacher’s medical records, and consultation with medical professionals led him to rule that Steinacher had died of natural causes.

      Terry Steinacher joined what was then the Nebraska State Historical Society in October 1986 as a historic preservation archaeologist with the State Historic Preservation Office. 

      Over the years, he worked on a wide range of projects, including spearheading a park-wide survey at Fort Robinson State Park of all standing buildings and archeological ruins, and he led the excavation of several barracks sites at Fort Robinson..

      Among them was the historic Cheyenne Barracks where the 1878 Cheyenne Outbreak began..His work on and after the dig was vital to the reconstruction of the structure in its original location.

       Steinacher published a paperback book, Nebraska Highway Archeological and Historical Salvage Investigations 1969-1975, that recounted some of his work.

       He was recognized by History Nebraska in 2018 with its Asa T Hill Memorial Award for outstanding research in Great Plains archaeology, with the award citing his efforts in “extensively updating” the agency’s archaeology program.

        Singled out for mention in the award was his creating History Nebraska’s historic preservation review and compliance program for archeology and his encouraging development of state law covering archeology,

         The award also cited Steinacher as a motivating force behind the development of the Nebraska archeological site GIS – Geographic Information System, and for developing a program that inspected hundreds of thousands of acres and recorded several thousand new archaeological sites