Dr. Roderick Sprague III was perhaps best known as a Northwest Historic Archaeologist, Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho, and co-editor of the Journal of Northwest Anthropology. His extensive field work was conducted in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, and Prince Edward Island. In 1986, he received both the University of Idaho's Library Faculty Award for Outstanding Service and the Sigma Xi Published Research Paper Faculty Award. In 1996, he received the J.C. Harrington Medal, the highest international award in historical archaeology, and he received the Carol Ruppe Service Award in 2004, both given by The Society for Historical Archaeology.
During his career, Sprague published more than 120 scientific papers and articles along with more than 100 unpublished reports to agencies. These articles specialized in historical archaeology, culture change theory, and artifact analysis and included areas such as glass trade beads and buttons. His significant work on historic archaeology in Washington includes the excavations at American and British Camps at the San Juan Historic Park.