Charles Dawson (July 11, 1864 – August 10, 1916) was an amateur British archaeologist who is credited and blamed with discoveries that turned out to be imaginative frauds, including that of the Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus dawsoni), which he presented in 1912. Dawson was often present at finds in the archaeological digs, or was the finder himself.
Born the eldest of three sons, Dawson's family moved to Hastings, Sussex, when he was still very young. Charles initially studied as a lawyer following his father and pursued a hobby of collecting and studying fossils. He initially made a number of seemingly important fossil finds. Amongst these were teeth from a previously unknown species of mammal, later named Plagiaulax dawsoni in his honour, three new species of dinosaur, one later named Iguanodon dawsoni, and a new form of fossil plant, Salaginella dawsoni. The British Museum conferred upon him the title of Honorary Collector. For these important finds he was elected a fellow of the Geological Society and a few years later after another find, to the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1895. Dawson died prematurely from septicaemia 1916.
In 1889 Dawson was a co-founder of the Hastings and St Leonards Museum Association, one of the first voluntary museum friends groups established in Britain. Dawson worked on a voluntary basis as a member of the Museum Committee, in charge of the acquisition of artefacts and documents. His interest in archaeology developed and he had an uncanny knack of making spectacular discoveries, The Sussex Daily News named him the "Wizard of Sussex" for his success.