The Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) will again partner with Parkland College to bring archaeology to Allerton Park for the second year in a row. This year the Parkland College field school will be led by ISAS research archaeologist and Parkland College instructor Dr. B. Jacob Skousen.
In 2017, ISAS partnered with Parkland College to bring the first field school to Allerton Park. ISAS staff used magnetometry survey and LIDAR to map ten mounds, known as Samuel’s Mounds. These non-invasive techniques helped determine the spatial layout and condition of the mounds. Archaeologists were happy to discover most of the mounds had been well preserved. Only two of the mounds had been impacted by erosion and historical looting.
One of the goals for ISAS archaeologists in Spring of 2018 was to help plan the restoration of the impacted mounds (see short video https://youtu.be/RMA2m-Vnhig ).
“Unfortunately, most of the thousands of mounds that once dotted Illinois have been destroyed by either looting, agriculture, or development. The Samuel’s Mound group is unusual because the land it sits on was set aside by the Allerton family as a wooded retreat. Although it was protected from farming it was still impacted by the mound looting that was so rampant in the late 1800s and much of the 1900s. As our efforts go forward we hope to, at least partially, restore and stabilize the most heavily damaged mounds in the group,” said Dr. Thomas E. Emerson, Illinois State Archaeologist and Illinois State Archaeological Survey Director.
The Parkland College field school will focus their excavation to identify the living areas thought to surround the mounds. They hope to glean more information about the people who lived and built the ten mounds that cover about 1.5 acres along the Sangamon River. ISAS is creating a comprehensive plan for the archaeological interpretation and restoration of the site at Allerton.
The Allerton Archaeological Project is a joint, multi-year research and educational effort by ISAS, the Allerton Park staff, and the University of Illinois to understand the long term cultural history of this uniquely protected segment of over 1,500 acres of the Sangamon River valley, especially concentrating on the poorly known native history.
University of Illinois News Bureau Restoring a Lost Heritage https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/541042
WCIA 3 News story about Allerton Field School
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