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News from ISAS

The Illinois State Archaeological Survey protects, preserves, and interprets irreplaceable and non-renewable cultural resources within the context of Illinois’ need to encourage and promote sustainable development. ISAS is a division of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI).

blog posts

  • Remembering James “Jimmy” Burns

    It is with profound sadness that we share the news that James “Jimmy” Burns passed away on November 7, 2023. Jimmy was a consummate field archaeologist who worked extensively across the Midwest, Far West, and Southeast over a 40-year career in both cultural resource management and academic settings. Above all, Jimmy was the best friend a person could be and he will be missed forever across ISAS, PRI, and beyond. 

  • Flotation for the Future

    A massive archaeological site in St. Clair County, Illinois, was excavated by ISAS for the Illinois Department of Transportation between 1998 and 2007 to make way for a new bridge over the Mississippi River. ISAS archaeologists excavated some 7,000 discrete “features,” locations of trash-filled storage pits and houses, among other things, near the banks of the Mississippi River.

  • Third annual Intersections of Indigenous Knowledge and Archaeology Speaker Series

    This spring the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will hold its third annual virtual speaker series featuring Native scholars and leaders. The Intersections of Indigenous Knowledge and Archaeology series is intended to center Indigenous voices, increase awareness of the deep Native histories of the Eastern Woodlands, and amplify the experiences and research of Indigenous scholars and leaders. 

  • ISAS awarded $100,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities

  • Seeing an Indigenous settlement

  • ISAS presents at Allerton Family Camp Out

  • ISAS hosts Peoria Tribe visit to Cahokia Mounds

  • North ‘plaza’ in Cahokia was likely inundated year-round, study finds

    The ancient North American city of Cahokia had as its focal point a feature now known as Monks Mound, a giant earthwork surrounded on its north, south, east and west by large rectangular open areas. These flat zones, called plazas by archaeologists since the early 1960s, were thought to serve as communal areas that served the many mounds and structures of the city.

    New paleoenvironmental analyses of the north plaza suggest it was almost always underwater, calling into question earlier interpretations of the north plaza’s role in Cahokian society. The study is reported in the journal World Archaeology.

  • Alignment, artifacts connect Indiana's Angel Mounds to Ohio's Hopewell culture

  • Watch the May 9th lecture from Dr. John Low, The Ohio State University