The Richard and Marilyn Schryver Collection was donated to the Illinois State Archaeological Survey in the Fall of 2019 by their children. This assemblage of stone tools, pottery sherds, and bone/antler/shell artifacts was amassed by Mr. Schryver and his family between the 1960s and 1990s from over two dozen archaeological sites in the Sterling-Rock Falls area in Whiteside County. The artifacts in this collection are significant because most can be attributed to a specific site or collecting locality based upon Mr. Schryver’s thorough record keeping. Well-documented avocational collections like this are invaluable to archaeologists because they provide samples of the full range of objects that are typically found in a region.
Mr. Schryver was an enthusiastic avocational archaeologist and outdoorsman. He spent many hours collecting local sites and discussing recent discoveries and advancements. Mr. Schryver graciously shared his passion for the past with local schools and civic groups, as well as interested scholars working in the area. Mr. Schryver got his first practical experience working with the Illinois Archaeological Survey on a dig in Whiteside County in the 1960s. Spurred on by that experience, Mr. Schryver routinely collected the site area after it was later put into crop rotation and found a small but important assemblage of pottery sherds that went on to be used in a recent analysis of the excavation by researchers at ISAS. Mr. Schryver was also instrumental in the initial discovery and examination of the source of Sterling pipestone in the 1980s. He generously shared information and artifacts from his collection with researchers who continue to study this important raw material used by native people to craft smoking pipes, plummets, gorgets, and other ground stone artifacts.
This important donated collection will continue to inspire and inform archaeologists interested in northwest Illinois for the foreseeable future. The pottery that the Schryver’s collected has already drawn the interest of one of the leading researchers in this field of study. What a wonderful way to honor Mr. Schryver’s legacy as a distinguished amateur archaeologist who loved to interact with professionals and contribute whatever he could to the study of the past human societies that lived in Illinois.
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For more information: https://www.isas.illinois.edu/office_of_the_illinois_state_archaeologist/public_engagement/documenting_collections