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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

  • ISAS experts co-edit Reconsidering Mississippian Communities and Households

  • Virtual speaker series features Native scholars and leaders

    This spring the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will hold a 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. 

  • Exploring historic fire ecosystems

  • Possible Futures for the Recent Past

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey proudly announces the release of our latest publication, Possible Futures for the Recent Past: A Chronological and Resource-Based Framework for Historic Research Design in Illinois.

  • Archaeological predictive model helps Illinoisans balance growth with preservation

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey offers a GIS-based tool that draws on more than a century of data to predict the probability of encountering an archaeological site in any 2-acre section of Illinois. Land owners, developers, preservationists, and other Illinoisans can use this tool to proactively assess and protect archaeological resources while enabling sustainable development. 

  • Cahokia's rise parallels onset of corn agriculture

    Corn cultivation spread from Mesoamerica to what is now the American Southwest by about 4000 B.C., but how and when the crop made it to other parts of North America is still a subject of debate. In a new study, scientists report that corn was not grown in the ancient metropolis of Cahokia until sometime between A.D. 900 and 1000, a relatively late date that corresponds to the start of the city’s rapid expansion.

  • Rediscovering a path to the Milky Way

    ISAS archaeologists investigate "borrow pits," where the people of Cahokia extracted much of the soil used to build their famous mounds. The scientists are beginning to think these ponds held more meaning for the original city builders than archaeologists once assumed. They also hope to study another overlooked feature of the city of Cahokia: a causeway that cuts through the site.

  • Tamira Brennan returns to ISAS as curator

    Dr. Tamira Brennan, who previously worked at the American Bottom Field Station as a coordinator, researcher, and ceramic analyst, is returning to the Illinois State Archaeological Survey as the section head of curation. ISAS houses one of the most extensive archaeological research collections in the state of Illinois, which is used by researchers from around the world to gain insights into our history. 

  • Paula Porubcan and Paula Bryant win 2020 Outstanding Collaboration Award

    The Prairie Research Institute recently honored the two Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) staffers for their contributions to a long-running collaboration with the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC). 

  • POSTPONED TO 2021 – Toward the Middle Range conference

    As we all seek to limit spread of COVID-19, this event will be postponed to 2021.  

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey will host a visiting scholar conference May 30–31, 2020. Toward the Middle Range will focus on the intersection of theory, method, and case study through the lens of the New Materialisms. Up to 15 participants—local, national, and international—will be selected for this two-day conference, which will feature both public and private sessions. Papers will be compiled into an edited volume.