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  • ISAS staff Patrick Green, Christian Hasler, and Mike Smith and UIUC archaeology graduate student, Em Shirilla volunteered to host an archaeology tent and atlatl-powered spear throwing demonstration during the Family Campout event at Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello, Illinois.

    ISAS presents at Allerton Family Camp Out

  • The Peoria Business Committee stands in front of Monks Mound, Left to Right: Treasurer Hank Downum, Chief Craig Harper, Second Councilman Kara North, Third Councilman Isabella Clifford, Second Chief Rosanna Dobbs, and Secretary Tonya Mathews

    ISAS hosts Peoria Tribe visit to Cahokia Mounds

  • Caitlin Rankin wetland sampling

    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.

  • Mound A at Angel Mounds in southwest Indiana

    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

  • Watch the April 11th lecture from Betty Gaedtke, Quapaw Nation

  • Benjamin Barnes

    Watch the March 14 lecture from Chief Benjamin Barnes, Shawnee Tribe

    The Intersections of Indigenous Knowledge and Archaeology Speaker Series aims to center Indigenous voices, increase awareness of the deep Native histories of the Eastern Woodlands, and amplify the experiences, research, and knowledge of Indigenous leaders, scholars, and artisans.

    Watch the March 14 lecure by Chief Benjamin Barnes, Shawnee Tribe. 

  • Now hiring! Archaeological Field Technicians

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey seeks Archaeological Field Technicians to fill hourly field crew positions for large-scale Phase I, II, and III projects conducted out of our Central Illinois Field Station in Champaign. These are temporary (with potential of long term), full-time (40 hour/week), non-benefits-eligible, field/laboratory positions that may also involve some additional fieldwork, data processing, and specialized-analysis opportunities. Technicians will need to relocate to the Champaign area.  In-house training in ISAS methods is provided, and lodging and per diem are paid on out-of-town projects.

  • ISAS continues lecture series featuring Native leaders, scholars, and artisans

    This spring the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign continues the Intersections of Indigenous Knowledge and Archaeology Speaker Series, which aims to center Indigenous voices, increase awareness of the deep Native histories of the Eastern Woodlands, and amplify the experiences,research, and knowledge of Indigenous leaders, scholars, and artisans.

  • Tim Pauketat at lectern

    The moon's tears fell on Cahokia

    In November, Illinois State Archaeologist Tim Pauketat delivered a lecture sponsored by The Archaeological Conservancy. In his talk, he described insights gained about Cahokia and future plans for outreach and research activities conducted in collaboration with Tribes. 

  • Elizabeth Watts Malouchos (left) and Alleen Betzenhauser (right) map a Mississippian structure at the Pfeffer site in the region outlying Cahokia in 2008.

    ISAS experts co-edit Reconsidering Mississippian Communities and Households

  • microphone

    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. 

  • Prescribed burn, March 6, 2020, on lands managed by the Champaign County Forest Preserve

    Exploring historic fire ecosystems

  • archaeologists digging an excavation

    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.

  • Illinois Archaeological Predictive Model screenshot

    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. 

  • corn stalk

    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.

  • Mike Farkas, Michael Aiuvalasit and Tim Pauketat walking amid bare trees

    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

    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 Bryant and Paula Porubcan

    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). 

  • As we all seek to limit spread of COVID-19, Toward the Middle Range conference will be postponed to 2021.

    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.

  • Upper Mississippian jar rims from the Schryver collection.

    The Richard and Marilyn Schryver Collection

    The Richard and Marilyn Schryver Collection was donated to the Illinois State Archaeological Survey in the Fall of 2019 by their children.

  • Mary King, Mary Simon, and Kimberly Schaefer examining a possible wooden mortar (large basin for grinding corn).

    Deciphering the culture found in prehistoric plants

  • Illinois State Archaeological Survey postdoctoral researcher Rebecca Barzilai maps and collects soil samples from the floor of a religious shrine in Greater Cahokia, an ancient Native American settlement on the Mississippi River in and around present-day St. Louis.

    Reading history in the soil

    Illinois State Archaeological Survey postdoctoral researcher Rebecca Barzilai maps and collects soil samples from the floor of a religious shrine in Greater Cahokia, an ancient Native American settlement on the Mississippi River in and around present-day St. Louis.

  • Tim Pauketat speaks to a crowd of U of I alumni

    State Archaeologist leads Cahokia tour for Illinois alumni

    Illinois State Archaeologist Tim Pauketat led a tour of Cahokia Mounds on Sept. 19 for a group of University of Illinois alumni. This special event was organized by the Illinois Alumni Association and the Prairie Research Institute. 

  • Meet Michael Aiuvalasit, environmental archaeologist

    Michael Aiuvalasit joins ISAS as an environmental archaeologist, leveraging his expertise using archaeological and paleoclimate data to tell a story about how people solved resource management problems in the past.

  • Archaeological predictive modeling app offers clues for future development

    The Illinois Archaeological Predictive Models (IAPM) offers a publicly available resource to predict where archaeological sites may be found.

  • aerial photo of Heyworth site

    Extracting history from a cornfield

    Illinois News Bureau writer Diana Yates recently participated in an archaeological investigation of an 800-year-old village in central Illinois.

  • cover East St. Louis Precinct Mississippian Ceramics

    Now available: East St. Louis Precinct Mississippian Ceramics

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey proudly announces the release of our latest publication, East St. Louis Precinct Mississippian Ceramics edited by Tamira K. Brennan, Michael Brent Lansdell, and Alleen Betzenhauser with contributions by Alleen Betzenhauser, Tamira K. Brennan, Sarah E. Harken, Michael Brent Lansdell, and Victoria E. Potter.

  • ISAS staff at an East St. Louis excavation site

    Now available: East St. Louis Precinct Terminal Late Woodland Features

    The investigations at East St. Louis conducted by Illinois State Archaeological Survey for the New Mississippi River Bridge project provided an unprecedented amount of information concerning Terminal Late Woodland habitation in the American Bottom. East St. Louis Precinct Terminal Late Woodland Features, edited by Alleen Betzenhauser, describes insights gained from this project.

  • Scattergood receives Outstanding New Support Staff Award

    ISAS archaeological projects coordinator Sarah Scattergood received the Outstanding New Support Staff Award at the 2019 Prairie Research Institute Celebration of Excellence. 

  • Get to know Illinois State Archaeologist Tim Pauketat

  • two book covers

    ISAS reprints two popular volumes

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey has reprinted two popular out-of-print publications and both are available for purchase on Amazon.

  • Preserving the Past in 3D

    John Lambert and Alleen Betzenhauser describe how they used a 3D scanner to capture digital images of petroglyphs that were pecked and ground into limestone boulders during the Mississippian Period

  • Pauketat to lead Illinois State Archaeological Survey

    Timothy R. Pauketat, a University of Illinois professor of Anthropology, is the new director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey.

  • 'Revealing Greater Cahokia' details research on ancient North American metropolis

    A new book, “Revealing Greater Cahokia, North America’s First Native City,” offers the most complete picture yet of a decade of archaeological research on a little-known part of the larger city and its precincts in East St. Louis. 

  • lidar downtown Cahokia

    ‘Native America’ documentary including work by U. of I. researchers at Cahokia to be screened on campus

    A new documentary about the cities built by Native Americans features research by University of Illinois anthropologists at the ancient city of Cahokia, near present-day St. Louis. An episode of the documentary will be screened Oct. 10 at Spurlock Museum.

  • Bringing Cahokia’s grid into the real world

    Staff from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) are looking to new technology to tie Cahokia’s grid to real-world coordinates. This will be the first time researchers and other state agencies will be able to integrate LiDAR with excavation data at Cahokia.

  • ISAS will feature augmented reality at Pygmalion Festival’s demo event

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) will participate in the Pygmalion Festival’s demo event happening Sept. 27 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Krannert Art Museum on the University of Illinois campus.

  • Ancient Cahokia Future Visions Conference brings goal for Cahokia becoming a National Park to the forefront

    Ancient Cahokia Future Visions Conference brings goal for Cahokia becoming a National Park to the forefront.

  • Exchange Avenue figurine

    Exchange Avenue figurine survives to tell us about Cahokia

    Exchange Avenue figurine survives to tell us about Cahokia

  • ISAS helps collect data from the Mann site

    ISAS partners with organizations to collect data from the Mann site.

  • Journal of the Illinois Archaeological Survey publishes Volume 28 & 29 in honor of Dr. Thomas E. Emerson

    The Illinois Archaeological Survey recently published its 28th and 29th volume in honor of Dr. Thomas E. Emerson. Dr. Emerson’s career has spanned over 45 years in cultural resource management and during that time he has been a passionate advocate for publishing archaeological research.

  • ISAS work at Kimball House reveals artifacts

    While digging out the floors this week during the ongoing restoration of the Nancy Kimball House in Elgin, workers uncovered the 1846 house's original cistern. The discovery prompted Liz Marston of the Elgin Area Historical Society and Museum to contact the Illinois State Archaeological Survey's Northern Illinois Field Station in Elgin, which sent three archaeologists to have a look Thursday.

  • Archaeological work in Jackson Park turns up remnants of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893

    Archaeologists turned up remnants of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, the fabled White City that drew millions of visitors to Chicago’s Jackson Park, as they scoured the site of the Obama Presidential Center and nearby parkland as part of the federal review of plans for the proposed complex.

  • Director Thomas Emerson announces he will retire at the end of 2018

    Dr. Thomas E. Emerson, director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) and Illinois’ first State Archaeologist, announced he will be retiring at the end of 2018. Dr. Emerson’s career has spanned over 45 years in cultural resource management and he has been director of ISAS since 1994.

  • ISAS archaeologists travel to China for Shanghai Archaeology Forum

  • Kaleb Cotter sift tray

    Restoring a lost heritage

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is partnering with Allerton Park staff to identify, restore, interpret and preserve mounds (probably ancient burial structures) at Robert Allerton Park.

  • Archaeology in the French Colonial Illinois Country

  • Endangered Heritage: Preserving Greater Cahokia

  • ISAS Geophysical Survey Reveals 13th Century Village