Tuesday, January 19, 2021

In the Middle of Everything:
The Power of Indigenous Illinois in Early America

Speaker: Robert M. Morrissey, PhD

Sunday, January 31, 2021 • 3:30pm • Zoom!

Dr. Robert Morrissey, Associate Professor of History at University of Illinois (Champaign), will be presenting on indigenous settlement history in Illinois on a Zoom Sunday, January 31 beginning at 3:30pm.  Members wishing to check in early (especially for our annual elections) are invited to do so starting at 3:15pm.

The Native people of Illinois are not often regarded as key actors in early American history. In traditional tellings, they are frequently cast as desperate victims, beleaguered peoples whose challenges in the face of colonization were so great as to reduce them quickly to a status of dependency.

Historian Bob Morrissey will tell a new and different story about the Illinois Indians in the colonial period. He will explain how they followed a long-term trajectory of pragmatism and innovation, exploiting special opportunities made possible by their location to build power and exercise enormous agency not just in their region, but throughout the Great Lakes and Plains and even in the European power centers of Quebec, Louisiana, and Charleston.

Map credit: Native American tribal boundaries, 1700-1769. Map by James S. Oliver, IL St Mus. After: Helen H. Tanner. 1987. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian history. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. (edited)

By foregrounding Native peoples’ agency and decisions, this presentation will complicate our understanding of the early history of the state and region, challenging tired stereotypes. More importantly, it will examine why the Illinois Country – and particularly the tallgrass prairie environment that the Illinois occupied in the colonial period – was such an important place in early America. 

This presentation will make a case that the Illinois Country and its occupants belong at the center of our understanding of several key themes in early American history. As we celebrate the Bicentennial of the State of Illinois, we ought to revisit the Native American past of our region, as well as the often-ignored significance of the Illinois people in the pre-colonial and colonial eras.

Dr. Morrissey did his undergraduate work at Carleton College and earned 2 masters and PhD (with distinction) in history at Yale University.  He specializes in the history of early America and the Atlantic world, American frontier and borderlands history, ethnohistory, and environmental history.  His first book tells the story of French colonists and Native peoples of the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The book is entitled Empire by Collaboration: Indians, Colonists, and Governments in the Colonial Illinois Country, and it appears in the Early American Studies Series from University of Pennsylvania Press.  His next project is entitled The Illinois and the Edge Effect: People, Environment, and Power in the Tallgrass Prairie Borderlands.  It is a study of the relationship between people and non-human nature in one of North America’s most distinctive ecological and social frontiers from 1200 to 1850.  It is supported by fellowships by the Illinois Center for Advanced Study and from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Other new writings are forthcoming in the Cambridge History of the American Revolution, Oxford History of the Midwest, and a volume on early St. Louis co-edited with Peter Kastor and Jay Gitlin from University of Nebraska Press. 

Bob has recently been the Mellon Faculty Fellow in Environmental Humanities at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, where he led an interdisciplinary team in programming, research, and curriculum development. Among many other honors and accolades, Bob also helps to organize the Society of Colonial Wars’ Colonial America Lecture Series at the Newberry Library in Chicago. 

Join us at 3:30pm CST or earlier for a social period (and Election - members only) at 3:15pm CST!

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Mike Ruggeri Reports

Keeping an Eye On Archaeology News & Events

New Ancient Americas Archaeological Discoveries and the Critiques

    Recently, I posted the news of an amazing discovery of ancient rock art found in the Colombian Amazon. You can see the post here: <http://michaelruggeriancientamericas.tumblr.com>.

    And as soon as I posted the story, the critiques came pouring in. The critiques were centered on these observations:
    1) It is impossible to date rock art so the 10,500 BCE date cannot be correct.
    2) The Peruvian team were not the first researchers to see this rock art; indigenous people had already seen it.
    3) The rock art site was seen by researchers decades ago.
    4) The site is not as long as the new researchers say since there are gaps in the paintings.
    5) There are much newer rock art depictions at the site which bring us right up to post-colonial times.

    New and striking archaeological discoveries need critiques to point out possible errors in the description of the discovery and even the scientific basis behind the claims made by researchers. As an example, when the first scientifically verified Pre-Clovis site was found at the site of Monte Verde in Chile, critiques from the archaeological community flooded the archaeological world. The Clovis First community would not accept that their theories of the First Americans could be challenged. Others pointed out discrepancies in the proofs made by the research team led by Tom Dillahey. It took 20 years to verify the discovery after many international teams went to visit the site over many years to try to disprove the Pre-Clovis dates at Monte Verde, and finally, the Clovis First idea was proven wrong.
 
    In the article, it states that the research team dated the paintings by finding the remains of human meals at the site which included the remains of extinct animals dating back to 10,500 BCE. So those stating you cannot date rock art did not read the article that closely.
 
    Of course indigenous peoples in the Americas saw these paintings first, just as they saw all the pyramids first, later found by modern researchers. The team did not say that indigenous people were unaware of these paintings.
    Yes, researchers saw these paintings decades ago but no research papers were published as a result. This team are the first to do so.
    Yes, there are gaps in the paintings. The researchers did not say there were not.
    Yes, there are much newer rock art paintings contained in these murals. And again, the researchers did not say there were not.
    But the new research found the remains of human consumed meals dating back to 10,500 BCE, and they pointed out that some of the paintings are so high, humans could not reach them without some device. And they found these wooden tower murals which explain how these ancient peoples reached those heights for their paintings. This is ground-breaking.

    So often modern critiques are based on a misreading of the reports and biased assumptions that needlessly criticize new findings with critiques that are simply not valid.

    The real critiques will come from the professional community when the team publishes their research. And those critiques will be made and answered, which is important in the scientific method.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Chicago’s Historic Cemeteries - Online December Lecture

~ report by Anne Wilson-Dooley ~

Our December speaker was Dr. Jane Eva Baxter, an associate professor and Chair of Anthropology at DePaul University of Chicago. Her talk combined her archaeological interests in burials and childhood.

The beliefs, practices, and material culture of caring for the deceased are cultural constructs and have varied significantly through time within and between communities/cultures. Population growth, population movement, and social history changes have had the major effects on what we can see today, know from historical study, and learn from archaeology excavations.
 
 
Dr. Baxter led us through time in Europe and the United States of caring for our deceased and keeping them in our communities as our settlements grew in populations from a few hundred residents to cities of thousands to millions. Burial locations changed from under household floors to church graveyards, to park-like cemeteries of a few hundred acres. These large burial areas were several miles removed from a city for space and sanitary reasons. 
 
The term ‘cemeteries’ from a Greek word for essentially ‘sleeping place,’ came into use. These were frequently secular and generally capitalist ventures. They were and are spaces for the dead and to be visited by the living. We see and visit them today often with their elaborate entrances, roadways, walking paths, landscaping, gardens, and frequently lake or water features. Locations were chosen where rail lines made sites accessible for moving caskets and family excursions.
 
Moving to her interests in childhood and what we could learn from local cemeteries, Dr. Baxter led us through her study of a selected sample of infant/child tombstones in two Chicago cemeteries. For background she reviewed 1800’s population growth, social history, the history of Chicago cemeteries, and mortality records.

In mortality records for the years 1867-1876, 57% of some 7700 deaths were of infants and children; 2800 were infants 0 to 12 months and 1600 were children of 1-5 years. Counting and taking notes on the tombstones for the age ranges in two Chicago cemeteries, she located only 500 infant/child stones. The rural cemeteries were Rosehill that was established in 1859 on 500 acres located 6.5 miles north of the city and Oak Woods that was laid out in 1864 on 200 acres 3.5 miles south of the city limits. Today both are still in use and completely surrounded by city.
 
 
The history of Chicago area development included two periods of mass moving of burials, first in 1835, when the city mandated the moving of neighborhood burials to a location along the lake in the now Lincoln Park area, and then the closing and removal of all of those burials by 1867. Her period of 1867-1876 was just after the burial movement.
 
Did the stones located indicate any demographic or social difference between the two cemetery locations? The ones at Oak Woods are more informative in both appearance and inscriptions. They contain more laments about the loss of the future the child represented and are more elaborate. Rosehill, probably used by more of the immigrant families, has fewer such markers. It was a time period with a great range in the city population from established families and great wealth to immigration and poverty. There are expenses to burial and tombstones. Many families may have made less of an investment in infants at a time when mortality rates were high.
 
 
All of us have many experiences with death and burial. All of us have archaeological interests in other times and cultures and all of these have their beliefs and practices associated with death and burial. Many of us work on the history of our own families and have visited, perhaps centuries, of family burials. Dr. Baxter’s talk has added depth to my understanding of burials in general and my family burials in particular. We hope it is good for your understanding also.


 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Above Ground Archaeology of Chicago’s Historic Cemeteries

 Speaker: Jane Eva Baxter, PhD
December 6, 2020 • 3:30pm • Zoom!

Dr.  Jane Eva Baxter, Associate Professor of Anthropology at DePaul University in Chicago, will be our featured speaker on Sunday, December 6.

She notes that there are over 200 cemeteries in the City of Chicago and the surrounding areas of Cook County. As she observes, we pass these cemeteries as part of our daily routines, perhaps attend a funeral or memorial event there, or visit out of historical or genealogical interest. We rarely stop to consider these sites as particular cultural institutions with their own unique history. 


This talk will begin by offering a brief overview to the history of American cemeteries as well as giving a bit of background about the origins of cemeteries in and around the city of Chicago.


Dr. Baxter will also be discussing how she approaches cemeteries as archaeological sites in her research: how the same kinds of material analyses conducted on excavated remains by other archaeologists can be applied to the above ground monuments encountered in cemeteries. The talk will conclude with a brief example of her work on the study of children’s burials in two of Chicago’s historic cemeteries (Rosehill and Oak Woods).


Dr. Baxter’s educational background certainly informs this topic.  
She received her BA from Boston University with a dual major in Archaeological Studies and Anthropology, and holds an MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. The dissertation topic for her PhD was An Archaeology of Childhood: Children and Material Culture in 19th Century America.

 
While archaeology has taken her around the globe, her research interests are centered on historical archaeology in the United States and The Bahamas, where she studies issues of childhood, gender, labor, and identity in the recent past.


Since arriving at DePaul in 2000, Dr. Baxter has written three books, edited three peer-reviewed volumes, authored over 30 peer-reviewed articles, and presented over 70 conference papers as well as writing many technical reports, book reviews, and articles for newsletters and magazines. At DePaul, she has been the recipient of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award and teaches a class on Chicago’s Historic Cemeteries.


Cemeteries have become the next big research project in Dr. Baxter’s research agenda, building on her work that combines an interest in cemeteries and her research on the archaeology of childhood.  Dr. Baxter offers classes in prehistoric and historical archaeology, material culture studies, and archaeological methods. 


“Usually there’s a lively Q and A afterwards, so we’ll make sure there’s time for that, too,” she promises.


Be sure to join us for the lecture beginning at 3:30pm.  Members who would like to spend a little informal time re-creating our traditional “social period” before the lecture are invited to arrive earlier, at 3:15pm.  

Open to the public and free of charge.
Zoom Link:
Topic: Dr. Jane Baxter
Time: Dec 6, 2020 03:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
 
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Monday, November 9, 2020

Mysteries of Noble-Wieting Revealed

 October 25 Virtual Meeting Well-Attended and Enjoyed

~ report by Anne Wilson-Dooley with Mike Ruggeri ~

Archaeologists expect to learn something new at every site they excavate. But sometimes a site has something very particular that piques our interest. Such is the case with Noble-Wieting in central Illinois. It is a large site in an upland prairie area as opposed to traditional upland edge or bottom land areas and it has ceramics from two related but distinguishable traditions in use at the same time.
 
Noble-Wieting’s presence has been known for a long time but new work is delving into what we can learn about the use of the site and the organization and interaction of the occupants of the two peoples, one of Middle Mississippian origin and one of the Upper Mississippian Langford traditions. Radio carbon dates and material culture analysis show that the site began to grow in population and complexity during the decline of Middle Mississippian Cahokia from 1200-1350AD and extended into the late 1400s with the northern woodland traditions. Collectors have thousands of projectile points from the general area.

As population indicators, 90% percent of the ceramics at the site are recognized as of the Langford, Upper Mississippian tradition. They are grit tempered following the Late Woodland pattern.  Langford sites are traditionally in the upper Illinois River Valley over through the Chicago area. The remaining 10% of ceramics are shell tempered in the Mississippian tradition and very suggestive of, or directly related to, Cahokia Mississippian, the large metropolis on the Mississippi river bottom across from the St. Louis area. It is believed that most of the pottery vessels were made at Noble-Wieting.

Recent work at the site has been conducted by our speaker, Dr. Logan Miller, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. He led field schools there in 2017-2019; unfortunately, no work was done last summer due to the corona virus nor expected for this coming summer. However, analysis is ongoing.

Aerial photographs are guiding work at the site. [See lower left image in the screen shot.] A substantial amount is known about the site because of our recent advances in aerial photo analysis. Miller has others working with him on this aspect of site analysis.

 

The site plan has a central open ‘plaza’ area with many buildings around it. There is the remains of a mound in the center of the plaza, and excavation in the past located burial remains. There are not any plans for further work in the mound. There is a line of post molds in the plaza that suggest a ‘fence’ of some type; there are not any indications in or around the site of defensive palisade construction.
 
Excavating structures is a recent past and future focus of the work. The construction methods, floor artifacts, and subsequent fill layers develop our understanding of the people, their social organization, and lifeways, particularly the co-existence and cultural blending of two peoples.
 
The excavated structures are set in deep pits with deep wall trenches dug into the floor of the pit. They are of a size for a family group. It is estimated that a structure might last 5 years and then there is some rebuilding. Knowledge of this will help with population estimates for the site over time. The walls seem to have been erected as individual segments set into the trenches. It is very interesting that whole or partial ax/celt has been found in the plaza-facing wall trenches of the structures; the first assumption is that they were intentionally placed there – interesting.
 
Over 50,000 material items were retrieved during excavation. Much of it is broken pottery and debris from stone tool production. Aspects of the ceramics have already been covered.  The stone tools and associated chipping debris show that they are using chert from glacial till near the site. None of the tools are of chert types from known other locations.
 
Other especially notable items located were a copper awl and tubular copper beads, the copper being from Michigan; some polished bone pieces probably associated with a game; and a bone awl.
 
In the faunal remains it is very notable that elk is the predominant large animal being consumed. No bison remains have been identified. The floral remains contain the traditional cultivated corn, beans, and squash – then locally collected items.

Dr. Miller’s slides and presentation kept our audience engaged and attentive.  CAS appreciates his careful explanation about uncovering the ongoing mysteries of our earliest Illinois settlers.

 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Exploring the 14th Century Upper Mississippian Village of Noble-Wieting

 

Speaker: Logan Miller, PhD

ZOOM
October 25, 2020


Dr. Logan Miller, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, is our speaker on October 25, originally scheduled for last March before all programs were canceled. He is an anthropological archaeologist with research interests in lithic
analysis and the archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands.

His talk will cover the past three summers of his archaeological excavation at Noble-Wieting to provide a glimpse into life at this Native American village in central Illinois during the 1300s AD.

During the Mississippian period (1000-1400 AD) the largest prehistoric North American city, Cahokia, existed right here in Illinois. The rise and fall of Cahokia reverberated throughout eastern North America, resulting in many population movements and new ways of life in the region.

During the Mississippian period (1000-1400 AD) the largest prehistoric North American city, Cahokia, existed right here in Illinois. The rise and fall of Cahokia reverberated throughout eastern North America, resulting in many population movements and new ways of life in the region.

Archaeologists refer to the new lifestyles in northern Illinois at this time as the Langford tradition. While most major Langford sites occur along the upper Illinois River and its tributaries, one site that does not fit the pattern is the village of Noble-Wieting in McLean County.

Since the early 1900s archaeologists have puzzled over the site’s anomalous geographic position. Additionally, the site not only includes Langford artifacts but those related to Cahokia or other Mississippian villages to the south and west. Cahokia was largely abandoned by about 1300 AD, providing a potential piece of the explanation for why people were in this new spot on the landscape.

The fall of Cahokia could have “pulled” some people from other Langford villages up north and “pushed” some Cahokia affiliated inhabitants to the area from the south.

As in any community, the inhabitants of Noble-Wieting shared certain similarities, as well as important differences, with their fellow villagers. Luckily for archaeologists, many of these social dynamics were likely reflected in the houses and possessions of the inhabitants of Noble-Wieting.

This presentation will provide a comparison of the remains of houses, and their associated artifacts, from different areas of the village to illustrate what we know about life at this unique and important site.

The evidence points to inhabitants making new traditions at Noble-Wieting representing an example of ethnogenesis, a new cultural entity emerging from the interaction of two or more disparate groups.

Dr. Logan Miller is an anthropological archaeologist with research interests in stone tools in particular and the archaeology of the pre-contact Midwest in general. He has conducted fieldwork and directed field schools in Illinois and Ohio. His research covers a large extent of Midwestern history from 13,000 year old Clovis stone tools to 2,000 year old Hopewell mound builders to the study of discarded cigarette butts on the Illinois State University/ISU (supposedly) non-smoking campus.

Dr. Miller reports that in class, he talks about how we know aliens did not build pyramids, why it is offensive to suggest they did, and other ways that archaeology applies to the world today.

He “grew up in NW Ohio but I don’t have a story about wanting to be an archaeologist from a young age. My mom always says that my brother was the one digging holes in the backyard. When it came time to pick a major/career, I was drawn to the adventure of archaeology (even in the Midwest) and luckily everything worked out.”

Dr. Miller holds a BA in Anthropology from Wright State University. His MA and PhD in Anthropology were earned at Ohio State University. Since 2015, he has been an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at ISU.

Members and the public are invited to join us for a social period beginning at 3:15pm and the talk at 3:30pm.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tribute to Retiring Spirits of CAS

Members and Friends invited to October 11 3:00PM Zoom Event 

Topic: Thank you to the Steltons
Time: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 03:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
 
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This article appeared in the September, 2020 issue of our newsletter, CODEX:

Our irreplaceable Bob Stelton has retired from a very long period of dedicated service to this organization.  Over many decades, with his wife, Deb, he kept the CAS alive, and enhanced the educational opportunities  of several generations of archaeology enthusiasts.  We salute them both, and thank them heartily – and expect to “see” them on our Zooms!
Larry Conrad offers this remembrance.

Bob and Deb Stelton Saluted

an appreciation by Lawrence Conrad, retired Assoc Prof of Anthropology Western Illinois U




Bob and his wife and helpmate Deb have been major contributors to Illinois archaeology since they provided volunteer assistance at the Charles W. Cooper site in 1971. At that time, Tom Emerson and I were lamenting the impending strip mining of the huge, National Register, Middle Mississippian Orendorf site in Fulton County and despairing of doing anything about it. It was Bob who suggested bringing students from the Chicago area and at least doing something. He did, and this was the origin of the Upper Mississippi Valley Archaeological Research Foundation (UMVARF).  In addition to recruiting 20 high school students, Bob and Deb assisted in field supervision and acted as chaperones and counselors. Bob drove the bus and Deb oversaw the kitchen.
 
Based on experience gained during the 1972 season, Bob, Tom (who recently retired as the first Illinois State Archaeologist) and I organized UMVARF.  Bob was the founding Secretary/Treasurer and a board member and worked with an attorney friend to secure our tax-exempt status. UMVARF benefitted greatly from the Steltons’ counsel that came from their perspectives as experienced teachers with formal field and classroom training. 

The Orendorf rescue excavation was an unparalleled achievement, clearing  and mapping over 15 acres of dense habitation remains, and all or part of over 250 structures and almost 2500 pit features in addition to thousands of feet of stockade. The Illinois State Archaeological Survey recently dedicated their 571-page report on a portion of these excavations to Bob, and IAS awarded UMVARF, including Bob, the 2019 Charles J. Bareis Distinguished Service Award for the Orendorf Project.

Bob served on the board of directors of the CAS several times and as VP (1976-77) and President (1978-79). In 1994, he became Secretary and founded and edited the CAS newsletter. He has served in both capacities until the present. He also served a term on the IAAA board (1979-80). Few would dispute that Deb saved the CAS when she took over the presidency of a disheartened organization in serious disarray in the mid-1980s. In 2004, Bob and Deb were awarded the Leonard W. Blake Distinguished Amateur Award by the IAS for their many and sustained contributions to Illinois archaeology. 
--Larry Conrad



Sunday, September 6, 2020

Identifying Prehistoric Interaction on Rapa Nui (Easter Island): Modeling the Development of Social Complexity in Extreme Isolation


Speaker: Dale F. Simpson Jr., PhD
September 27, 2020 • 3:30pm • Zoom!




Dr. Dale F. Simpson Jr. is Adjunct Instructor of Anthropology at the College of DuPage (11th year) and the director of the Rapa Nui Geochemical Project. He has recently returned after an unexpectedly lengthened visit to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), due to current conditions. Speaking to its isolation will be spot-on for those of us in lockdown here. He writes:

Anthropological archaeologists have been investigating ancient human interaction for decades as interaction studies highlight how humans have communicated for 200,000 years at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. With the development of provenance studies and improved geochemical sourcing techniques, researchers can better document the movement of raw materials and formed artifacts from sources to habitation and ceremonial sites to understand economic, ideological, and sociopolitical interaction.

Rapa Nui has been the subject of various scientific investigations. Much of this work has been dedicated to moai (statues) and ahu (platforms) and how these megalithic features venerated the island’s chiefly ancestors and supported sociopolitical organization, ideological communication, economic (re)distribution, and elite management over the island’s ancient political economy. However, archaeological investigation of the island’s many basalt sources and artifacts, including their geological provenance and geochemistry, has been minimal. This lack of comprehensive geochemistry for basalt sources and artifacts has restricted the potential of ancient interaction studies on Rapa Nui.


To fill this gap in the archaeological literature, the “Rapa Nui Geochemical Project (RNGP)” was established in 2013. Over six years, the RNGP collaborated with more than 30 individuals from 20 institutions from around the globe to conduct field archaeology, geoarchaeological and material culture documentation, geochemical analyses, radiometric dating, artistic site reconstructions, and educational outreach. This presentation highlights the last seven years of research, as well as Dr. Simpson’s 20 years investigating and living on Rapa Nui.


Join us for this fascinating talk and get the insider’s story from the main researcher!

 
 
 

Zoom session for members starts at 3:15PM.  Lecture begins at 3:30PM.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Exploring the 14th Century Upper Mississippian Village of Noble-Wieting

RESCHEDULED! OCTOBER 25 • ZOOM • 3:30PM

Our meeting was cancelled.
The Evanston Library has cancelled all of their events as of March, 2020.


Speaker: Logan Miller, PhD
March 29, 2020

Dr. Logan Miller, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, is our speaker on March 29. He is an anthropological archaeologist with research interests in lithic
analysis and the archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands.

His talk will cover the past three summers of his archaeological excavation at Noble-Wieting to provide a glimpse into life at this Native American village in central Illinois during the 1300s AD.

During the Mississippian period (1000-1400 AD) the largest prehistoric North American city, Cahokia, existed right here in Illinois. The rise and fall of Cahokia reverberated throughout eastern North America, resulting in many population movements and new ways of life in the region.

Archaeologists refer to the new lifestyles in northern Illinois at this time as the Langford tradition. While most major Langford sites occur along the upper Illinois River and its tributaries, one site that does not fit the pattern is the village of Noble-Wieting in McLean County.

Since the early 1900s archaeologists have puzzled over the site’s anomalous geographic position. Additionally, the site not only includes Langford artifacts but those related to Cahokia or other Mississippian villages to the south and west. Cahokia was largely abandoned by about 1300 AD, providing a potential piece of the explanation for why people were in this new spot on the landscape.

The fall of Cahokia could have “pulled” some people from other Langford villages up north and “pushed” some Cahokia affiliated inhabitants to the area from the south.

As in any community, the inhabitants of Noble-Wieting shared certain similarities, as well as important differences, with their fellow villagers. Luckily for archaeologists, many of these social dynamics were likely
reflected in the houses and possessions of the inhabitants of Noble-Wieting.

This presentation will provide a comparison of the remains of houses, and their associated artifacts, from different areas of the village to illustrate what we know about life at this unique and important site.

The evidence points to inhabitants making new traditions at Noble-Wieting representing an example of ethnogenesis, a new cultural entity emerging from the interaction of two or more disparate groups.

Dr. Logan Miller is an anthropological archaeologist with research interests in stone tools in particular and the archaeology of the pre-contact Midwest in general. He has conducted fieldwork and directed field schools in Illinois and Ohio. His research covers a large extent of Midwestern history from 13,000 year old Clovis stone tools to 2,000 year old Hopewell mound builders to the study of discarded cigarette butts on the Illinois State University/ISU (supposedly)
non-smoking campus.

Dr. Miller reports that in class, he talks about how we know aliens did not build pyramids, why it is offensive to suggest they did, and other ways that archaeology applies to the world today.

He “grew up in NW Ohio but I don’t have a story about wanting to be an archaeologist from a young age. My mom always says that my brother was the one digging holes in the backyard. When it came time to pick a major/career, I was drawn to the adventure of archaeology (even in the Midwest) and luckily everything worked out.”

Dr. Miller holds a BA in Anthropology from Wright State University. His MA and PhD in Anthropology were earned at Ohio State University. Since 2015, he has been an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at ISU.

Members and the public are invited to join us for a social period beginning at 3:00pm and the talk at 3:30pm.



The Palimpsest

from Bob Stelton

Mule Safari to El Mirador

The MexiMayan adventure began in Carmelita, Guatemala in the northern Petén rainforest. Carmelita is at the end of the road. Traveling beyond to El Mirador would involve horses, mules, and walking. Our mules carried everything including water.

Assembling horses and mules was trick in itself. The good folk of Carmelita didn’t believe we were really coming, and we were short of mules, horses, and saddles.

Our drive to Carmelita took longer than planned and we were running short of daylight.

In time the mules and horses were saddled, and we were off into the jungle. Nightfall did overtake the expedition before first camp stop as we stumbled along chicle hunters’ trails with only moonlight serving as a beacon.

Our first stop was a chicleros camp. Chicle–still collected by chicleros by their slashing sapodilla trees and collecting the latex–once was the basic ingredient in chewing gum.

An uncomfortable bareback mule ride, or a jungle hike, battling mosquitoes, cursing ticks, and questioning personal sanity can test the strength and determination of the most intrepid adventurer but a short rest and dinner prepared by trail cooks recharged all batteries and we enjoyed a wonderful night roughing it!

A few chores before breaking camp, some dishes to wash, packing fodder for the mules on the trail, and we’re off into the jungle. Next camp — El Mirador.

Then a short jungle hike from Danta and a 260-foot climb to its top for an unparalled and awesome view of the jungle complete with sightings of distant Maya centers. Miles of green surrounded the pyramid and countless Maya structures dotted the arboreal sea.

El Mirador offered a few amenities we were denied on the trail: benches and a rough table for dining as well as an aguada with a catwalk into the pond to get the traveler closer to the algae like water.

Another serving of jungle cuisine before our discovery of many shocking any looters’ pits: the priceless heritage of a culture torn into as rodents might destroy a garbage dump.

Then Carmelita and civilization, a pleasant drive through Tikal, and we’re back at Lago Petén Itza, our mule safari to El Mirador completed.

We invite you to check out the full narrated story of our travel adventure from this timeless 1990 movie posted in 2008 to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLgV_ojfvWoiDqU44Ysvh3A