Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Archaeological Identification of Prehistoric Warfare

Speaker of the Month: Marisa Fontana, PhD
Sunday, January 26 • 3:00pm
Meeting Monthly at Evanston Library

Dr. Marisa D. Fontana, North Central College Half-time Associate Professor of Anthropology, enlightens us in the new year on January 26 beginning at 3:30pm at the Evanston Public Library.
Her talk on The Archaeological Identification of Prehistoric Warfare will cover the various types of group violence found in prehistory and the evidence archaeologists use to identify such behaviors in the archaeological record, such as skeletal remains, weapons trauma, intentionally burned sites, and fortifications.

While human remains provide convincing direct evidence for warfare, both past and present, research involving this type of physical evidence is especially controversial for many Native American communities. Often the act of excavating human remains is viewed by indigenous societies as the disturbance and destruction of ancestral graves – a violation of their religious beliefs.  Archaeologists who work with Native American cultures must be sensitive to this reaction and find different evidence to answer their research questions about warfare that do not infringe upon the beliefs of other societies.  This talk will discuss how some of the alternative lines of evidence can be used to inform on warfare related events.

Dr. Fontana is an archaeological anthropologist specializing in indigenous warfare of the precontact period. She has excavated all over the United States, most extensively in the southeastern U.S. Her current research project utilizes laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, which involves shooting lasers at samples of Native American pottery to aid in answering questions about prehistoric trade and migration among indigenous groups in central Alabama.  She earned her MA and PhD (Magna Cum Laude) in Anthropology, at University of Illinois at Chicago/UIC.

Meetings are open to the public and free of charge.
Social period starts at 3:00pm and the talk at 3:30pm.  Join us.
Evanston Public Library  • 1703 Orrington, Evanston
All CAS meetings are free and open to the public.
www.ChicagoArchaeologicalSociety.com

Modern Technologies Used on Illinois Site

Joe Wheeler describes Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie deep exploration

~ report by Bob Stelton ~

Modern Archaeological Technologies 

It would seem that the CAS December guest speaker is a member of a magician’s cult that can conjure up not only visions of the past but the past itself! Such magic was brought to the attention of holiday revelers at the annual holiday party of the Chicago Archaeological Society on Sunday December 8, 2019.

The CAS speaker, Joseph H. Wheeler III, a retired Marine Corps Colonel, shared with a holiday gathering the mystery of state-of-the-art technology presently enhancing the new archaeological  technologies available to the archaeological discipline. Mr. Wheeler’s presentation, Traces on the Land: Using Advanced Technologies to Understand the Prairie Past, fulfilled the program.
Joe Wheeler reminds his audience that no magic is employed.  He employs good science. His talk on traces on the land works with GIS,  remote sensing, geophysical prospection, and other modern technologies at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Wilmington, Illinois which is open to the public.
Within Midewin are rich human resources and more including Monarch Butterflies, bison and plant ecology.

Fun or Hoax?

LiDAR (Ground Penetrating Radar) has been a near-magical tool for the archaeologist and note that it is as well an expensive one. However, a group of volunteers at Midewin had some fun with the tool
that exposed its versatility when Midewin volunteers took all the available pre-Arsenal imagery and historic land ownership maps showing previous farm structure locations and transferred that information to digital map softer (GIS). The results were then superimposed on LIDAR-derived bare earth models to locate patterned disturbances suggesting extant farmstead features!  (see December Codex).                  

The USDA Forest Service has an archaeological program open to volunteers “Passport in Time” that has attracted approximately 7,000 volunteers.

Join the Board at Member Meeting/Annual Election at 3:30pm January 26

The By-laws of the Chicago Archaeological Society specify that the annual election of officers and one third of the Board of Directors take place during the regular January meeting.

A brief Member meeting will be held for this purpose just before our 3:30 lecture begins on January 26. Come early for the usual social half hour open to the public and members.  All paid-up members are invited to participate in voting.

The CAS Board of Directors consists of (at least) twelve members and is divided into three groups.  Each group stands for re-election every third year. Tasks confronting the Directors are essentially policy decisions.

Terms expiring in 2019 include President, Vice President and Secretary.  Last year, seven members were elected to serve through 2023; other terms expire in 2021 and 2022. Officers are all up for election/re-election every year.

The present CAS leadership will prepare an Officer and Director Ballot for member approval. The slate may contain Directors whose term has expired but are interested in continuing their service. 
If you are interested in joining the Board and helping to assure the success of CAS, please volunteer!  (Time commitment includes a Board of Directors meeting to be held at 2:00pm, before the February 23 lecture.)

Please do contact our President, Ray Young, to get on the ballot before the January 26 meeting, or attend and nominate yourself at the meeting.
https://www.chicagoarchaeologicalsociety.com/p/contac-us.html

We hope to hear from you and see you on January 26 starting with the 3:00pm social period.

Proposed
Officers and Board 2020


President Raymond Young, 2020
Vice President Lucy Kennedy, 2020
Secretary & Newsletter Editor
Robert Stelton, 2020
Treasurer Michael Ruggeri, 2020
Director Judith Greene, 2023
Director Peter Greene, 2023
Director Jeanne Jesernik, 2023
Director Doreen Stelton, 2023
Director Ann Wilson-Dooley, 2023
Director Bryna Gamson, 2023
Director Sally Campbell, 2021
Director Edith Castro-Young, 2021
Director David Zucker, 2021
Director Lynn Miller, 2022
Director Jeanne Zasadil, 2022
Director Mary Ann Bloom, 2022
Director_________________
Director_________________  & perhaps ..... you?

Effective January 31, 2020



Effective January 31, 2020

The Palimpsest

from Bob Stelton

CAS/Saxons & Mississippians

Placement of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie tenants on a historical timeline extends from pre-Columbian Amerindians to the present – more than 1600 years. Dealing with so broad a time span one can expect many surprises and many discoveries and more disappointments.

Several seasons working at the Orendorf Site salvage dig encouraged me to escort a group of my students to the Mucking Anglo-Saxon UK salvage site.

Both sites fell short on Indiana Jones and long on memories. Assigned to excavate a Saxon grave, I uncovered an empty grave and disappointment.

Joe Wheeler’s description of thermal imaging and applying the technology would have improved usage of the time available for Mucking volunteers.  At a second burial, I found body stains and a shield boss.

Adventuring with the Chicago Archaeological Society

Special thanks to Edith Young who arranged for a joyous holiday buffet. And thanks to Lucy Kennedy and Joe Wheeler.  Come back soon Joe.

For a scintillating afternoon, join the Chicago Archaeological Society as it explores human travels across the globe. There’s no admission charge: just open your mind at ChicagoArchaeologicalSociety.com.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Traces on the Land: Using Advanced Technologies to Understand the Prairie Past

Speaker: Joseph H. Wheeler III - December 8, 2019

Retired Marine Corps Colonel and archaeologist Joseph H. Wheeler III will present at the Evanston Public Library at our last meeting of 2019, at 3:30pm on December 8 (following the Members Holiday Party at 2:00pm).

His talk on Traces on the Land... will look at work with remote sensing, geophysical prospection, GIS, and other modern technologies at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois.

As Wheeler points out, we often think of such technologies as being employed at archaeological sites of monumental architecture in faraway places, but they are equally important, and accessible, for even local archaeological investigations in the Chicago region.

The USDA Forest Service and Midewin are committed to good science, responsible stewardship of cultural resources, and to making that science and stewardship available to the public through student and adult volunteer opportunities.

LiDAR, Ground Penetrating Radar, resistivity, magnetometer, georeferencing of historic imagery and maps, thermal imaging, isotopic analysis have become the tools of the trade even in Will County, Illinois.

Some noteworthy (and fun) examples include when Midewin volunteers took all the available pre-Arsenal imagery and historic land ownership maps showing previous farm structure locations, and transferred that information to digital map software (GIS). The results were then superimposed on LiDAR-derived bare earth models to locate patterned disturbances suggesting extant farmstead features. (See page 3 graphic.) Wheeler and associates continue to follow up the results in the field through ground-truthing the potential sites.

Pre-Contact Huber Phase Site
The University of Notre Dame’s multi-year investigations at a late (c. 1600) Pre-Contact Huber Phase Site on Midewin have yielded significant results in understanding that poorly known period in late pre-history. Throughout, Notre Dame has incorporated the most current methods of remote sensing, geophysical techniques, and geochemistry. This project has also made use of approximately 7,000 volunteer hours through the Forest Service “Passport in Time” program, allowing people from around the country to participate in field work on their public land.

All of this work serves to better understand past land use and environment and in so doing, to guide a more informed approach to prairie restoration and stewardship of cultural resources.

Our speaker, Joseph H. (Joe) Wheeler III grew up in suburban Cicero, and graduated Loyola University of Chicago. He then served as an Intelligence Officer in the US Marine Corps for over 28 years. Throughout that time, he reports, “I maintained a keen interest in archaeology, participating in avocational archaeology groups whenever I was stationed in the US, and assisting local and military base archaeologists. Through my profession, I became intimately familiar with various remote sensing and imaging technologies.”

After retiring from the Marine Corps as a Colonel in 2009, Wheeler attended graduate school, studying Anthropology at the University of Wyoming on the Post 9-11 GI Bill. In 2011, he joined the US Forest Service as a field archaeologist, working throughout the American West and Southwest.

In 2013, he returned to Illinois for the first time in 34 years to serve as the Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, USDA, Forest Service, in Wilmington, Illinois on the grounds of the old Joliet Arsenal which is being restored to tall grass prairie. https://www.fs.usda.gov/midewin

We look forward to his talk on December 8. Holiday Party first!

Palimpsest Notes - from Bob Stelton


Archaeology Ain’t What It Used To Be
Archaeology used to be an arduous adventure. Alfred Maudsley’s adventuring carried him across the globe and into the jungles of the Yucatan. Brilliant insight brought him into the depths of the Yucatecan jungle with state-of-the-art cameras that would provide clear photos of structures and panels of Maya hieroglyphs that would be deciphered by future generations of scholars.
John Lloyd Stephens cast aside a career before the bar.  In 1836, he met Frederick Catherwood and the two planned their epic exploration of Central America. They recorded the actual adventures in Incidents of Travels in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (1841).  With his paints and pencils, Catherwood added special life to that remarkable achievement.

WWII and the end of an era
Scientific archaeology’s nativity was accompanied by its expansion into the present discipline. If the aspirant expects to achieve a career in the discipline a Ph.D. is now a requisite.
World War II interrupted archaeology’s progress but proffered the miracle of Carbon-14 dating and there were other gifts.  Thermoluminescence along with a raft of new technologies followed by the miracle of LiDAR with its ability to penetrate deep jungles. The uses of DNA analysis on bones has dramatically changed archaeology. Digging has become quite meticulous at some sites where the questions being asked are most significant.  At Old Vero Man site, Florida, archaeologists are checking the dirt for ancient flora and fauna DNA (including human).
Meanwhile, Mexico, along with others, has published LiDAR images of large tracts of land online. Takeshi Inomata, an archaeologist, has discovered 27 Maya sites through examination of these images online, as reported by The New York Times.
 Recent adventures have been in the lab and not in the steamy jungle of the Petén.  Adventure now can be at home with the computer!


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Merry Holidays & Meeting

The December 8 meeting is also the date of the CAS Holiday Party, beginning at 2:00pm. Member meeting will be held during this time, with guest speaker at usual 3:30pm start time. This year Holiday Tacos are our feature. The Holiday Taco Party is free for members, but we must know how many guests we will serve.

Please RSVP to debandbob@meximayan.com before December 6.

RIP Gloria Williams

Sept 29, 1927- October 16, 2019

 Longtime member Gloria Williams passed away after a period of attempted recovery from a stroke. Gloria was an active and consistent member contributing recommendations for speakers and archaeology books for door prizes over many years. She traveled to many important sites worldwide and was an avid reader. We will miss her front row presence.

Hopewellian Mound Mysteries Uncovered


Karen Atwell Addresses Illinois Burial Mound
~ report by Michael Ruggeri ~

The Hopewell Interaction Sphere consisted of a great number of culturally related sites stretching from Ontario to Florida, the Appalachians to Missouri. The Hopewell Interaction Sphere lasted from 100 BCE-500 during the Middle Woodland period. Archaeologist Karen Atwell presented us with a very thorough and complete report on the Naples-Russell Hopewell mound complex in Pike County, Illinois in her invited lecture to the CAS on October 27.
She revealed that there are 8 mounds within the complex in the group, with the largest measuring 150 feet long, 90 feet wide, 30 feet tall. 
The largest mound is a platform style construction with ramps. It was built over time in a multi-village effort by hundreds of laborers starting at 100 BCE. The mound constructions at this site were built over a 200 year span.
Among the abundant artifacts found in burials in the mound group: an eagle pipe, a raven headed pipe and conch shells.  Black bear and grey wolf decorated canines were found in a child burial.
The main mound burial was of a male, Middle Woodland era, with a bear canine necklace, feathered staff, beads, ankle and wrist bracelets, adzes, antlers, and a Hopewell style vessel.
Other artifacts uncovered within the mounds: copper tools, mica, decorated bi-valves, a toad pipe, 4 copper celts, flintknapping tools, hammer stones, and materials from the archaic era.
The flooring for the burial complex included limestone paving, and white and yellow clay.
Many of the artifacts came from an extensive trade network stretching far to the north and south.
Karen Atwell was charged with finding out the extent of looting at the site over time and to re-construct the architecture, and to develop a complete layout of the site over time.
The Naples Mound Group is one of the largest Hopewell related sites in the Hopewell Interaction Sphere. Karen and her colleagues have worked for years at the Mound group and have found an extensive amount of trade goods and luxury items in the burials at the site. The largest mound, The Naples Mound 8, contained several burials laid out in a wide fashion within the mound.
Her talk gave us an insight into the importance of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere here in Illinois, and the importance of understanding more about this culturally rich Pre-Columbian society.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Excavations of a Hopewellian Burial Mound in Pike County

Speaker: Karen Atwell

Ms. Karen Atwell, owner of Farmland Archaeological Services, will present observations on the excavations of a Hopewellian burial mound on Sunday, October 27, beginning at our usual start time of 3:00pm at the Evanston Public Library meeting room.

Ms. Atwell’s focus will be on the Naples-Russell Mound 8 (NRM 8), an early Hopewellian burial mound located along the western bluffline of the Illinois River valley in northern Pike County.  In 1990, Center for American Archaeology excavations at the mound were conducted to determine the damage done by decades of curious individuals excavating into the mound, tree clearing, and agriculture in order to provide structural information to reconstruct the mound to its original size and shape.

Hopewellian mounds were first constructed in northern Pike County during the early Mound House phase (ca. 50 B.C.-A.D. 100). The early Mound House phase was an era of far-reaching and diverse interregional exchange in exotic artifacts and raw materials associated with Hopewellian mortuary ritual – an exchange pattern that may largely predate the advent of village-based bluff-top mound cemeteries of the later Mound House phase (ca. A.D. 100-350).

The structure of NRM 8 revealed that the mound was built as a sequence of events that were not located around a single burial feature which is more common to Hopewellian mounds.

Co-author of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey research volume Excavations at Blue Island and Naples-Russell Mounds and Related Hopewellian Sites in the Lower Illinois Valley (Farnsworth and Atwell 2015), Ms. Atwell will present the findings of the excavations  through pictures of the mound structure and the artifacts that were recovered.

Our speaker, Karen Atwell, grew up on a farm in rural Geneseo, Illinois near three archaeological
sites. These nurtured an interest in archaeology that has continued for over 40 years.  While in high school, she was introduced to archaeology by an IAAA member, and through that contact met legendary Northwestern University archaeologist Dr. Stuart Struever. That led to participation in an archaeological field school at Kampsville, Illinois. Following graduation from Northwestern, she worked for the Center for American Archeology as field director for the excavation of the Kuhlman Mound Group (necessary for the construction of Interstate 72), and as field director for Cultural Resource Management (CRM) projects specializing in mortuary projects.

She received her Masters degree from Arizona State in Archaeology with an emphasis on mortuary studies. Archeological projects in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico followed.

In 1989, Mr. Ken Farnsworth, director of the Center for American Archeology Contract Program, started the project at Naples-Russell Mound 8 in the Pike County Conservation Area. Ms. Atwell returned to Illinois to run this project and remained working for the Center for American Archeology following that project for eleven years.

In 2009, she founded her own Cultural Resource Management company, Farmland Archaeological Services. (309-507-1330).