Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Vagabonding through ancient England with Fred Christensen

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE RIVER THAMES

Mr. Fred Christensen brings to our October 28th meeting special insights acquired and nurtured by a military sojourn. He retired after 28 years in the US Army Re-serves (including 5 years of active duty) as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1997, and pursued a second career in academe as a history teacher, University of Kentucky and other teaching assignments as well as numerous adult educational activities.


Mr. Christensen's approach to his subject is that of a scintillating travel/archaeological journey into the past.

England's heartland river is exceptionally rich in archaeological finds. From its source in the Cotswold past gravel beds revealing artifacts of all eras, through much-excavated Lon-don, to sites like Swanscombe near the estuary, the Thames has yielded evidence of half a million years of human activity.

Fred Christensen has hiked the full length of the Thames, filming it for class presentations, and will dis-cuss its archaeological heritage in this talk. He will emphasize the area around Dorchester, south of Oxford, with artifacts and earthworks from every era of prehistory. Paleolithic hand axes, neoithic henges, Celtic hillforts and Roman towns will all make their appearances in this presentation.

The CAS will meet at 3:00 pm at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington. admission is free and open to the public.



Can you dig this?

The huge Gast Farm is the result of the leveling of mounds


Dr. William Green, Director of the Logan Museum European Paleolithic Collection on the Beloit College campus in Wisconsin, was the CAS September 2018 guest speaker. CAS Summer Safaris have twice visited Beloit College to explore its on-campus Indian Mounds.

In his presentation Dr. Green opened a new archaeological chapter. It was an awesome leap from the French Paleolithic to the Amerindian Woodland. We were able to learn from him this time, not as an expert on paleolithic French artifacts, but as an archaeological investigator at the Gast Farm site in eastern Iowa.

The huge Gast Farm site is the result of the leveling of mounds in preparation for farming by
Dan Gast. Mr. Gast was astonished to discover that a magnificent collection of copper axes,
pieces of mica and platform pipes were found where a large mound had been leveled. It was
“a Howard Carter moment”, Bill explained. Dan Gast invited the archaeologists onto his property
and has been supportive for all investigations since. He has tried to remember where other smaller mounds existed.

Bill Green has been leading investigations at the site for 28 years using traditional methods
along with just about every new technique that has become available. Early into the investigation,
Bill took photographs from a low flying plane in his pursuit of a reconstruction of what the
site may have looked like. These photos were taken at an oblique angle that had to be mathematically
translated into an accurate perpendicular picture.

For a sampling aerial experience the reader is invited to link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrVJzX9dXB0\

Besides careful accurate excavations, seed sampling, and ceramic sherd collecting, magnetic
gradient, laser and thermal techniques have been extensively employed. It was exciting to see
the use of new devices unpeeling, one layer at a time, a clear picture of, not one, but two cultures!

Under a large mound the discovery ritual objects suggested Ritual objects or materials for
producing ritual objects or were imported from long distances. They probably were for more
important burials. Plant cultivation of many crops were discovered.

Habitation was in large structures not family oriented houses. changes Persons would have
lived in larger structures. Ceramics were quite intricate.

Another site in the area was a Late Woodland village site with a different arrangement around a plaza and a different diet. Darts were produced perhaps for bow and arrow deer hunting. Everything was more localized suggesting a subsistence culture with families in individual houses. Ceramics were
plainer.

Thank you Dr. William Green for a scintillating and memorable afternoon. All meetings and
activities are free and open to the public.

By Deb Stelton

The Search for a lost relative

What ever happened to the “Missing Link?”


Travel to England has been a popular destination for many reasons. London with its glittering nightlife and its museums attracts large audiences…. enough to keep a visitor busy for weeks on end. Beyond London idyllic sites like the Cotswolds continue to draw hordes of visitors.

As illustrated by Fred Christensen the traveler is never far from ancient England and English archaeology.

But do you know the story of Her majesty’s hoax? The Nineteenth and early twentieth witnessed
a series of remarkable hominid fossil discoveries: Neanderthals, Java and Peking Man and others. Adherents of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species 1871 believed that the proof human evolution had become fact.

There was, however, a problem. Final proof required a bridge, a missing link, if you will, to complete the evidentiary chain of savage beast to CroMagnon.

Help was on its way. In 1912 an amateur archaeologist, Charles Dawson, announced his discovery of fossil remains of a human skull, jaw & teeth. Dawson dubbed his discovery “Piltdown Man “and England, momentarily basked in the honor of being home of the oldest hominid and possessing
the fossils of the one and only “Missing Link.”

The hoax of Piltdown Man, for a fake it was, wasn’t disclosed until 1953 fifteen years after the Death of Dawson. As for the malefactor? That name remains lost in time…as does the Missing Link.
For more about this tale lies and deception watch the Nova documentary The Boldest Hoax.

The hoax of Piltdown Man, for a fake it was, wasn’t disclosed until 1953 fifteen years after the Death of Dawson. As for the malefactor? That name remains lost in time…as does the Missing Link. For more about this tale lies and deception watch the Nova documentary The Boldest Hoax.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Summer Safaris 2018

Summer Safaris
What did we do last summer?

Exploring Milwaukee with the CAS

The CAS exploration of the Maya world was, via the CAS Summer Safari to the Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed Exhibition presented at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

The spectacular, albeit temporary exhibition, is the largest Maya exhibition ever displayed in the United States. The CAS Summer Safari to Milwaukee was scheduled earlier than usual for safaris because the exhibition was scheduled to close on May 28, 2018.

The exhibition was a combination of hundreds of authentic artifacts, immersive environments, multimedia, and handson activities. The exhibit was designed to give visitors a glimpse at a cross-section of Maya life. From divine kings who ruled powerful cities to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of society, Maya features spectacular examples of ancient artistry and objects.

Additionally visitors had a close look at the scientific work being carried out at key Maya sites to understand exactly how we know what we know of this once-hidden culture.

The content of the exhibition highlighted hundreds of authentic artifacts. There was hands-on activities that dug into Maya life…such as building corbelled arches exploring tombs, and more.

Beyond the hands-on features was candy for the eyes…replicas of carved monuments, or stelae that were erected in the great plazas of Maya cities, and a recreation of the elaborate royal tomb of the Great Scrolled Skull in Santa Rita Corozal, a Maya site in Belize.

But who were the Maya? An examination of the concepts of ritual and human sacrifice that allowed the Maya to transcend the earthly world and speak with the gods of the underworld helped to penetrate the mind of the Maya.

And there was more! CAS member, Mike Ruggeri, our docent ,made an exploratory pre-Safari visit. His insights helped to organize a mindset of the vast collection.
Try this link for a quick video view of the exposition.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRXLM1CQay0

Summer Safaris

Dinner at C-viche a Milwaukee Peruvian Restaurant [Sorry, no Mayan restaurants in Milwaukee] completed a CAS virtual adventure tour into the land of the Mayas.

A mostly fusion menu of C-viche featured: Classic Ceviche, marinated fish with red onion, peppers, garlic and ginger, served over sweet potato, Peruvian corn and cancha (Peruvian corn nuts), Tlacoyos, fresh masa cakes topped with garbanzo beans, wilted spinach, roasted red pepper tomato sauce and tomatillo sauce and grilled chicken.

The C-viche Restaurant selection was extensive and surpassed only by the warm and friendly reception extended to the CAS safari.

Expedition into the Field

The positive reaction to the Milwaukee Safari resulted in numerous requests for a second safari!

With special assistance from CAS member Mary Ann Bloom, who is director of the Field Museum docents, plans were made for a day at the Field that would include parking on the Field lot, general admission to the Field and to all special exhibits: including:

Mastabas
Two ongoing exhibitions: Ancient Egypt and Mastabas [how the mastaba evolved into the pyramid]; and the new Mummies exhibition. Both exhibits escorted by the Field’s superb docents.

Mummies opened March 14, 2018 closes April 21,2019

This extraordinary, limitedtime exhibition features mummies from ancient Peru and Egypt.

Made up entirely of objects from the Field collection, the exhibition includes 14 mummies, intricately decorated coffins and mummy masks, ceramic items, and mummified animals. Seeing ancient Peruvian and Egyptian mummies in the same space brings to light the differences and similarities between these cultures.

In past years the Field has featured several mummy expositions. But for the been there, done that audience Mummies features much in the exhibit that is new. With advances in technology it is possible to reexamine past investigations and non-invasive methodology damage is minimized.

Today, CT scanning and other non-invasive technologies allows study of mummies with respect for the individuals and their cultures. Intricate CT scan images can tell us much more about the lives of the people now preserved as mummies.

Exhibition highlights:
• A stunning sculptural recreation of the famed Egyptian “Gilded Lady”
• Peruvian mummy bundles, some with more than one person inside
• Animal mummies, from cats to crocodiles
• Interactive touch tables to explore detailed 3D images of the persons and objects inside mummies Objects used in rituals and offerings, including decorated ancient Peruvian beer pots.


What we did last summer….will be remembered all winter long we Hope!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Dominica or the Dominican Republic?

Discovering the hidden past of the Caribbean with Khadene Harris

Dominica or The Dominican Republic? Both nations are in the Caribbean, and both share parallel, but different histories.

The CAS May 2018 speaker, Ms. Khadene Harris, will cast new light on Dominica a region so close in miles but distant in understanding.

Ms. Khadene Harris is a current Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University in the department of anthropology. (She will defend her dissertation this forthcoming summer.) Trained in Caribbean history and archaeology, Ms. Harris has conducted research in Jamaica, Nevis, Dominica and the Chesapeake Bay, (See map below for Dominica location.) and has taught at both Northwestern and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Her virtual travel destination to Dominica, one of the Windward Isles, will encapsulate a time and place heretofore alien to the CAS.

Dubbed the 'Nature Isle' for its soaring peaks and various micro-climates, Dominica boasts a long and complex history that has only recently garnered attention from archaeologists. In her talk Ms. Harris will give an overview of Dominica's archaeological past, starting with the islands first inhabitants - The Kalinago- and ending with focus on her latest research on the colonial period. She will also discuss findings from her research that explored the cessation of slavery in 1838, among Dominican laborers and subsequent generations.

Carib Territory

Although immigrants into the Caribbean from South America shared common cultural attributes, the new geography of the Caribbean allowed for the emergence of cultural subsets.

Dominica was the name given to 289.8 sq. miles of land, by Christopher Columbus, when he landed on the island on November 3rd 1493. On the north eastern side of this beautiful tropical rain-forest island is 3782.03 acres of land set aside known as the Carib Territory. It is situated between two villages, Atkinson to the North and Castle Bruce to the South. It is the home of approximately 2208 Kalinagos (Caribs), the remaining survivors of  the first inhabitants of the island. The people called the island Waitukubuli (tall is her body), and they ued to wage war on the Kalinago (Carib) people but due to their courage and bravery they survived. In 1763, the British gained full con-trol of Dominica. The Kalinagos were given 232 acres of mountain-ous and rocky shoreline in Salybia, Dominica. In 1903, the amount of land was expanded to 3700 acres and was called the Carib Reserve; in addition the Carib Chief was officially recognized.

The Kalinagos before the arrival of Columbus

Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus the Kalinagos (Caribs) were self-reliant people. The Kalinagos (Caribs) survived mainly by fishing, hunting, and farming. They were skilled craft people and made canoes (hewn from huge trees and dug out) which were used to travel to and from the neighboring is-lands. The Caribs also wove baskets and were famous for their herbal medicine. They spoke their own language and worshipped the spirits of their ancestors.

More than 1,500 years ago, the Ara-wak people of South America began to migrate northwards, eventually navigating the Orinoco River and exploring what is now the Caribbe-an and the Antilles. This migration would continue for hundreds of years, until there was a presence of Arawaks on most Caribbean islands including Dominica.

Although the tribes descended from the Arawak went under different names like Lokono, Lucayan, Carib or Ciboney, the Taino, which stood for "the good people" in Arawak, was the largest indigenous group under the umbrella of Arawak Indians, and would be the first group of indigenous Indians to make contact with European settlers.


When Columbus landed on what is now the Dominican Republic, in 1492, there was a vibrant and flourishing civilization already present on the island of Haiti (this was the Taino name for what Columbus re-named Hispaniola).

The Taino
The Taino had dark golden-brown skin, similar to that of their distant South American relatives, and were average in stature with dark, flowing, coarse hair, and large, slightly oblique eyes. Though modern depictions of Taino Indians at the time of Columbus's arrival are of savage Indians parading around naked, the Taino were, in fact, highly skilled at weaving cotton and clothing. Clothing, or lack thereof, was used as an identifier of class and rank within the society.

Men generally went naked or wore a loincloth, called a nagua. Single women walked around naked, and married women covered their genitals with aprons made of cotton or palm fibers, the length of which was a sign of rank. Both sexes painted their bodies on special occasions, and wore earrings, nose rings and necklaces, which were sometimes made of gold.

Taino Kingdoms

The Taino Indians lived in organized, hierarchically arranged kingdoms. Communities were divided into three social classes: the naborias, who were the working class, the nitainos or sub-chiefs and noblemen, which included the bohiques or priests and medicine men, and the Caciques or chiefs. Each Taino kingdom was ruled by a Taino Cacique, or chieftain, and at the time of Columbus's arrival there were five Taino kingdoms on Quisqueya (Haiti).

Though the Taino kingdoms were ruled by Taino chieftains, it is a little-known fact that Taino societies were matriarchal in nature. The reasoning behind this fact is that though men wielded a considerable amount of power in the communities, it was the Taino women who actually chose the Caciques in the particular kingdoms. In this regard women were important because unlike men, the Tainos could trace royal line-age through women. It was only after Columbus's arrival that the family structure was to change drastically.

The Caciques

The Caciques, chieftains, carried boldly carved scepters and daggers of polished stone as symbols of their authority. Caciques were also polygamous, and formed political alliances by marrying women from other kingdoms. Spanish records attest to the Caciques' power over almost every aspect of Taino socie-ty. "They controlled the collection and distribution of food and trade goods; they organized community festivals known as areytos; and they decided when to go to war. In addition, caciques functioned as spiritual leaders who contacted the supernatural through hallucinogenic trances and to ensure the well being of the community."

Caciques also acted as the main intermediaries between people and the supernatural realm. Before ingesting such hallucinogenic mixtures, Caciques and shamans fast-ed and purged themselves with vomiting spatulas of wood and bone, in order to consume the "pure foods" of the spirits. Then, they inhaled their concoctions from small vessels and trays, using delicately carved snuffers of wood and bone.

To some extent Dominica's natural rugged geography protected the Kalinagos from the European invaders and their disease carrying fellow travelers as it may have held the Caribs at Bay.

Nevertheless the fate of the Do-minican Kalinagos Indian was sealed on that day in 1492, when the Tainos, fellow Americans, first encountered Christopher Colum-bus. For more about the peoples of the Caribbean open https://www.salybia.org/the-kalinago.html .



Or better still, come to Ms. Khadene Harris’s virtual journey to Dominica. 3:30pm, Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Avenue-—and bring a friend! Remember all meetings to the CAS are free and open to the public. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Press Release


May 8, 2018                                                                           

Contact:
Ray Young, CAS President at: ray@chicagoarchaeology.org
Robert Stelton, Newsletter Editor at bob@meximayan.com or 630-972-9090

 “ARCHAEOLOGY OF DOMINICA”
IS TOPIC ON MAY 20 IN EVANSTON


Chicago Archaeological Society/CAS Speaker of the Month Khadene Harris will present “Archaeology of Dominica” on Sunday, May 20 in the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston.  The program begins at 3:30pm, with refreshments and socializing starting earlier, at 3:00pm.  All CAS meetings are free and open to the public.

Khadene Harris is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University, Department of Anthropology. Trained in Caribbean history and archaeology, Ms. Harris has conducted research in Jamaica, Nevis, Dominica and the Chesapeake Bay. Dubbed the ‘Nature Isle’ for its soaring peaks and various microclimates, Dominica, one of the Windward Isles, boasts a long and complex history that has only recently garnered attention from archaeologists.

In her talk, Ms. Harris will give an overview of Dominica’s archaeological past, starting with the island’s first inhabitants - The Kalinago - and ending with focus on her latest research on the colonial period. She will also discuss findings from her research that explored material changes that accompanied the cessation of slavery in 1838, among Dominican laborers and subsequent generations.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April Meeting Notice

Please take note of this important message date, time and place for the April CAS meeting. The date of the meeting is April 22. The meeting place is the Sulzer Regional Library: 4455 N Lincoln (Between Montrose and Sunnyside.)

Because the Sulzer Library closes an hour earlier than we are accustomed to the CAS Meeting opening is 2:30 pm.

Our traditional informal post meeting dinner will be at Lou Malnati's, 4340 N. Lincoln Avenue (corner of Lincoln and Montrose) There is public transportation and a parking lot a block north of the Sulzer Library.

The April Speaker

Date: Sunday, April 22, 2018.
Place: Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago 60625.
Time: 2:30 p.m. Social Hour: Refreshments and Fellowship.
Program: 3:00 p.m. Presentation: by CAS guest speaker,
Dr. Brian Adams, The Ernat Late Woodland Site. (Near Starved Rock).

Traveling with the CAS…. 2018 IAAA Annual Meeting …. And the day “Ancient Cahokia, Future Visions” conference

Hosted by the East Central Illinois Archaeological Society the IAAA annual meeting will take place in Champaign-Urbana on April 27-28, 2018. Members are invited to an all-day “Ancient Cahokia, Future Visions” conference that will be held on Friday April 27 to be held at the iHotel Conference Center in Champaign. The conference is sponsored by the University of Illinois and presented by the Illinois State Archaeological Society (ISAS) and Prairie Research Institute (PRI). This open forum is free and open to the public.

If you have an interest in attending the April 27 conference, please register as soon as possible at the Conference website: https://cahokiaconference.wixsite.com/cc2018

“Ancient Cahokia, Future Visions” will focus on educating the public about the past and future of Cahokia. Streaming videos, 3D computer animation, a display of unique stone carvings, and a virtual reality station will accompany the talks by prominent archaeologists, Native American representatives, and National Park Service officials.

2018 IAAA Annual Meeting ….

Following the conference, our social gathering will take place from 4-6 pm at the Brown Bag Restaurant in Monticello; then on Saturday morning April 28, IAAA will convene at the Best Western Motel in Monticello, to hold its business meeting and chapter reports.

Annual meeting programming will include a presentation on recent excavations close to mounds at Allerton Park, and information on a new workshop initiative by the Illinois Archaeological Survey. Following lunch, we will carpool to scenic Allerton Park, Monticello, IL, for a tour of the mounds and other attractions.




Looking Back in Time

How to review your own work

The waitress who gave up and left the Celtic Knot before our C.A.S. diners arrived, would say that my presentation was too long, but I did not notice anyone sleeping. The best part was the You Tube two minute virtual journey through the last part of the Cave of Lascaux. The imagining of the number of objects needed to be carried by a few painters, helpers and shamans through the difficult darkness of the cave with beautiful and sometimes bizarre animals leaping out at you was most effective. It was just luck that I happened upon the video. If you were late look for it on YouTube.

Later I showed the gorgeous big fish in the Cave of Pileta with the double-lined outlines and explained that one line was a wish for Spring and a return or increase of fish; and the repeat line was a thanks to the gods when they reappeared. Or did I? This could be called sympathetic magic. Instead I think that I went unto the problem that nearby caves were presenting by claiming that their silhouetted hands were probably made by Neanderthals because they were dated by a new method (uranium thorium) as older than 40,000 BCE or before the time of Cro-Magnon.

Since all the archaeologists were marveling over man's state of brain and mind development which allowed Cro-Magnon to be so unique, the upgrading of Neanderthal's ability from tool-making to artist would be menacing to all they had written and claimed. Could Cro-Magnon have arrived earlier? Perhaps the Neanderthal learned from Cro-Magnon, or some other species were present in Europe but died out. Jean Clottes, the current most prodigious and active investigator has responded that every point dated with uranium thorium should be tested simultaneously with carbon dating.

Sympathetic Magic used for hunting was rebutted by those who claimed that the diets of Cro-Magnon did not include the numerous bison and hundreds of horses, but the lesser depicted reindeer and rabbit and smaller animals were eaten. Claude Levi Strauss, referred to as the Father of Structuralism, remarked, "Some animals are to eat, some to imagine." He suggested looking for the structure in the caves. Structuralists looked for opposites to reconcile in the patterning of the horse and the bison for meaning.

But the idea grew that caves were temples and the animals painted were either gods or spirit guides for rituals by medicine men, sorcerer's, wizards or shamans. But this was not accepted by all archaeologists, who did not agree with those who used ethnological similarities, mythologies and religious histories being advocated by many archaeologists influenced by historians of religion, philosophers and sometimes, psychologists. Paul Bahn was a noted archaeologist who has written sarcastically about such influences.

Taking a page out of the methods of others, I decided to examine Olmec and Maya shamans to make comparisons with Paleolithic shape-shifters, but had an advantage over hunter gatherer cultures, since the Maya had a language, and even a glyph for shape shifting into a jaguar. The famous scene depicted at the base of the shaft at Lascaux has been interpreted by many so-called experts.

I think that I made a case for the possibility of some form of auto sacrifice or pain infliction by a birdheaded shaman in ecstatic flight and sacrifice of the spirit of the bison for the tribe.

This would be experienced by the initiate brought into the carbon dioxide infested lowest depth of the cave temple.

But the investigations of David Lewis-Williams into the minds of the shamanic cave dwellers using psychoneurological experiments are providing more convincing evidence that the minds of the caveman were wired in the same manner as ours and that they were wired for a belief in religion. You would have to read The Mind in the Cave to understand it.

> Deb Stelton

Settling the new world….Is the issue settled?

The girl, one of two found, was just six weeks old when she died. Her body was buried on a bed of antler points and red ocher, and she lay undisturbed for 11,500 years.

Archaeologists discovered her in an ancient burial pit in Alaska in 2010, and on Wednesday an international team of scientists reported they had retrieved the child’s genome from her remains. The second-oldest human genome ever found in North America, it sheds new light on how people — among them the ancestors of living Native Americans — first arrived in the Western Hemisphere.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature, shows that the child belonged to a hitherto unknown human lineage— a group that split off from other Native-Americans just after, or perhaps just before, they arrived in North America.

“It’s the earliest branch in the Americas that we know of so far,” said Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, a co-author of the new study. As far as he and other scientists can tell, these early settlers endured for thousands of years before disappearing.

The two infants were given names: the baby girl is Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay (“sunrise girl-child,” in Middle Tanana, the dialect of the local community), and the remains of the other infant, or perhaps a fetus, is YeƂkaanenh T’eede Gaay (“dawn twilight girl-child”).

The Healy Lake Village Council and the Tanana Chiefs Conference agreed to let scientists search the remains for genetic material. Eventually, they discovered mitochondrial DNA, which is passed only from mother to child, suggesting each had different mothers. Moreover, each infant had a type of mitochondrial DNA found also in living Native-Americans.

> Bob Stelton, editor

Summer Safari May 12, 2018

A virtual Ancient Maya Tour via the May 12, 2018 Milwaukee Public Museum’s spectacular temporary exhibition, The Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.

The CAS Summer Safari occurs earlier than usual because the spectacular Milwaukee exhibition closes on May 28, 2018. The MPM is hosting the largest Maya exhibition ever displayed in the United States. The exhibition is a combination of hundreds of authentic artifacts, immersive environments, multimedia, and hands-on activities, this exhibit is designed to give visitors a glimpse at a cross-section of Maya life. From divine kings who ruled powerful cities to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of society, Maya features spectacular examples of ancient artistry and objects. Additionally, visitors will get a close look at the scientific work being carried out at key Maya sites to understand exactly how we know what we know of this once-hidden culture.

Exhibit Highlights
 Hundreds of authentic artifacts
 Hands-on activities that dig into Maya life, such as building corbelled arches, exploring tombs, and more
 Replica carved monuments, or stelae, that were erected in the great plazas of Maya cities
 An exploration of Maya architecture, such as its awe-inspiring temples
 A re-creation of the elaborate royal tomb of the Great Scrolled Skull in Santa Rita Corozal, a Maya site in Belize
 An examination of the concepts of ritual and human sacrifice that allowed the Maya to transcend the earthly world and speak with the gods of the underworld
 And more!

CAS Member, Mike Ruggeri will be our docent.
Assembly: 1:00 pm (tentative [Assembly must be contingent on rail transportation times from Chicago, Drivers must adjust travel time.]
Admission:[$18 seniors, $25 adults. Group admission $15
Transportation: On your own.

Summer Safari

A visit to a nearby village

Archaeological Investigations at the Ernat Site (11LS267), LaSalle County, Illinois.

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Brian Adams as our speaker of the month. Dr. Adams will introduce the CAS to the folks of a nearby Woodland village of Ernat. Dr. Adams is the Assistant Director, Statewide Surveys for the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, he has been involved in cultural resource management for many years, including work on both prehistoric and historic period archaeological sites throughout the Midwest. He has a strong interest in stone tool analysis and has been an advocate for local historic preservation.

In the spring of 1987, archaeological excavations were conducted at the Ernat Site (11LS267), a multi-component occupation located in the Illinois River floodplain immediately east of Starved Rock State Park along State Route 71.

Archaeologists have recorded 7,748 Woodland Sites in Illinois. Early Woodland settlements were concentrated along major river valleys. Archaeologists studying the banks of the Illinois River in central Illinois have found many remains of small Early Woodland settlements on the river's shoreline.

Archaeological excavations at Ernat have yielded several pit and rock concentration features, including two possible basin structures, and rich lithic, ceramic, faunal and botanical assemblages, including evidence of bison exploitation and possible aquatic tuber roasting pits. Although artifacts and features indicate Early Archaic through Upper Mississippian/Late Prehistoric and possibly Contact-era occupations at the site, the majority of remains pertain to the Middle and Late Woodland periods. Of these materials, classified as Late Woodland, Swanson and Starved Rock Collared finds predominated. This talk summarizes the results of archaeological investigations at this site.

In Illinois Some Middle Woodland villages consisted of a few wigwam-type houses made of a wooden pole framework and covered with woven mats. A garden of seed-bearing plants like marsh elder might have been located nearby. In the background, members of the village are involved in the construction of an earthen burial mound. Middle Woodland villages were often located on tributary streams where they entered major river valleys. As dependence on crop plants increased, villages grew larger. Then, perhaps in response to population pressure, new settlements began to appear in upland areas during the Late Woodland. Some Late Woodland villages were organized in a circular village plan with an open central plaza area surrounded by several dozen circular houses.

The extent span of the Woodlands culture includes much of the archaeological history of Illinois and enriches our understanding of Pre-Columbian America.
Meetings of the Chicago Archeological Society are free and open to the public.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A flight into the past with Mike Ruggeri

An introduction to the Mississippian Birdman expands our understanding of the life and times of pre-Columbian Mississippians


Mike’s promises, of an in-depth introduction to the Mississippian Complex were fulfilled.
He introduced his audience to the exotic symbolism of the Birdman religion underscoring its
elements from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as well as earlier North American cultures i.e. the
Adena and Hopewell. Birdman’s evolution as a major deity in North America goes back to the B.C.

According to Mike despite the fact that the Mississippian civilization lasted for 500 years in the heartland of America, this is the least studied culture in academia. Only now are scholars beginning to do serious research into this civilization as a whole. While there are many books and research articles on Cahokia, Moundville, Etowah, and Spiro among other major Mississippian sites, the study of the civilization as a

Clues to the Mississippian have been found in artistic expression. The iconography of the Birdman complex has a rich artistic presence by way of widespread copper works detailing the divinity across
a large swath of America. Mississippian artisans had developed considerable skill and technology of copper metallurgy using placer copper.

The Birdman is also found on shell work across the same area in the form of incised gorgets and on whelk shells imported from the Gulf of Mexico.

Mike concluded with an observation that study of the Birdman, on the whole has produced only a few notable books. But he shared his optimism that as this field becomes more popular, there will be a new flood of research in this area.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

2 Great Events 1 Weekend

2018 Midwest Conference
Mesoamerican Archaeology & Ethnohistory March 16-17, 2018

The 2018 Meetings of the Midwest Conference on Mesoamerican Archaeology and Ethnohistory will be held at the University of Chicago on March 16-17, with a keynote speech by Hattula Moholy-Nagy on Friday evening and presentations all day Saturday.
http://voices.uchicago.edu/2018midwestmesos/2018/02/09/midwest-mesos-preliminary-schedule/


46th Annual
Midwest Conference on Andean & Amazonian Archaeology & Ethnohistory March 17-18, 2018

The Field Museum and the University of Illinois at Chicago are pleased to host the 46th Annual Midwest Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory. We hope that participants will gather on the evening of Friday, March 16 for an informal reception. This is the opening weekend of the exhibit Mummies, a Field Museum original featuring new science on Egyptian and Peruvian remains. We encourage participants to set aside time to visit Mummies and The Ancient Americas exhibitions at The Field Museum before or after the meeting. Additional information on the meeting, hotels, exact starting times, and other attractions will be posted as the program is developed. The conference is sponsored by The Field Museum, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Department of Anthropology, and the UIC Office of the Dean (LAS).
https://www.fieldmuseum.org/science/special-projects/46th-annual-midwest-conference-andean-and-amazonian-archaeology-and


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Birdman: Recovering an overlooked culture Mike Ruggeri, the CAS treasurer, will take us on a journey through the Mississippian culture

Faster than a speeding arrow and more powerful than a herd of bison…the Birdman is the most revered deity of the Mississippian civilization. The Iconography of his presence in Mississippian
civilization stretches as far north as Minnesota, as far west as Oklahoma and Texas, as far south as Louisiana, as far east as the Southern Atlantic sea-coast and on to Florida and like Superman Birdman joins the ranks of story and legend back to Gilgamesh.1

Mike Ruggeri, the CAS treasurer, is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the City Colleges of Chicago, Michael Ruggeri is a co-moderator of the largest and oldest Ancient Americas listserv on the World Wide Web; Az-tlan@simplelists.com, and he moderate websites for the IAAA on Facebook and Tumblr and the South Suburban Chapter of the IAAA on Facebook and Tumblr. The link to 52 different web pages on all aspects of the Ancient Americas, the largest repository for the Ancient Americas on the World Wide Web. The link to his Ancient Americas Web Pages is https://mikeruggerispages.tumblr.com.

He will take us on a journey through the Mississippian culture to seek out answers to the major Mississippian deity known as the Birdman. He will introduce us to the exotic symbolism of the Birdman religion, that has elements from Mesoamerica, the Adena and Hopewell cultures further east further back in time, and elements that became a major religion across the vast expanse of this civilization with the cultural “Big Bang” at Cahokia at 1050 AD, which made Cahokia the most powerful city of the Mississippians, and whose trade and missionary activities spread the Cahokian concept of the Birdman in all directions culturally and artistically.

Mike will show us the stunning and major art pieces of the Birdman religion in finely crafted copper works, gorgets, shell work, and describe the complex meaning of the these art pieces in a fully detailed description of who the Birdman was across the Mississippian realm. The Cahokians produced a style in his iconography known as the Braden style, which in turn evolved in different regions into the Craig style, Hemphill style, High-tower style and variations. And he will end his exposition with the powerful site within Cahokia at Mound 722, which showed in real political ways, the power of the Birdman in this culture.

The iconography of the Birdman complex has a rich artistic presence by way of widespread copper works detailing the divinity across a large swath of America. He is also found on shell work across
the same area in the form of Birdman incised gorgets and on whelk shells imported from the Gulf of Mexico from 1000-1400 A.D. Birdman’s evolution as a major deity in North America goes back to the B.C. era in the Adena and Hopewell cultures.

Despite the fact that the Mississippi-an civilization lasted for 500 years in the heartland of America, this is the least studied culture in academia. Only now are scholars beginning to do serious research into this civiliza-tion as a whole. While there are many books and research articles on Cahokia, Moundville, Etowah, and Spiro among other major Mississippian sites, the study of the civilization as a whole has produced only a few notable books. As this field becomes more popular, there will be a new flood of research in this area.

The Birdman complex lived on in the post contact era with the Red Horn cycle of the Sioux, Oneota, Osage and other major tribes in the present USA.

1. Gilgamesh was likely an actual Sumerian king
who ruled over the city of Uruk, but the tale
tells the story of an epic hero along the lines of
Hercules from Greek Mythology. The story was
first recorded by a Babylonian scribe around
2000 BC, but the tale itself tells of Sumerian
people and myths.

2 Archaeologist Melvin Fowler, who died in
2008, discovered the enormous burial ground in
1967 during the excavation of an unusual
mound with a ridgetop. The site, now called
Mound 72, contained five mass graves, each
holding 20 to more than 50 bodies. There were
dozens of other bodies buried by themselves or
in groups at the site, bringing the total count to
270 found by Fowler.

Shamanism in Paleolithic Art

The earliest discoveries of magnificent panoramic murals featuring enigmatic animals in
deep caves of the Pyrenees sparked vigorous controversy and skepticism. Were these
caves really ancient? Then carbon dating became available and archaeologists placed these
paintings from as early as 32,000 BC causing more speculation. The identification of anthropomorphic figures interacting with the animals, in rare cases, as shamans was the most exasperating and bewildering conclusion of all for many scientists and most of the general public.

While an American archaeologist will show you “a shaman’s
pipe” or a shaman’s rattle, how willing might he or she be to discuss
the existence of shamans in Paleolithic art in Europe? This may not be a fair question for many obvious reasons. It is even difficult for scientific Europeans with closer, if not easier, access to these spectacular caves. How
believable is it, that humans, just like us, the Cro-Magnon, crawled into caves to paint the
animals that they hunted? However, many texts happily label figures dressed as animals, or
humans “shape-shifting” into bison, deer or lions, as shaman or sorcerers. Some suggest that
these are acting as figures in a myth.

Who are these experts and what are their theories leading them to their identification of the figures
as shamans? They are archaeologists, anthropologists, psychologists, neurologists, art historians, ethnologists, poets, philosophers, artists and movie producers.

They do not all share the same exact ideas, but the different interpretations
of the shaman, and how they are obtained, is fascinating in itself.

Deb will provide an overview of the views of Jean Clottes, the retired
French Ministry of Culture Director, Erich Newmann, a Jungian psychologist, Alexander
Marshack, a researcher with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (at
Harvard) and David Lewis-Williams, neurologist and rock art researcher.


AAA Annual Meeting

East Central Illinois Archaeological Society (ECIAS) will be hosting the IAAA Annual Meeting April 27 - 28, 2018. The meeting will be held in Champaign and Monticello, IL. Detailed information with a registration form will be released within the coming weeks, but it is important to share with your chapter members as soon as possible. This weekend coincides with the Cahokia Conference and the Illinois Marathon so advance planning for overnight stays will be necessary. Many of the local hotels already are filled so if you or your members want to have lodging, you will need to act quickly.

the palimpsest

In January

A CAS audience braved another January to fill the Community Room of the Evanston Public Library to hear Guest Speaker Dr. Jennifer Tobin’s report on the submerged Turkish archeological site of Zeugma.It may be that most CAS members are adequately conversant with the continuing significance of the Fertile Crescent but they may be less aware of Zeugma.

The construction of Zeugma flooded the region of the Euphrates River at only fordable area thus creating the crossroads.

Dr. Tobin’s presentation was concise and excellently illustrated with views
of Zeugma as it swallowed the past.

For more you can use this link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeugma,_Commagene .

R.I.P. Edward J. Lace - 1925 -12/8/2017

News of the death, on December 18, 2017, of Edward J. Lace was announced at the January 2018 meeting CAS Meeting. Ed’s membership in the CAS extends back to the organization’s earliest
days. Many archaeologists working in Chicago came to CAS meetings to meet Ed!

Ed was a frequent CAS Speaker and a longtime member of the Board of Directors. In 2015 he was honored with the CAS Certificate of Distinguished Service.

The meeting observed a moment of silence in observance of his
passing.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities: The Excavations at Zeugma on the Euphrates

With Memories of our April CAS excursion to the remarkable site of Gobekli Tepe still fresh, January promises a new adventure into Turkey when Dr. Jennifer Tobin takes us on a time adventure into the classic world of Zeugma on the Euphrates.

Around 300 BCE Seleucids (Dynasties founded by Alexander’s generals) I founded the twin cities of Seleucia and Apamea, each on opposite sides of the Euphrates River. The bridge that united them, the only permanent crossing of the Euphrates be-tween the Taurus Mountains and Babylonia, became so important that the two cities eventually became known as Zeugma, or “Bridgetown.”

Zeugma became one of the more significant urban centers of the Seleucid Empire, and when it became part of the Roman province of Syria early in the 1st century CE it hosted one of the Syrian legions, Legio IIII Scythica. The influx of soldiers and civilians swelled the population of the two cities, causing a building boom of houses and shops. In the mid-third century this thriving community was sacked by a Sasanid (Persian Dynasty) invasion led by Shapur I, and nearly every quarter of Zeugma was destroyed by fire.

Late in the 20th century, in or-der to improve the socio-economic climate of the Gaziantep region of Tur-key, the Birecik Dam was constructed over the Euphrates River, just down-stream from Zeugma.

The resulting artificial lake completely flooded Apamea, while approximately 30% of Seleucia was inundated. As the flood waters rose over Seleucia emergency excavations were organized.

Funded by the Packard Humanities Institute, a multinational team raced against time to uncover the buried city. The excavations yielded evidence for public life in the city, including several baths, a temple and a possible hall of records, but more spectacular were the results from the domestic quarters, which uncovered a number of houses, many sumptuously decorated with fine mosaics and elaborate wall paintings. This lecture will present an over-view of the Zeugma excavations, concentrating on the remains from the private sector of the settlement.

Jennifer Tobin: Brief Biography

Jennifer Tobin graduated from Stan-ford University with two BA’s, in Classical Studies and English Literature, and took her PhD in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a visiting Assistant Professor at Bilkent University, in Ankara, Turkey, and at Arizona State University, and since 2005 has been an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Tobin has participated in excavations in Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Turkey and has led archaeological tours for such companies as Far Horizons, Peter Sommers, Roads Scholars and Smithsonian.

She has authored two books, Black Cilicia: A Study of the Plain of Issus during the Roman and Late Roman Periods (Oxford, BAR International Series 1275, 2004) and Herodes Attikos and the City of Athens: Patronage and Conflict under the Antonines, (Amsterdam: JC Gieben, 1997) and is completing a book on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. She has also recorded a series of lectures on the ancient world with Recorded Books.

Zeugma Mosaic Museum

Zeugma Mosaic Museum, in the town of Gaziantep, Turkey, is the biggest mosaic museum in the world. The museum's mosaics are focused on Zeugma, thought to have been founded by a general in Alexander the Great’s army. The treasures, including the mosaics, remained relatively unknown until 2000 when artifacts appeared in museums and when plans for new dams on the Euphrates meant that much of Zeugma would be forever flooded. A large number of the mosaics remain covered and teams of researchers continue to work on the project.

The 90,000-square-foot museum features a 7,500-square-foot exhibition hall and replaces the Bardo National Museum in Tunis as the world’s largest mosaic museum.


Members Night

Happy New Year!
Farewell 2017 and an unexpected program change


O ur December 3rd an-nual holiday cele-bration was an un-qualified smash. The complimentary fusion Pe-ruvian/American dinner ca-tered by Edith Young was en-thusiastically received by the dinner guests. The collective joy that filled the room attests to the CAS sense of fellowship.
Unexpectedly we received shat-tering news that because of health issues our guest speaker was unable to attend our Holi-day Luncheon. An otherwise major problem—but not for the CAS. President Ray Young’s so-lution was “The Moche—Drugs, Sex, Music, and Puppies!” Ray selected, introduced and chaired Q & A to a Video lecture presented by Professor Edwin Barnhart, Director of the Maya Exploration Center.

Discovery of the spectacular tomb of the Lords of Sipan has unleashed many new ideas about the Moche which in turn has elicited contending areas of controversy. Some of these contentions were brought to the attention of the CAS audience.

Members Night Election

Traditionally and as established by the CAS constitution Mem-bers night belongs to members. As such annual elections have an opportunity to throw the rascals out! Published at the end of this article is a slate of nominees. President Young will open the meeting to the floor for addi-tional nominations.
A tentative slate is published for the record.

What’s new?

Members Night is your chance to share an event. Have you been traveling? Perhaps a book or magazine article has made an impression. The CAS is anxious to hear from you. Talk to a CAS officer— help is yours for the asking but we want to hear from you.

CAS Nominations: Officers and Board 2018

President Raymond Young 2018
Lucy Kennedy 2018
Editor Robert Stelton 2018
Treasurer Michael Ruggeri 2018
Director Judith Greene 2020
Director Peter Greene 2020 Director Jeanne Jesernik 2020
Director Jacqueline Leipold 2020
Director Doreen Stelton 2020

the palimpsest

Bibliophiles received an early holiday gift, December 17, 2017 when Egypt reopened the ancient St. Catherine’s monastery library which holds around 3,300 manuscripts of mainly Christian texts in Greek, Arabic, Syriac, Georgian and Slavonic among other languages.

During the library’s renovation archaeologists may have found some of Hippocrates’ medical recipes.
According to the Librarian the most valuable manuscript is the Codex Sinaiticus which dates back to the fourth century.

The monastery complex, Located in the heart of some of Planet Earth’s cruelest geography, must as well contend with loathsome inhuman renegades.

Thanks to Jesse Carroll for alerting the Codex with this bit of good news.

Bob Stelton