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).

Friday, September 27, 2019

Archaeology In and Of Chicago

The 1893 World’s Fair, the Charnley House, and the Future of Urban Archaeology - Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Graff 
(early start at 2:30pm!) 

On September 29, Dr. Rebecca Graff, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lake Forest College, opens our 2019-2020 lecture season (at 2:30pm) with an intriguing and fresh look at “what lies beneath” our very local feet.

Drawing from her upcoming book, Disposing of Modernity: The Archaeology of Garbage and Consumerism During Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair (University Press of Florida and Society for Historical Archaeology/SHA, Fall 2020), Dr. Graff will introduce her research project centered on excavations at Jackson Park, the former site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and at the Charnley-Persky House, an 1892 Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home on Chicago’s Gold Coast. Based upon archaeological and archival research on the Fair’s ephemeral Ohio Building and a historic artifact midden at the Charnley-Persky House, this talk will engage with a critical period in the nation’s history to address the ambivalent reactions to the changing world of turn-of-the-twentieth-century urban America. 

Both the Chicago Fair and the Charnley House showed the transformative potential of new forms and technologies for daily life, many of which are still materially present. The talk will cover topics including the history of world’s fairs and expositions, the planning of the Chicago Fair, the Charnley House’s architecture and aesthetics, and how fairs created markets for new products and how the public constituted themselves as modern subjects by consuming them. It will conclude with Jackson Park’s current reappearance on the world stage as the future home of the Obama Presidential Center, and a look toward at-risk archaeological sites and the place of archaeology for Chicagoans today.

Material serving as the basis  of her forthcoming book earned Dr. Graff the 2013 Kathleen Kirk Gilmore Dissertation Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology. 

Dr. Graff received her BA in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. 

As an historical archaeologist with research interests in the 19th- and 20th-Century urban United States, she explores the relationship between temporality and modernity, memory and material culture, and contemporary heritage and nostalgic consumption through archaeological and archival research. She has excavated at sites in Israel, Honduras, France, the Bahamas, New Orleans, San Francisco, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Chicago. 

Dr. Graff has directed excavations in several sites in Chicago as undergraduate archaeological field schools for the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and Lake Forest College at sites including the Gray-Cloud House and Mecca Flats. She is currently excavating the former site of an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lake Forest with her undergraduate students.

We look forward to her presentation opening our lecture series on September 29. 

PLEASE NOTE:  Our meeting will begin ONE HOUR EARLIER THAN USUAL, with social hour at 2:00pm, and speaker beginning at 2:30pm.

Summer Safaris 2019

Members went to The Art Institute Exhibit on Peru and Northwestern’s on Africa 

Summer safari participants enjoy viewing Peruvian textiles exhibit
led by Ray Young at The Art Institute of Chicago - photo by Matt Stelton

“Super/Natural: Textiles in the Andes” at The Art Institute 

Up-close examination of textiles from several on display in The Art Institute of Chicago special exhibition Super/Natural: Textiles in the Andes offered a unique opportunity for exploration of Peru’s Pre-Columbian cultures. The exhibition was on display February 23–June 16, 2019. Our group attended on June 13. What made the Safari special was Ray Young’s personal guided tour. Available from Amazon is a dazzling catalog.

“Caravans of Gold” Exhibit at Northwestern University’s Block Museum in Evanston.

The subtitle of the exhibit, Fragments of Time, accurately described the pieces of ceramics, textiles, glass and gold left across the Saharan Desert by caravans of camels during medieval times. CAS members enjoyed viewing the exhibit individually. Let us know what you think of our safaris.

The Morton Site: New Discoveries…..More Questions!

Provided by May Speaker Nicole Marie “Nikki” Klarmann, MA

The Morton site is a sprawling, loosely organized village site two miles upriver from Dickson
Mounds. It was named after its former owner, Joy Morton of Morton Salt, who had a hunting lodge on the property in the 1930s. The site was occupied during the 14th century ACE by Middle Mississippian people with southern affiliations and Oneota people of northwestern origin. Our May speaker addressed Community, Household & Landscape: Examining Spatial Structure for Evidence of Integration at the Morton Village Site, Fulton County, Illinois.

One aspect of the joint Dickson Mounds/ Michigan State University project was to determine the relationship between these two ethnic groups. Speaker Nicole Marie “Nikki” Klarmann’s role in the multi-faceted project was to examine the architectural remains for clues to the nature of the relationships, and degree of coalescence. The site was subjected to a magnetometry survey to locate the buried house floors and storage pits without excavation. In some cases, the indicated building locations were subjected to test excavation or “ground truthing” to test the validity of the magnetometer readings.

Since the Middle Mississippians placed their wall posts in trenches and the Oneota people did not, it was possible to determine who constructed particular structures. When Klarmann’s architectural research is combined with that of others examining different aspects of the archaeological record, such as stone tools and weapons, ceramics and animal and plant remains, it is hoped the research team will be able to determine whether or not the Mississippians and Oneota were occupying the same buildings (cohabiting), were living side by side, or were on the site at different times.

~ report by Deb Stelton ~

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Community, Household & Landscape:

Examining Spatial Structure for Evidence of Integration
at the Morton Village Site, Fulton County, Illinois
Speaker: Nicole Marie “Nikki” Klarmann, M.A.

Social Hour/Member Meetings begin at 3:00pm.
Lectures begin at 3:30pm. All are welcome.
Evanston Public Library: Community Meeting Room,
1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston 60201
May 19, 2019 Ms. Nicole Marie Klarmann 
The Fulton Morton Village Site

Ms. Nikki Klarmann asks “What happens when two populations with differing cultural identities interact and cohabitate?”  In our final program in the lecture series this year, she will propose answers to that question based on field work at the Morton Village Site in Fulton County, Illinois.

Klarmann suggests that coalescence, or the cultural reorganization and formation of multiethnic and multilingual communities, is one possible outcome.

In archaeological contexts, material culture can help determine the level of integration or coalescence between distinct groups that interacted or cohabitated. However, it should not be assumed that a one-to-one relationship between cultural materials and people exists. In many contexts of interaction, a mixture of materials attributable to differing groups of people may be found. How then can the mixing of archaeological materials be used to identify the degree of coalescence? Beyond archaeological contexts, understanding prolonged, spatially-based interactions and coalescence has larger implications for understanding today’s cultural groups who find themselves cohabitating with other groups (e.g., post migration or as refugees) and possibly affecting policy and practice that could promote integration of these migrant or refugee groups into the larger society.

Morton Village (11F2), located in Fulton County, Illinois, is the case study for this multiscalar spatial analysis. Dating to a single occupation, ca. AD 1200 to 1400, the site provides clear evidence for the cohabitation of Middle Mississippian and Bold Counselor Phase Oneota groups.  However, the level of cultural integration at the site is under-explored. Ceramic attributes and architectural styles have typically been used to discern Oneota and Mississippian contexts. Material culture provides a valuable line of evidence for examining coalescence, but how people organized themselves spatially allows an innovative and finer contextualization of the distinctions and the merging of material culture. Research adds to the scholarship of coalescence. A multi-scalar spatial approach is employed to detect the level of coalescence within the Morton Village archaeological site, integrating data from the landscape, community, and household spatial scales. Initial findings of the case study and future directions of the research will be presented.

Nikki Klarmann, MA, originally from Texas, earned a BS in Anthropology at Baylor University. While there, she excavated in Belize. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology at Michigan State University. Ms. Klarmann began working at the Morton Village archaeological site in Fulton County in the summer of 2013 as part of the joint Michigan State University and Dickson Mounds Museum Archaeological Project. For five summers since 2013, she excavated at Morton Village in a variety of roles, as a research assistant, teaching assistant, public programming supervisor, graduate student mentor, and as the coordinator of excavations, also doing archaeology lab work cleaning and cataloging artifacts recovered during excavations. Klarmann’s doctoral dissertation focuses on the spatial organization of Morton Village and whether the migrant Bold Counselor Oneota and local Middle Mississippian populations had an integrated, coalesced community at Morton Village.

Eureka! There Are Two Forts Kaskaskia

Dr. Mark Wagner takes us along on SIUC Field School discovery
~ report by Deb Stelton ~


George Rogers Clark was a frontier military leader in the American Revolution whose dramatic successes were factors in the award of the Old Northwest to the United States. Trained by his grandfather, Clark engaged in surveying along the Ohio River in the mid-1770s. His historical importance leads us to an interest in Fort Kaskaskia.

Dr. Mark Wagner’s presentation on Sunday, April 28 dwelt primarily with the rediscovery of Fort Kaskaskia. Before Mark started working at the suggested site it never had been surveyed. The fort remains were on Garrison Hill on bluffs overlooking the town of Kaskaskia which overlooks the Mississippi. In 1759 it was occupied by the French who began to build the walls of the fort. It was never completed after they lost the French and Indian War in 1763. All possessions east of the Mississippi were given over to Great Britain with the Treaty of Paris. The people of Kaskaskia did not like the idea of the Brits moving into the fort, so they burned it. Consequently, the Brits moved into the town itself, providing an example of unintended consequences.

In 1780s, a “war lord,” John Dodge, occupied the area and terrorized the town, but in 1787 he was forced to flee to Missouri. In 1778 Clark surprised the British and captured the fort. It may have been a front-line century ago, but modern history has eclipsed its earlier importance. Clark captured the final British force. But for Clark, the entire Old Northwest might well be part of Canada.

The U.S. Army came to occupy the area to keep Kaskaskia safe from other foreign incursions. 120 soldiers came from Pittsburg in 1802, and in 1803, William Clark and Meriwether Lewis arrived. Lewis wrote that 120 pounds of gunpowder were stored at the fort. Clark recruited 11 or 12 soldiers from the fort to join the important Lewis and Clark expedition. But documentation is sparse. The fort seemed to be abandoned.

When Mark Wagner began excavating, he found little evidence of U.S. occupation. Then a sink hole was discovered away from the fort. Mark began to think that the American fort was elsewhere. Non-invasive scanning equipment was brought in for investigation. Patterns of green and red showed up, but you must excavate to find out what these colors mean. Available LiDAR was also very useful.

Eventually we learned that there were two forts referred to as Fort Kaskaskia. Uniform buttons, parts of muskets and other artifacts have shown us that the second fort is the one where Lewis and Clark stopped at before their momentous journey.

There is more to be learned in future digs and you can contact Dr. Wagner if you wish to participate. Shawnee teenagers are helpers as well. Archaeology students from the SIUC field school will return to the Ft. Kaskaskia and Miller Grove sites this coming summer (2019).

In doing further research for this summary, I found references to the Treaty of Paris finally having the British signing over this area to the U.S. with the idea of receiving benefits from trading.

Palimpsest Notes from Bob Stelton

Aluxe
Phantoms of the milpas


Long ago I directed a cultural field school for high school students in the Yucatan. The students and I stayed with villagers sleeping in nahs, traditional Maya houses, and taking our meals with the hosts. We learned that life in a Maya community revolves around the milpa, the agricultural field that provides sustenance and life. Making milpa, slash and burn farming a plot, carries with it historic and cultural obligations that are to the ancient Maya.

I asked a friend in the village Tinum for directions to his milpa, explaining that I would like to explore it with my students.

“Oh no,” he protested, “it would be dangerous to go there, very dangerous. There are serpents that kill and other dangers!”
“But,” our host finally relented, “you can come with me and the niño (his son) tomorrow morning.”
I had another request, “Could my students work in the field?”
He shrugged, “What’s the use, it’s too hard, but ok!”

In the field we discovered how excruciating work in the field was. Later we learned about the other danger: we learned about the Aluxe.
In Ireland they are called leprechauns, in Scandinavia trolls – they seem to have populated the globe.

That afternoon I learned something about Maya secrets – other dangers. Concealed within the Yucatan jungles are creatures of the night including the Aluxes  – troll-like creatures that usually remain hidden from human-sight. But ready to dance with a child or spring a prank on a bothersome adult!

Although Aluxes mostly live apart from men, symbiotic relationships have evolved. Ordinarily they are fearful of humans and hide from us by turning themselves into little clay figurines that hide in small mounds on the fringes of cultivated fields. It is believed that they are descended from the ancient Maya.

Like most gnomes, leprechauns – name your favorite will-o-the-wisp  – Aluxes are impish and responsible for many practical jokes and tricks. On the other hand they can be helpful. More than one lost wanderer has been led to safety by an Aluxe. Without revealing themselves and by sighs, they can direct the wanderer to the correct path. In olden times, they would notify an Indian family of a member who had been hanged (other misfortune?) by allowing them to be seen in a house and then fleeing.

There is much more to the lore of the Aluxe, one of the Yucatan’s special attraction that is seldom – if ever – seen by adults.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

“Bound to the Western Waters”: The Discovery of Lewis and Clark’s Long-Lost Outpost of Fort Kaskaskia

Speaker of the Month: Dr. Mark Wagner
Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 3:00pm


Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark recruited 11 men from the garrison of Fort Kaskaskia (1803-1807) in Randolph County, Illinois, in 1803, to join their famous expedition to explore the American West. This fort has always been assumed to have been in the same location as an earlier French fort (1758-1763) of the same name. Archaeological investigations by the Southern Illinois University (SIU) archaeological field school class over the past two years, however, has revealed that in reality there were two separate forts with the same name. Previously unknown remains of the American Fort Kaskaskia visited by Lewis and Clark were discovered about 100 yards north of the grass-covered French Fort Kaskaskia.

The discovery of this new fort site comprises a major addition to the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1803-1806) in that it represents a time capsule of the types of artifacts and remains used by American soldiers in the early 1800s. Through the use of remote sensing investigations and hand excavations over the past two years, the SIU field school is recovering new information regarding the archaeology and history of both fort sites and the people who lived in them. Speaker Dr. Mark Wagner will reveal details about his team’s discovery of the American Fort Kaskaskia, updating this topic published in the September 2018 issue of Illinois Antiquity magazine.

About Our Speaker: Dr. Mark Wagner is Associate Professor in Anthropology and the Director of the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), where he also received his PhD in Anthropology.  His current research interests include the Native American rock art of Illinois; late eighteenth/early nineteenth century culture contact between Native American peoples and Euro-American settlers along the Illinois frontier; Diaspora archaeology; the Cherokee Trail of Tears in Illinois; Civil War archaeology and French and American colonial and military archaeology in Illinois.  Dr. Wagner is currently directing the SIUC archaeological field school in the excavation of the two fort sites featured in this talk.

As Director of the Center for Archaeological Investigations/CAI, he supervises a small staff of professional archaeologists, students, and interns in applied archaeology projects for state and federal agencies within Illinois. The CAI is particularly active in giving undergraduate and graduate students experience in applied archaeology projects to prepare them for jobs with state, federal, and private agencies after graduation. Your support of their work would be appreciated! Link to the page at https://salukifunder.siu.edu/project/14083

Meetings are open to the public and free of charge. Social period starts at 3:00pm.  Lectures begin at 3:30pm. Join us!

Evanston Public Library 
1703 Orrington, Evanston 
All CAS meetings are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Report on “Exploring the Sacred Landscapes of Peru”

Dr. Jo Ellen Burkholder provides new insights at March meeting
~ report by Anne Wilson-Dooley ~


Dr. Jo Ellen Burkholder’s topic on March 31 attracted a good-sized audience and we were treated to an examination of the importance of drawing on local cultural traditions, stories, and architecture in interpretation of archaeological remains. She brings to this work her interests in gender and ethnicity studies and recognition of the sacred.

Dr. Burkholder has been teaching at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for 14 years and has worked in Bolivia and Peru for 20 years. She was attracted to the area by the extent of preservation of archaeological remains in the dry environment.

The archaeological focus of her talk was on her excavations at the site of Pisanay in the Sihuas Valley in the Arequipa Region. The site is located on a peninsula type formation stretching out into the Sihuas Valley.  To the west is the Pacific coast and to the east the majestic peaks of the Andes.

The broader focus was on recognition of the sacred, gender and ethnicity in archaeological structures, artifacts, and motifs. Archaeological investigation looks for the sacred outside our experience, including music, even smells. From her work in Peru she knows that the traditions give substantial meaning to the landscape, topographic and geologic elements – including stones and rock formations.  The mountains are thought to have personalities; they can have relationships and interact with each other; they are capable of “amazing” things.

As an example of context and knowledge, in looking at the altar in a family home, elements from Christian and local traditions were fairly easily recognized as sacred by their form and location on the altar. Other items like stones had meaning to family members and were placed on the altar because they came from a particular place, perhaps a magical place, or were picked up along a pilgrimage.

Dr. Burkholder’s local knowledge led to increased interpretation of motifs on textiles and pottery. There are two ethnic groups in her area and today they can be recognized at a single location by the differences in the woven clothing they are wearing. Seeking evidence of females in their art, Burkholder pointed out some figures on textiles perhaps representing local traditions of women squatting and holding onto a pole during childbirth.  One of the pan-Andean stories still told today is represented in ancient woven and ceramic art: a woman impregnated by a fox.

At another point she talked about an example from the landscape of a small pile of stones, then a bit further along was another, similar, small pile of stones and then another. It ended up with over a mile of these, roughly in a line, clearly placed intentionally.

At site excavation at Pisanay again the interpretations were informed from local knowledge. In one of the units they recognized a sunken pit that had structural elements of a stairway on one side and four pits on the floor. The pits were assumed to be supports of some type of a roof. Associated with the structural items there were some stones at the top of the stairs and remnants of color on some of them, probably offerings. An important find in the area of the stones was a colored bead of a non-local shell which suggested perhaps a more sacred meaning for the structure.  Also, there was evidence of cuy (guinea pig) and s. molle for a drink in the structure along with shards of cups, as evidence of feasting. The Pachamama goddess traditions of the Andes with her being associated with earth and fertility may help in interpreting the artifacts found within the structure. Based on current structures, the poles probably supported a light weight mat over an open air structure.

Near her second unit of excavation, large stones created an alignment with the mountains to the east perhaps giving them special meaning and perhaps serving as an “observation platform.”

In a third area of the site are circular ground formation of “Nazca-line” essence. These are perhaps more easily interpreted as sacred but of unknown meaning.

We sincerely thank Dr. Burkholder for being our speaker and providing so many examples of the intertwining of local knowledge with archaeological interpretation.

Pisanay and the Endangered Rock Art Traditions of Arequipa, Peru by Jo Burkholder - 2017
https://core.tdar.org/document/431261/pisanay-and-the-endangered-rock-art-traditions-of-arequipa-peru

Ladrones y Huaqueros (Thieves and Grave Robbers)

 Palimpsest Notes from Bob Stelton

Within the political boundaries of Peru exists a vast arrogation of mystery and adventure that beckons adventure travel as demonstrated by Dr. Ellen Burkholder, the CAS March Speaker. Treasures beyond the imagination of human greed or need captured the initiative of many who came to regard the burials as public domain – fit for exploitation!

Primal forces created desert conditions between the sea and the Andean peaks that almost perfectly ended preserved the dead as natural mummies. But almost isn’t good enough. That protection policy ended where the huaqueros (grave robbers) broke earth.

By now the epic adventure of Dr. Walter Alva, and his discovery of the tomb of the Lords of Sipán in 1987, has entered the annals of iconic archaeology, and resides as such, with the immortals like Howard Carter.

Dr. Alva is a worthy recipient of all encomiums tendered. On an uncomfortable January night, he was literally pulled from a hospital bed and driven to a poor peasant’s hut by the police to examine a small hoard of gold the likes of which he never had seen before. He examined treasures that would soon become cultural competitors of Tut’s legendary hoard.

The following day, still very ill, alone, he ascended the tomb, alternatively waving his pistol and warning the angry crowd to back off! When all seemed lost, he trumped the huaqueros’ greed with a plea to work with him to save their patrimony. They worked together, the proof of which is the magnificent Lords of Sipán Museum at Lambayeque.

And that, dear reader, is how the magnificent Lords of Sipán museum at Lambayeque was saved before it was born.

There is more – much more – to this dazzling story of Pre-Inca tombs, archaeology, and crime!

Several years ago a small group from the CAS joined with MexiMayan Academic Travel on a Peru discovery itinerary that included The Tomb of the Lords, The Lambayeque Museum and a memorable meeting with Dr. Walter Alva.

Given the opportunity to explore tomb and museum and perhaps to meet Dr. Alva is truly a bucket item not to be missed. If that can’t be, Amazon can send to you hours of reading pleasure, Lords of Sipán, for about $10.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Exploring the Sacred Landscapes of Peru

Speaker of the Month
March 31, 2019
Dr. Jo Ellen Burkholder 


In this talk by Dr. Jo Ellen Burkholder we will be transported to the majestic Andes Mountains of southern Peru and the impressive deserts and valleys that flank them on the Pacific Coast. We will get a chance to consider what defines sacred places and how they can be recognized by the special ways in which they use space. Using examples from her field work in Arequipa, Peru she will illustrate how we can begin to understand ancient sacred geographies and landscapes through archaeological and geographical analyses. Special attention will be given to two small temples she  excavated at the site of Pisanay and how these two locations play a role in the sacred landscape surrounding the site.

About Our Speaker:
Jo Ellen Burkholder, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, and the Coordinator for Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. Over the last 20 years she has been conducting research in the Southern Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Her work has concentrated on the expressions of social identity (particularly gender and ethnicity) in the ancient Andes using pottery and funerary art, architecture, and uses of the landscape as markers of social cohesion and differences. She has recently identified new images of child birth and mothering in ancient Peruvian arts and begun to explore the ways in which complex societies used architecture and infrastructure to disseminate and manipulate ideas about where and what is sacred.  In addition to her academic work, she is a recently published fiction author (Red Phoenix: An Olivia Crane Novel), an accomplished yogi, and budding aerialist.

The CAS will meet at 3:00pm for a social period, with the lecture beginning at 3:30pm at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington. Meetings are open to the public and free of charge.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Looking Ahead to April

Join us on April 28, 2019 at 3:00 pm for a lecture by Dr. Mark Wagner
The Discovery of Lewis and Clark’s
Long-Lost Outpost of Fort Kaskaskia


Evanston Public Library • Community Meeting •  1703 Orrington Ave
Bound to the Western Waters:

Palimpsest Notes

From Bob Stelton

IAAA Annual Meeting
IAAA advises that the date of the Annual Meeting is May 18-19. This conflicts with our CAS May meeting of May 19. Rescheduling in May is a problem even if possible. But I believe members will decide individually.

Summer Safaris
A decision was made was made by the CAS Board scheduling a Summer Safari to the Chicago History Museum. The tentative date and time is 10:00 am June 15.  Any thoughts?
The board discussed the possibility for a 2nd metropolitan safari in late summer. The Newberry Library was mentioned because the Popol Vuh is among ancient and important books in the Newberry collection.

Holiday Luncheon
December 8 is the holiday date for the traditional holiday. During the past two years the occasion was celebrated as a pizza party. After two years the Board indicated desire for a change and the CAS will be checking out possibilities for a catered affair. Now we want to hear from you. Out there in a cloud is a member anxious to become our holiday chair—you know what a chair does—the chair gets someone else to do the work! Please step forward. We need your help finding a caterer and deciding upon dishes to be featured.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A Meeting with the Speaking Stones of La Mojarra Monument 1

Arnold Talk in February Escorts Members into the Ancient Political Past of Mexico 
~ report by Bob Stelton ~

Loyola Professor Philip Arnold spends his summers and some holidays in Veracruz pursuing connections between several archaeological sites such as Matacanela, Totocapan, and Piedra Librada. And he is finding connections between these sites more interesting than influences from other Mayan or Teotihuacan sites. One example that he taught us about was the connections between the Tuxtla Statuette and Stela 1 at Mojarra. The Tuxtla Statuette of a bird beaked (or masked) figure has several glyphs and a Maya-looking long count date of March 162 AD. The Mojarra Stela 1 has two dates: one is 143 and the other 156, both within 20 years of each other. Other features can be compared.

The Mojarra Stela has a lengthy text, but the glyphs and the dates on both sculptures seem to validate each other. The text is Epi-Olmec or Isthmian and is related to the MixeZoque.  The elders of a local family remembered much of a similar language that was helpful to epigraphers. It is about Harvest Mountain Lord, blood-letting and decapitation when taken captive. Certain mountains are in view of both sites. To learn more about the text, you can find online Epi-Olmec Hieroglyphic Writing by Terrance Kaufman and John Juteson. It is fascinating, but you will need about a year to understand it. https:// www.albany.edu/pdlma/ EOTEXTS.pdf

One can also look at the image of a ruler on the stela and try to figure out the accompanying imagery.  A “Fish-Monster” head seems to adorn the ruler’s head and the body trails down beside him. What has been identified as a fin at the top has suggested a large serrated knife to Prof. Arnold. While at another site he and another archaeologist witnessed a farmer plowing his field, who turned up a twosided flat piece of rock. They found two more pieces that fit together forming the image of a large serrated knife!

Dr. Arnold thinks that sometimes what we think is wrong, but it leads to more investigation. It turns out to be good. He explained so much that we would need several more pages to cover everything we learned from his informative and witty presentation.

The CAS thanks you, Dr. Arnold, and hopes to follow your progress as your history of conversations with La Mojarra Monument is expanded.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Keeping It Coastal: Classic Period Politics Along Mexico’s Southern Gulf Lowlands

Speaker: Dr. Philip J. Arnold III


On February 24, we welcome back Dr. Philip “Flip” Arnold, to discuss Classic Period politics in the Southern Veracruz region.
Tuxtlas Statuette

The Southern Gulf Coast of Mexico is best known as home to the Formative Period (1500-500 BC) Olmecs, a precocious culture celebrated for its megalithic artwork. Less established, but no less important, are the political ebbsandflows that marked this region during the heyday of the subsequent Classic Period (AD 300-1000).This presentation charts these Classic Period developments through archaeological, iconographic, and epigraphic data. Previously identified linkages between La Mojarra Monument #1 and the Tuxtlas Statuette are further supported via more recent data from Totocapan and Matacanela, while fieldwork at Teotepec and La Perla del Golfo suggests interaction with other Classic Veracruz cultures up and down the southern Mexican Gulf Lowlands.This new understanding demonstrates that the region’s cultural character, often
La Mojarra Monument #1
Dr. Philip Arnold
attributed to outside forces such as the Lowland Maya or Teotihuacan in Highland Mexico, results instead from an autochthonous (indigenous) development. This appreciation, in turn, offers a more nuanced understanding of the unique expressions that together constitute Classic Veracruz culture.

Our speaker, Philip J. Arnold III, is a Professor of Anthropology at Loyola University Chicago. His archaeological research focuses on the political and economic development of southern Veracruz, Mexico, spanning a period of approximately 3000 years. Dr. Arnold is the author and editor of numerous publications. His most recent volume, coedited with Lourdes Budar, is Arqueología de Los Tuxtlas: Antiguos Paisajes, Nuevas Miradas (2016: Universidad Veracruzana). His faculty webpage is https://www.luc.edu/anthropology/faculty/arnold.shtml .

The CAS will meet at 3:00pm for a social period, with the lecture beginning at 3:30pm at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington. Meetings are open to the public and free of charge.



Members' Day

The January CAS meeting was also officially Members Day which involves the election of officers and the election of 1/3 of the Board of Directors. The slate was elected with the status appellation of Emeritus awarded to Jacqueline Leipold.

Mesoamerican/Ancient Southwestern Trade

Mike Ruggeri Talk in January Explored Evidence of Trade Over Modern Borders

The weather outside was frightful but the company inside was delightful. Twenty three doughty armchair travelers shrugged off Chicagoland subzero temperatures. (The record for Chicago happened to be 27°!) Bad weather would get worse but the CAS carried on with a room filled with members.

Trade ln Ancient Mesoamerica
Michael Ruggeri, retired Professor of History from City Colleges of Chicago, engaged us with a detailed slide show in an area of his expertise in Mesoamerican trade routes.

The various archaeological sites of the U.S. Southwest are always a source of intense interest. Current events may have intensified interest. Mike Ruggeri explained how theobromine, a component remnant of cacao, found in special drinking vessels from various sites in Pueblo Bonito was evidence of usage of chocolate.

Chocolate was the drink of Mesoamerican royalty and cacao beans were also used as currency by Mesoamericans. As such, why would the Mesoamericans want to use it as a trade item? The suggestion is that the desire for turquoise was strong enough to allow cacao use as a trade item. Seems like a sweet deal.

Archaeological exploration has uncovered extensive evidence of trade at Paquime (a/k/a Casas Grande) and also aviculture with evidence of more than 800 macaws and parrots. The acquisition of exotic birds, e.g. “scarlet macaws”, seems to have been for sacrificial rituals. Such ceremonies must have consumed a considerable portion of the economy as evidenced by macaw and parrot aviculture and the sacrifice of hundreds of birds at Paquime.

The excellence of Mike’s presentation was absolutely rewarding, as was our first postmeeting informal dinner at Prairie Moon Restaurant.

Archive