Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Archaeological Identification of Prehistoric Warfare

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

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

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

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

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

Modern Technologies Used on Illinois Site

Joe Wheeler describes Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie deep exploration

~ report by Bob Stelton ~

Modern Archaeological Technologies 

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

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

Fun or Hoax?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please do contact our President, Ray Young, to get on the ballot before the January 26 meeting, or attend and nominate yourself at the meeting.

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

Officers and Board 2020

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

Effective January 31, 2020

Effective January 31, 2020

The Palimpsest

from Bob Stelton

CAS/Saxons & Mississippians

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

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

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

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

Adventuring with the Chicago Archaeological Society

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

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