Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tribute to Retiring Spirits of CAS

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

Topic: Thank you to the Steltons
Time: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 03:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 923 9367 8138
Passcode: 035657

This article appeared in the September, 2020 issue of our newsletter, CODEX:

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

Bob and Deb Stelton Saluted

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 6, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Meeting ID: 917 5520 0866
Passcode: 580287
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