Alleen Betzenhauser served as a crew member, crew chief, and research assistant through the Central Office and the American Bottom Survey Division for nine years before she became a Research Archaeologist and Site Supervisor at the East St. Louis Mound Complex. She has had the opportunity to excavate and supervise Phase II and Phase III investigations at several Late Woodland and Mississippian period sites located throughout the American Bottom region.
Her interest in archaeology began as an undergraduate student at Boston University where she focused on Mayan Archaeology. While there, she developed a strong interest in the complex societies of the New World. After learning about the great Native American metropolis of Cahokia during her senior year, she decided to shift focus to Mississippian archaeology in Illinois. She moved to Champaign to pursue her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Illinois under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Pauketat.
Alleen completed her dissertation titled, “Creating the Cahokian Community: The Power of Place in Early Mississippian Sociopolitical Dynamics,” in 2011. She incorporated geophysical survey, GIS, excavation, and ceramic and lithic analysis to address how local groups within the American Bottom region negotiated and helped contribute to the construction of the Cahokian community and polity at the beginning of the Mississippian period (ca. A.D. 1050)..
General Interest/Area of Focus
Alleen’s interests broadly construed include the archaeology of complex societies in the New World, community construction, and issues of pre-Columbian urbanism and rurality. Methodologically she is interested in the incorporation of geophysical prospection and GIS in archaeological research and Mississippian and Late Woodland ceramic analysis.
Alleen maintains a strong interest in the transitional Terminal Late Woodland–Mississippian period in the American Bottom region as reflected in and mediated by changes in materiality, architecture, and the construction of communities and space. Currently she is directing the analysis of Terminal Late Woodland and Mississippian ceramic materials recovered over the last four years from the East St. Louis Mound Complex. She recently completed several short reports and a more extensive research report concerning ISAS investigations at several Late Woodland and Mississippian period sites in the American Bottom region and southern Illinois.
2011–present Research Archaeologist, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, American Bottom Field
2003–2011 Archaeological Assistant, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, American Bottom Field
2002–2006 Research and Teaching Assistant, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois,
2010 Midwest Archaeological Conference Student Paper Competition – 1st Place
2012 The Prehistory of Turkey Hill: Archaeological Investigations along Illinois Route 13/15 (FAP-103)
2010 Archaeological Testing Short Report for the Crowley Site (11MS2208), Madison County, Illinois.
2008 Washausen Site Investigations. Illinois Antiquity, 43(2):8.
2008 Archaeological Investigations at Site 11J1196 (Halloween Site) for the Southern Illinois Airport
2008 Archaeological Testing Short Report for the Auburn Sky Site (11MO776), Madison County,
2005 The Old Man Site #3 (11MS342): A Lohmann Phase Farmstead. Illinois Archaeology 14:73-89.
Selected Conference Presentations
2012 (with Robert Rohe) Construction and Conflagration: Contextualizing the Stirling Phase
2012 (with Erin Benson) Terminal Beginnings at the East St. Louis Mound Complex. Paper presented
2012 Stirling Phase Architectural Diversity and Landscape Modification at the East Saint Louis Mound
2010 Don’t Hassle Me, I’m Local: Changing Landscapes of Power in the American Bottom Region. Invited contributor to the symposium “Mobility, Temporality, and Social Memory: Locating Objects and Persons in the Southeast,” organized by Melissa Baltus and Sarah Otten. Presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeology Conference, Lexington, Kentucky.
2010 Accessing the Mississippian Transition in the Southern American Bottom through the
2009 Reevaluating the “Emergent Mississippian” in the American Bottom. Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Iowa City, Iowa.
2008 (with Thomas Zych) Cahokia's Northern Neighbors: Late Mississippian Rural Settlements in the Northern American Bottom. Presented at the 65th Annual Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.
2006 Greater Cahokian Farmsteads: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Diversity. Presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas.