SAF Field Discovery Award

Exchange Ave. figurine

ISAS Wins International Award for Excavations in East St. Louis

Shanghai Archaeological Forum (SAF) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing has named the Illinois State Archaeological Survey’s (ISAS) East St. Louis Archaeological Project as one of the top ten archaeological field projects in the world. The project is being recognized at SAF’s December meeting in China. The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

SAF Field Discovery Awards (Major Archaeological Field-Discoveries)

Shanghai Archaeology Forum awardThe SAF Field Discovery Awards are presented for archaeological excavations or surveys that have yielded major discoveries significantly furthering or even altering our knowledge of the human past, locally and/or globally. To be eligible for this award, the nominated work must be a scientific archaeological excavation or survey, legally authorized in the country where it was undertaken. The principal investigator responsible for the nominated work must hold an internationally recognized qualification for archaeological excavation or survey in the country where the nominated work was carried out.

Thomas E. Emerson, ISAS Director said, “I am extremely proud that the accomplishments of all our staff are receiving recognition in this international forum. It is especially a tribute to our American Bottom Field Station staff who through four years of almost continuous field work accomplished the amazing feat of excavating nearly 1500 late prehistoric houses, thousands of features and heretofore unknown mound from this ancient buried first city in North America. It is a tribute to the teamwork of all ISAS’ staff across the organization that this was possible. I truly appreciate it and the opportunity to be part of this process.”

The East St. Louis Archaeological Project was part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s New Mississippi River Bridge Project. From 2009–2012 ISAS conducted the largest archaeological excavation in the nation ahead of bridge construction. Analysis of the site is ongoing.

SAF Field Discovery Award frontSAF Field Discovery Award back

For more information about the archaeological work please visit

The award presentation program [pdf]

[Posted December 15, 2015]