Collaborative Research Engagement

Collaborative Research Engagement

Much of the archaeological heritage in what is now the State of Illinois is ancestral to Indigenous peoples forcibly removed from these lands and more recently to enslaved peoples forcibly brought to these lands. ISAS’s newest section, Collaborative Research Engagement, was created to better serve the descendant communities in Illinois through collaborative preservation, research, and promotion. Descendant communities include the many sovereign Tribal Nations whose ancestors lived in and shaped these lands since time immemorial, the descendants of the enslaved peoples and freed Black communities whose ancestors forged their lives here, and the descendants of other marginalized groups and disenfranchised communities. ISAS is committed to improving relationships, building equitable and reciprocal partnerships, and collaborating with descendant communities on the study, education, and protection of their cultural heritage in the state of Illinois.

5 men in field
Figure 1. ISAS archaeologists (right), site landowner (left), and Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Logan York (middle) discuss preservation of the Noble-Wieting cultural site.


The Collaborative Research Engagement Section is headed by Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Watts Malouchos out of the American Bottom Field Station in Collinsville, Illinois. Liz first worked for ISAS as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois and returned in 2020 after earning her doctorate at Indiana University and working as a Research Scientist at the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. As Section Head and the Collaborative Research Liaison, Liz facilitates the development of relationships and research with descendant communities.

Liz Watts Malouchos

Figure 2. Watts Malouchos recording a late precontact vessel from southeast Missouri/northeast Arkansas.

people looking at Cahokia mounds

Figure 3. ISAS archaeologists stop and discuss Monks Mound while hosting the Peoria Tribe Business Committee for a tour of Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.

Projects and recent events

  • Research consultations and collaborative preservation efforts at the late precontact Noble-Wieting cultural site near Heyworth, IL (Figure 1)
  • investigating the relationships between central and northeast Arkansas and the Angel Phase of the Lower Ohio at the behest of the Quapaw Nation (Figure 2)
  • Hosting the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma Business Committee for a visit to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (Figure 3)
  • Hosting the Intersections of Indigenous Knowledge and Archaeology virtual lecture series that centers the experiences, research and knowledge of Indigenous scholars, leaders and artisans (