Hwy 106 Lift Bridge, Florence, IL


Historics Section

ISAS’s Historics Section identifies, evaluates, and documents historic period archaeological and architectural resources across the state. With funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the staff of historical archaeologists and architectural historians participate in all levels of archival research, survey, evaluation, and reporting of significant historic resources encountered by ISAS. This work helps to balance the need for development and economic growth in Illinois with archaeological and architectural preservation. Protecting historic sites and structures in our communities benefits every part of the state. Our Central Offices in Champaign-Urbana house the Historics Section offices.




Historical Archaeology

ceramic artifacts

Ceramic artifacts from Randolph County Illinois

Historical Archaeology is a multidisciplinary field combining archaeological data with written historical records and other documents to study the past. Historical archaeology in the Midwest begins with European colonization in the seventeenth century and aims to understand the development of the modern world through local contexts. Illinois contains a variety of historic period archaeological sites such as early settlements, fortifications, farmsteads, industrial sites, shipwrecks, and many others. The goal of the Historics Archaeologist at ISAS is to study, preserve, and disseminate information about Illinois’s diverse heritage through research and preservation activities.



Historic Architecture

man operating a drone over the Thebes courthouse

ISAS Geospatial Analyst John Lambert operating a drone outside of the Thebes Courthouse; Thebes, IL.

Architectural historians help to preserve Illinois’s architecture and cultural identity by researching and recording significant structures throughout the state. ISAS studies a variety of resources including buildings, historic districts, canals, and bridges. Using tools like archival research, GIS data, drones, and digital photography, ISAS seeks to document the historic resources found in our built environment. This information helps to ensure that state-funded infrastructure projects are sensitive to the cultural heritage of Illinois by facilitating historic preservation and outreach in IDOT’s planning process. ISAS architectural historians have produced over 130 surveys and reports in the last 5 years.