Colonial Heritage Project

Colonial Heritage Project

To most residents of modern-day Illinois, the fact that we were part of French and British colonies for a century is barely apparent. Long before the American Revolution, families of French descent built homes, cultivated fields, engaged in the fur trade, and established towns along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. These European settlements were intricately linked to a number of Native American tribes, who had established their own colonial period communities in the region during the seventeenth century.


The Colonial Heritage Program was established by the Illinois State Archaeological Survey in 2005. This research and education based program is designed to actively define, record, investigate, and preserve colonial-era archaeological sites; to synthesize these remains with the written record of the era; to promote these resources within extant descendant communities; and to provide interpretive publications and programs for scholars and the general public. The focus of the program is on archaeological, historical, and architectural resources affiliated with the Protohistoric (1600–1673), French Colonial (1673–1765), British Colonial (1765–1783), and Early American Frontier (1783–1815) periods of the Midwest.

About the project

Sites and Research


Artifact Tutorials