Dr. Duane E. Esarey

Staff Directory

Dr. Duane E. Esarey

Dr. Duane E. Esarey

Assistant Director

Ph.D. Anthropology, University of North Carolina– Chapel Hill

 Email Dr. Esarey
 (217) 300-4437
 Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

General Interest/Area of Focus

Duane joined Special Projects at ISAS in 2013. His research interests are focused on the archaeology of eastern North America, especially Illinois.

Concentrating on the archaeology of the Central Illinois River Valley and western Illinois, Duane spent over 25 years at Western Illinois University and the Dickson Mounds branch of the Illinois State Museum before pursuing his PhD at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. Duane’s research interests have focused on Archaic through Colonial periods, with special attention to Colonial period, protohistoric, and post-800 A.D. prehistoric topics.

Current Research

Duane’s most recent Illinois research integrates cartographic, ethnographic, linguistic and historical evidence to provide a new and unified resolution of the 300-year-old mystery of the iconological and mythological significance of the Alton, Illinois “Piasa” account first recorded by Father Jacques Marquette in 1673.

His recently completed dissertation at University of North Carolina (entitled “Another Kind of Beads: A Forgotten Industry of the American Colonial Period”) provides the first definition and analysis of a standardized marine shell ornament industry that originated at the very beginning of the Northeast’s Dutch Colonial period.

Previous Position

Assistant Curator of Anthropology, Illinois State Museum/Dickson Mounds

Selected Bibliography


2010 The Archaeology of North Carolina. (Design/production by Duane Esarey, content from Ward and Davis 1993 Time Before History). Online exhibit hosted by University of North Carolina, Research Laboratories of Archaeology.

2007 Rethinking the Dawn of History: The Schedule, Signature, and Agency of European Goods in Protohistoric Illinois (Robert Mazrim and Duane Esarey). Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 32:2:145-200.

2005 On the Conflation of Tonty and Deliette careers in Illinois Country History. Le Journal 21:1

2001 Jacques-Nicholas Bellin. IN An Atlas of Early Maps of the American Midwest compiled by Raymond W. Wood. pp. 6-10 Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers XXIX.

2000 The Late Woodland Maples Mills and Mossville Phase Sequence in the Central Illinois River Valley. IN Late Woodland Societies: Traditions and Transformation across the Midcontinent, edited by Thomas E. Emerson, Dale L. McElrath, and Andrew C. Fortier, pp. 387-410. Nebraska Press. 

1998 The Bold Counselor Phase of the Central Illinois River Valley: Oneota’s Middle Mississippian Margin (Duane Esarey and Lawrence A. Conrad). The Wisconsin Archeologist 79:2:38-61

1997 Seasonal Occupation Patterns in Illinois History: A Case Study in the Lower Illinois River Valley. Illinois Archaeology 9:1&2:164-219.

1994 The Joan Carrie Site: A Short-term Patrick and Dohack Phase Occupation on the American Bottom Bluff Edge (Duane Esarey and Sissel Johannessen). Illinois Archaeology 6:1&2:58-97.

1993 A Survey of Elaborate Mississippian Copper Artifacts from Illinois (Kelvin Sampson and Duane Esarey). In Highways into the Past, edited by T. Emerson, A. Fortier, and D. McElrath. Illinois Archaeology,Volume 5(1&2): 452-480. Illinois Archaeological Survey, Urbana.

1992 The Lohmann Site: An Early Mississippian Center in the American Bottom (Duane Esarey and Timothy R. Pauketat). American Bottom Archaeology - FAI 270 Site Report 25, Urbana, 178 pp.

1992 Observations on Two Tomahawk Pipes from the Central Illinois River Valley. Illinois Archaeology 4:1:38-48.

1990 Archaeological Investigations at the Morton Village and Norris Farms 36 Cemetery (Sharron K. Santure, Alan D. Harn, and Duane Esarey). Illinois State Museum Reports of Investigations 45, Springfield, pp. 258.

1987 The Town Branch Sites: Archaic Encampments on the Bushnell Prairie of West Central Illinois. The Wisconsin Archeologist 68:2:95-124.

1986 Red Ocher Mound Building and Marion Phase Associations: A Fulton County, Illinois Perspective. IN Early Woodland Archeology, ed. Kenneth Farnsworth and Thomas E. Emerson, pp. 231-243. Center for American Archeology Press.

1986 Protohistoric Oneota Material from the Clear Lake Site, Illinois. Journal of the Iowa Archaeological Society 33:75-82.

1984 The Carter Creek Site: A Weaver Phase Ring Midden in the Interior Uplands of West Central Illinois (Duane Esarey, Kelvin Sampson, and Charles Suchy). The Wisconsin Archaeologist 65:2:131-144.

1984 Mississippian and Oneota Period (G. R. Milner, T. E. Emerson, M. E. Mehrer, J. A. Williams and D. Esarey). IN American Bottom Archaeology ed. by C. J. Bareis and J. W. Porter, pp. 158-186. University of Illinois Press.

1984 Emergent Mississippian Period (John E. Kelly, Steven J. Ozuk, Douglas K.Jackson, Dale L. McElrath, Fred A. Finney, and Duane Esarey). IN American Bottom Archaeology ed. by C. J. Bareis and J. W. Porter, pp. 128-157. University of Illinois Press.

Selected Technical Reports and Popular Publications

2013 Occupations at the Ashe Ferry site, York County, South Carolina (Brett H. Riggs and multiple authors including D. Esarey). Report in preparation for South Carolina Department of Transportation by UNC-CH Research Laboratories of Archaeology.

2004 The Late Prehistoric Period. IN Discover Illinois Archaeology, eds. A. Berkson and M.D. Wiant, IAAA/IAS joint publication.

2004 Illinois as a French Colony. IN Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange. Illinois History Teacher Magazine 11:1:9-13

2004 Exploring Seventeenth-Century Illinois (Michael D. Wiant and Duane Esarey). IN Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange. Illinois History Teacher Magazine 11:1:2-5

2000 The Liverpool Lake Site: A Late Woodland Village on the Chautauqua Unit of the Illinois River National Wildlife Refuges, Mason County, Illinois. (D. Esarey, M. D. Wiant, D. E. Harn, T. J. Martin, M. B. Schroeder, and R. E. Warren). ISM-QSC Technical Report 98-767-5, Springfield, 286 pp.

2000 Early Stewardship of Beall Woods. The Illinois Steward 8:4:4-10.

1998 Emiquon: A Place in Nature, A Place in Time (a two part essay). The Living Museum 59:4:3-14 and 60:1:3-15.

1998 The Maples Mills Phase in Regional Perspective (Duane Esarey and Jacqueline A. Ferguson). IN Ancient Life on the Illinois River: Excavations at the Liverpool Landing Site (11F2713), West Central Illinois. ISM Quaternary Studies Program Technical Report No. 97-1076-2, Springfield.

1997 An Evaluation of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Land Claim in Illinois (Duane Esarey and
Michael D. Wiant). ISM-QSC Technical Report 96-000-38, Springfield, prepared for the Illinois Office of the Attorney General, pp.60.

1995 New Exhibits in an Old Place: Origins and Interpretations. The Living Museum 57:1:8-11.

1993 The Ancient Art of Decoy Fishing. The Living Museum 55:1:5-8.

1992 Early Havana Culture Pottery from the Coe Site. Illinois Antiquity 27:2:17-19.

1992 Archaeology in Peril: Illinois Sites Going Down the River. Illinois Antiquity 27:1:7-9.

1991 An 18th-century Spanish Coin from Peoria County, Illinois (Duane Esarey and Frank
Benningfield). Illinois Antiquity 26:3:4-7.

1990 An Archaeological Survey of the Banks of the Illinois River from Naples to Starved Rock Lock and Dam. ISM-QSC Technical Report 90-557-7, submitted to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, 83 pp.

1988 An Archaeological Survey of the Illinois River from Naples to the Peoria Lock and Dam. ISMQSC Technical Report 88-460-10, submitted to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, 69 pp.

1987 Havana’s Hidden Mound. Illinois Antiquity 19:1:6-10.

1986 A New Eddyville Gorget from the Illinois River Valley. The Living Museum 48:3:40-41.

1985 Oneota Occupations Coming to Light in the Illinois River Valley. Illinois Antiquity 17:1:9-11.

1982 Final Report on Phase II Archaeological Investigations on Portions of Amax’s Proposed Littleton Mine Field and Littleton Field Haul Road, Schuyler, McDonough and Fulton Counties, Illinois (Duane Esarey with contributions by Lawrence A. Conrad and William Green). WIU-ARL Reports of Investigations 4, Prepared for Amax Coal Company, 319 pp.

1981 The Orendorf Site: Preliminary Working Papers (complied by Duane Esarey and Lawrence A. Conrad). WIU-ARL Completion Report for Grant 17-10012, Illinois Department of Conservation and United States Department of the Interior, 655 pp.

Recent conference presentations and lectures

2012 Untangling the Piasa’s Tale: Underworld Symbolism at the Heart of the Midcontinent (Duane Esarey and Vincas Steponaitis). Presented in the symposium Interpreting the art, beliefs, and symbolism of the Native people of North America: Papers in honor of Robert L. Hall. Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Baton Rouge, LA, Nov. 7-10, 2012.

2012 Late Woodland Period Occupations at the Ashe Ferry site, York County, South Carolina” (Brett H. Riggs and Duane Esarey). Conference on Native American Archaeological Research in the Catawba/Wateree Valley, 800-1860 A.D. USC Lancaster Native American Studies Program, Lancaster, SC, March 23, 2012.

2011 The 17th Century Northeastern Standardized Marine Shell Ornament Industry. Presented in the symposium Communities, Corridors, and Connections: Modeling Material Culture Markers of Cross-cultural Interaction in the Northeast and Midcontinent, 1500 to 1750. Midwest Archaeological Conference, LaCrosse, WI, Oct. 13-16, 2011.

2010 Symposium discussant. Rediscovering Illinois Yet Again: Early 21st Century Research in the Central Illinois River Valley. Midwest Archaeological Conference, Bloomington, IN October 2010.

2008 Colonialism Before Contact: Interrogating theoretical limitations of contact period archaeology. Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Knoxville, TN, Nov. 2008

2008 Disk Runtees: 17th-century horizon markers of contact and colonialism. Paper presented at the 2008 Midwest Archaeological Conference, Milwaukee, Oct. 2008.

2007 The 17th-century Midwestern Slave Trade in Colonial Context. Midwest Archaeological Conference, South Bend, IN, Oct. 4-6, 2007.

2006 Rethinking the Dawn of History: The Schedule, Signature, and Agency of European Goods in Protohistoric Illinois (Duane Esarey and Robert Mazrim). Midwest Archaeological Conference, Urbana, IL, Oct. 12-14, 2006.

2005 Paleography des Indes: An Overview of the Codex Canadiensis. Presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Dayton, OH. Oct. 23, 2005

2004 Mississippian Spider Redux. Presented at the 2004 meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Society, St. Louis, November 2004.

2004 Mysteries, Misdirection, Mishaps, and Misdeeds: The First 150 Years of Illinois River Maps. Presented for the lecture series “The Rivers’ Course” Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, IL June 13, 2004

2004 Archaeology, geologic history, and the development of the Illinois River floodplain at Emiquon. Presented for the lecture series “The Rivers’ Course” Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, IL April 2004

2004 The Illinois Indians in the 17th and 18th centuries. Presented at the Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education Workshop on Native Americans and Nature June 17, 2004, held at Dickson Mounds Museum.

2003 The Illinois Indians before 1673. Presented at the symposium The Illinois at the Dawn of Prehistory: Views from the Iliniwek Village. Society for American Archaeology, April 9-13, 2003, Milwaukee.

Return to top