Archived Articles

Archived Articles


Illinois Scholars Awarded NEH Fellowships
[Dec. 9, 2014]

Fort dig hits pay dirt
[Oct. 29, 2014]

Forgotten fort was a part of the War of 1812
[updated Oct. 29, 2014]

‘No one’s touched this in 200 years’: Archaeological crews search Fort Johnson site in Warsaw
[updated Oct. 27, 2014]

Dig seeks clues about European, Indian interaction
[updated Oct. 13, 2014]

Archaeologists dig in Brooklyn, IL for Signs of slave-freeing founder Priscilla Baltimore
[updated Sept. 8, 2014]

Brooklyn, founded by former slaves, may be listed as national historic site
[updated Sept. 3, 2014]

Kathy Lawton Brown from the Radio Arts Foundation interviews Dr. Joseph Galloy, Miranda Yancey-Bailey, and Nathaniel O'Bannon III about ongoing efforts to promote the African-American historical legacy of Brooklyn, Illinois
[updated July 24, 2014]

200 Years Later: The Burning of Fort Johnson and the War of 1812
Recent work: May 2014 excavations
[posted May 27, 2014]

Transportation Corridors: Layers of Roads, Layers of History by Brad H. Koldehoff
[posted May 19, 2014]

Vermilion County mounds may be connected to Cahokia The News-Gazette
[updated May 1, 2014]

Sacrificial and Common Graves Alike Reveal Diversity in Ancient City of Cahokia
[posted April 15, 2014]

ISAS assists development of Warner Collection exhibit at the Ballard Nature Center
[posted April 7, 2014]

The article 'An Examination of Historic Trade' (by Julian Smith) in the Spring 2014 issue of American Archaeology focuses on Duane Esarey's research of the manufacture and trade networks of historic marine shell ornaments.
[posted March 25, 2014]

Early settlement excavations topic of IVAS meeting

Robert Mazrim, of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, discussed the frontier in the central Illinois region as seen through the eyes of an archaeologist in his presentation “Archaeological Reflections of the American Frontier in Illinois” at Wednesday’s meeting of the Illinois Valley Archaeological Society at Dickson Mounds Museum.
[posted March 10, 2014]

The Brooklyn Illinois Project Video

A new video produced by ISAS highlights ongoing efforts by Brooklyn, Illinois community leaders and ISAS researchers to document and preserve important landmarks of this early African-American settlement. Cooperative efforts between ISAS researchers Miranda Yancey-Bailey and Dr. Joseph Galloy and Brooklyn community leaders such as Roberta Thompson Foster have led to the inclusion of the Quinn A.M.E. chapel in Brooklyn into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, sponsored by the National Park Service.
Brooklyn’s location directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis made it an important location in the Underground Railroad in the early-mid 19th century. A number of Brooklyn residents—Priscilla “Mother” Baltimore, William Paul Quinn, and Thomas Osborn—were instrumental in assisting former slaves to freedom.
[posted February 25, 2014]

The Archaeological Discoveries Made Possible By The New Mississippi River Bridge

St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discusses the analysis of the East St. Louis Site with Brad Koldehoff, IDOT Chief Archaeologist and Dr. Joseph Galloy, ISAS Research Coordinator of the American Bottom Field Station.
[posted February 6, 2014]

Chenoweth museum display


Emerson and Pauketat Attend Inaugural Shanghai Archaeology Forum (SAF)

ISAS Director Thomas Emerson and Prof. Timothy Pauketat (ISAS Survey Affiliate) were invited guests of the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, at the SAF, August 22-27 August, 2013 held in Shanghai, China.
[posted November 30, 2013]

PRI and Forest Preserves District of Cook County join for long-term management of natural and cultural resources

The unprecedented effort will create a powerful mapped database and decision-making system for land management in the Forest Preserves.
[posted November 27, 2013]

Historic archaeology at ISAS

A new exhibit at the Western Illinois Museum in Macomb, Illinois, features artifacts excavated by ISAS archaeologists at the early-mid 19th century historic Chenoweth site. Selected objects including bottles, ceramics, coins, and toys illustrate the daily life of early historic occupants in western Illinois.
[posted November 25, 2013]

Williamson County road project sparks archaeological dig
[posted October 21, 2013]

The Piasa: Bird Imagery is Just a Myth, by Dr. Duane Esarey [, October 10, 2013]

2012 ISAS Annual Report now available

Summary and Highlights of ISAS work in 2012
[posted September 27, 2013]

WCIA sends reporter to Collins Site

In a WCIA “Joe Do My Job” news segment, reporter Joe Barlow talks with Amanda Butler and Doug Jackson about the Collins Site.
Part 1
Part 2
[posted August 26, 2013]

Dr. Thomas E. Emerson becomes Illinois’ First State Archaeologist

With the August 14th signature of Public Act 098-0346 by Governor Quinn, the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) formally became one of the State Scientific Surveys comprising the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. Dr. Thomas E. Emerson was appointed to fill the new position of State Archaeologist that was created as part of the Act. His 40 years of involvement in Illinois archaeology provides a solid foundation for his new position as Illinois’ first State Archaeologist.
[posted August 22, 2013]

East St. Louis Excavations Video Short

Chris Sabo, a film student at the time, created this video about ISAS excavations in East St. Louis ahead of the construction of a new Mississippi River bridge (now known as the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge).
[posted July 2, 2013]

Digging for a glimpse of the past at future site of overpass project
[ May 29, 2013]

ISAS researchers application for chapel in Brooklyn, IL for inclusion in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom accepted by the National Park Service
[ January 3, 2013]

Finishing the job: Research and write up of the Saukenauk Site
[American Archaeology, Spring 2013]

Effort to study mounds and ancient site preservation underway
[ January 30, 2013]

Rethinking an Ancient Artifact
[University of Illinois LAS News January 2013]

ISAS researchers to submit chapel in Brooklyn, IL for inclusion in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
[ January 3, 2013]

Brooklyn, IL History a Mix of Oral and Written Traditions
[ January 2, 2013]


Study of Pipestone Artifacts Overturns a Century-Old Assumption
[News Bureau, University of Illinois December 18, 2012]

Prairie Research Institute Hosts Lightning Talks
[The News Gazette November 29, 2012]

ISAS Awards Charles J. Baries Research Assistantships-2012
[November 21, 2012]

Academic Minute with Dr. Thomas E. Emerson (ISAS Director) on Ritual Black Drink Consumption at Cahokia
[Inside Higher Ed November 15, 2012]

Illinois River Blockhouse Search by ISAS Continues

ISAS archaeologists have been searching for the "Illinois River Blockhouse" this past year. Documentary research and advanced scouting efforts identified a stone foundation suspected as being part of the blockhouse.
[October 10, 2012]

ISAS Examines the Remains of 280-Year Old French Fort

This fall, the Illinois State Archaeological Survey will resumed its investigations at one of the most significant French colonial sites in the Midwest: the site of the 1732 Fort de Chartres.
[October 1, 2012]

Site in Grafton May Be Military Outpost

Representatives from the University of Illinois and volunteers worked on an archeological dig in a wooded area between Grafton and Pere Marquette State Park which is suspected to be a block house used to monitor the Illinois River at the onset of the War of 1812. Part of the block foundation was being uncovered as the archeologists looked for definitive evidence of a military presence, such as a military uniform button or weapon parts.
[The Telegraph (Alton) September 24, 2012]

Illinois Archaeology Awareness Month

September is Archaeology Awareness Month in Illinois. This year’s theme highlights the archaeology of the War of 1812 in the Illinois County. Since 2003 ISAS has been involved in excavations at Fort Johnson in Warsaw, Illinois.
[September 17, 2012]

ISAS Work at War of 1812 Forts Featured in Illinois Archaeology Awareness Month Poster
[September 17, 2012]

ISAS Staff Updates
[September 7, 2012]

ISAS Archaeologists Attend Vessel Reconstruction Workshop
[September 6, 2012]

Richard Morris Hund Fellowship Recipient Tours Cahokia with ISAS
[September 5, 2012]

ISAS Staff Restores the Collins Mound Complex in East-Central Illinois
[September 4, 2012]

2011 ISAS Annual Report Now Available

Summary and Highlights of ISAS work in 2011
[August 30, 2012] 

Researchers Find Evidence of Ritual Use of ‘Black Drink’ at Cahokia
[University of Illinois News Bureau Release, August 6, 2012]

Archaeological Team Uncovers Ancient Suburb, Makes Way for Redevelopment
[STL Beacon July 18, 2012]

NPR Weekend Edition: Ancient Suburb Near St. Louis Could Be Lost Forever
[NPR June 2, 2012]

New Mississippi River Bridge Project: Feature 2000 Preservation Plan
[May 25, 2012]

“Rare Jewels” of Gem City Preserved

Preservation work at Indian Mounds Park in Quincy, Illinois
[March 27, 2012]

Indian Mounds Park: A Celebration and Blessing of the Mounds
[March 27, 2012]

Advisory Council for Historic Preservation Picks the Recent Illinois FHWA-IDOT/MOA on Historic Archaeology Sites as a Case Study Example of a “Best Practices” for Nationwide SHPOs

The selection of a recently executed Statewide Programmatic Agreement for the Mitigation of Adverse Effects to Euro-American Tradition Archaeological Sites in the State of Illinois by the ACHP is an mark of the quality and professionalism of IDOT's Transportation Archaeology program under the leadership of of Dr. John Walthall (recently retired) and Brad Koldehoff, IDOT.
[March 26, 2012]

Digging up dirt on a lost city
[ January 5, 2012]

The Lost City of Cahokia
[ January 3, 2012]


Found mound in East St. Louis
[The State Journal Register December 31, 2011]

Mound preservation in Quincy, IL
[Quincy Herald-Whig December 24, 2011]

America’s Lost City
[Science Vol. 334, December 23, 2011]

Prairie Research Institute Hosts Prairie Lightning Symposium
[December 16, 2011]

Building Bridges: IDOT Archaeology and Tribal Consultation
[December 6, 2011]

Hess Farm and the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation
[The Journal-Standard, December 1, 2011]

Northern Illinois Still Shows Signs of Native Americans
[The Journal-Standard, November 24, 2011]

Major Find Unearthed Near Fort de Chartres
[Belleville News-Democrat (, November 13, 2011]

East St. Louis Dig Uncovers Ancient Settlement Interview with Prairie Research Institute archaeologist Brad Koldehoff
[WUIS Public Radio | November 8, 2011]

ISAS Researchers Study Perishable Materials
[November 8, 2011]

New Mummy Insights, No Dissecting Needed
The New York Times, October 31, 2011

Unwrapping a Mummy
[WCIA TV, November 2, 2011]

Pompeii in East St. Louis
[St. Louis Magazine, November 2011]

Experts Reveal New Images, Analyses of Spurlock Museum Mummy
[University of Illinois News Bureau, October 18, 2011]

The East St. Louis Mound Center: America’s Original “Second City”
[Cahokian, Fall 2011]

Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology Association
[October 11, 2011]

ISAS Awards Charles J. Baries Research Assistantships-2011
[October 1, 2011]

ISAS Welcomes New Staff
[October 4, 2011]

Artifact Identification Day at Cahokia Mounds
[October 4, 2011]

Richard E. Martens and Robert J. Reber Win Distinguished Amateur Award
[October 4, 2011]

ISAS Creates Display for Governor’s Tent at the 2011 Illinois State Fair
[September 21, 2011]

Mound Preservation in Quincy, IL
[Quincy Herald-Whig, September 17, 2011]

Where Did the Mississipians Go?
[Belleville-News Democrat, September 6, 2011]

2010 ISAS Annual Report Now Available

Summary and Highlights of ISAS in 2010
[September 2, 2011]

ISAS and IDOT Receive 2011 Environmental Excellence Award

For their efforts on the New Mississippi River Bridge Project, ISAS and IDOT were selected as one of twelve groups from over 125 nominees recognized by the Federal Highway Administration to reward the commitment to deliver projects that protect and enhance the environment, but that also shorten project delivery, advance innovateive technology and "go greener."
[August 31, 2011]

Sangamo Archeological Center Donates Significant pre-Civil War Urban Artifact Assemblage to ISAS

Donation of thousands of artifacts from nearly 100 archaeological features that were filled prior to the Civil War.
[August 12, 2011]

2011 Illinois Archaeology Awareness Month

Saving our Past-Archaeology and Site Preservation
[August 12, 2011]

Photoblog of East St. Louis Excavations
[The State Journal-Register June 26, 2011]

Looking for the Past in a Highway’s Path
[Photo Gallery from story]
[The State Journal-Register June 25, 2011]

Jerry Ransom and John Henry Collection Donations: Preserving Eastern Illinois’ Past for the Future
[June 23, 2011]

Alleen Betzenhauser and Phil Millhouse Successfully Defend Dissertations
[June 23, 2011]

Death on Display: ISAS Researcher Sarah Wisseman (ATAM) Attends Mummy Conference
[June 21, 2011]

ISAS Featured in Prairie Research Institute Article in Inside Illinois
[Inside Illinois, June 16, 2011]

Search for War of 1812 Fort Johnson in Warsaw, IL by ISAS Volunteers and Researchers
[Quincy-Herald Whig June 4, 2011]

Illinois Association for the Advancement of Archaeology (IAAA) 2011 Annual Meeting—ISAS Participates
[May 27, 2011]

State Surveys Become UI Prairie Research Institute
[The News Gazette May 11, 2011]

The Donald Johnson Collection Donated to ISAS
[April 29, 2011]

ISAS Instructor Teaches Archaeology and Science to Community Retirees
[April 29, 2011]

ISAS Awards Charles J. Bareis Research Assistantships to Graduate Students
[April 29, 2011] 

ISAS Excavations at the East St. Louis Mound Center featured in American Archaeology (Spring 2011 Issue)
[April 28, 2011]

ISAS/IDOT Project Notification System Receives Federal Highway Administration Award
[March 31, 2011] 

ISAS Participates in Naturally Illinois Expo 2011
[March 18, 2011]

ISAS Experiments with Cordmarking
[February 9, 2011]

John Henry Collection
[February 7, 2011]

ISAS Staff Celebrates 1,000th Outreach Activity
[Janary 6, 2011]

Cahokia Featured in January 2011 Issue of National Geographic
[January 2011]


ISAS Dig Near East St. Louis Points to Widespread Fire
[Stl. Post Dispatch, December 28, 2010]

ISAS and ATAM Host Second Science and Archaeology Symposium in Urbana 
[November 12, 2010]

ISAS Hosts XRF Workshop
[November 4-5, 2010]

ISAS Uncovers 1850 Artifacts Near Chapin, IL
[ABC Affiliate KHQA [November 18, 2010]

ISAS Staff Member Receives Award
[November 18, 2010]

Why Did American Indians Leave East St. Louis More Than 800 Years Ago? ISAS Archaeologist Explore the Mystery
[Belleville-News Democrate November 4, 2010]

ISAS Excavations of Three Sites Along US Route 67 in Western Illinois
[The Telegraph, Althon, IL July 14, 2010]

ISAS Mentors McNair Scholar Award Winner
[August 18, 2010]

IDOT/ISAS Awarded 2010 Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives and Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative (EHEI/EEI)
[August 3, 2010]

Suburban Journals News Article on ISAS Excavations and the New Mississippi River Bridge Project
[August 1, 2010]

900 Year Old Figurine Uncovered In Illinois

Newspaper article on ISAS excavations in East St. Louis at the Old National Stock Yards
(Belleville-News Democrat)[July 21, 2010]

ISAS Participates in the Illinois Department of Transportation 4th Annual Career Day 2010
Illinois State Fairgrounds– Springfield
Exposition Building
[October 7, 2010]

2010 Archaeology Awareness Month in Illinois

September is Illinois Archaeology Awareness Month, which celebrates and highlights the importance of archaeology in understanding the cultural heritage of Illinois.
Talks, exhibits, and events
•  Illinois 2010 Archaeology Awareness Month Poster—(info on obtaining a poster contact Eve Hargrave)
•  ISAS video

ISAS Discovers mid-1800s Cabin Site (Urbana, IL)

As reported in the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette [PDF]
[posted June 1, 2010]

Illinois Artifact Looter Sentenced

Major looting crime committed at Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. [PDF]
[posted June 1, 2010]


NEW PUBLICATION! Archaic Societies: Diversity and Complexity across the Midcontinent

Available through SUNY Press. Sweeping and detailed, this long-awaited volume is an indispensable guide to the Archaic period across the midcontinent. Archaeologists throughout the region share the latest excavation results and analytical perspectives to reveal and reinterpret the worlds of those Native peoples who lived there for some 9,000 years (up to about 3,000 years ago). Of particular concern is the establishment of relative and absolute chronologies for the Archaic period, the relationships between the artifacts left behind and the peoples who made and used them, and the changing interactions between cultures, climate, and landscape. Archaeologists offer useful, up-to-date overviews of Archaic societies, assessment of stratigraphic sequences, and detailed discussions of finds and interpretations from the Mississippi and Ohio river regions and the Great Lakes. Comprehensive and accessible, this landmark book is a must for anyone wanting to understand a crucial but little-understood period in North America’s prehistory.

Thomas E. Emerson is Director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), a Division of the Institute of Natural Resources Sustainability at the University of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Transportation. At ITARP, Dale L. McElrath is Senior Cultural Resource Archaeologist and Statewide Survey Coordinator, and Andrew C. Fortier is Special Projects Coordinator. Archaic Societies is a companion volume to their Late Woodland Societies: Tradition and Transformation across the Midcontinent.


ITARP Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

This project will assist us in organizing our large collection from the World Heritage Cahokia site that includes materials from some of the earliest work at this mound center under University of Illinois researchers A.R. Kelly and W. Moorehead in the 1930s as well as major excavations by long-time U of I professor Charles J. Bareis.
[posted March 15, 2008]

Illinois Department of Transportation’s Cultural Resources Management Program Nationally Honored

Dr. John Walthall and Illinois Department of Transportation’s cultural resources management program have been honored by being awarded the Society for American Archaeology’s 2008 Award for Excellence in Cultural Resource Management. Dr. Walthall was presented the award in Vancouver, BC at the annual SAA conference this spring. Joining him was his wife, Nina Walthall.
[posted April 3, 2008]

Listing of Transportation Archaeologists and Cultural Resource Managers by State

The list, linked via the ISAS Transportation Archaeology page, includes, at a minimum, a contact point in each state for transportation-related archaeological inquiries.
The list does not attempt to include all archaeological staff. For that information please contact the individual state offices.
Requests for changes to this list should be directed to Wendy Smith French, Assistant Coordinator, Statewide Survey Division, ISAS, University of Illinois at, 217-265-5479.
[posted January 29, 2008]

ITARP 2006 Annual Report
posted December 12, 2007

One of ITARP’s primary mission goals is to disseminate information to both professional audiences and the public at large. Our annual report is designed specifically to provide an overview of the program’s yearly activities for Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and University of Illinois (UIUC) administrators, the archaeological community, and the general public. The contexts of this report reflect the view of the contributors who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contexts do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of IDOT.

ITARP Annual Reports Page

ITARP Archaeological Exhibit Opens at Krannert Art Museum
[posted August 31, 2007]

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dates: August 31, 2007 - June 1, 2008

The Archaeological Heritage of Illinois Exhibit

Prepared by professional archaeologists at the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program (ITARP), this temporary exhibition presents objects of material culture related to native peoples who lived in Illinois from approximately 9500 B.C.E. to C.E. 1800. More than 100 items are on display, including clay figurines, bracelets and other ornaments, spear points and fish hooks, pipes, cooking jars, digging and weaving tools and ceremonial objects of exquisite quality and variety.

Watch Channel 3 News Segment

The French Colonial Heritage Project
[posted April 4, 2007]

ITARP and Sangamo Archaeological Center are proud to announce the French Colonial Heritage Project.

The French Colonial Heritage Project is designed to expand and summarize the understanding of life in French communities during the 18th and early 19th century using archaeological remains and documents from that period.

Please download our three-page flyer filled with all the details of the French Colonial Heritage Project.