University News

Archaeological Students to Return to East Peoria

May 8, 2002

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MACOMB, IL - - A team of archaeology students and faculty from Western Illinois University and Spoon River College will return in June to continue excavating at the late prehistoric town site in the river bottom near East Peoria.

During the three-week session from Monday, June 10 through Friday, June 28 the group will compete the excavation of a series of temples or public buildings which brought nationwide attention last year, according to Lawrence Conrad, director of the WIU Archaeological Research Lab.

"We also hope there will be time to locate the remains of the stockade or defensive wall which is assumed to surround the site," Conrad added.

Previous excavations at the site reveled a large pit filled with remains of a variety of land and aquatic animals killed in communal hunts and processed in preparation for winter. Excavators recovered more than 1,000 bags of bones, shells, pottery and artifacts from the pit, making it one of the most productive sites excavated in Illinois, Conrad said.

Burned remains of a series of temples or public buildings fronting a public square across from the pyramidal mound which had elevated the chief's house have also been unearthed. Last summer archaeologists began cleaning the floor and plotting the artifacts and remains that survived the fire. The goal of this year's field school will be to complete excavation of the building complex and locate the stockade line, Conrad said.

College students and interested nonstudents over 17 years old may apply to participate in the excavation. Students may enroll for up to three semester hours at either WIU or Spoon River College. Non-credit participants must commit to a minimum two-week stay and pay a fee.

For more information, contact the WIU Archaeological Research Lab, telephone 309-287-1188, e-mail; or contact Spoon River College, telephone 1-800-334-7337, or visit the website at

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