University News

WIU's Archaeological Field School to Continue Summer Work

April 16, 2021

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MACOMB, IL- Western Illinois University's (WIU) Archaeological Field School will resume excavations at the Orendorf prehistoric archaeological site in Fulton County. Through the Anthropology program at WIU, Field School students will have an opportunity to participate in the excavation of an unusual multi-component site this summer.

The Orendorf site is a world-renowned Mississippian village and mound group located on a bluff top, overlooking the central Illinois river valley. It has been the site of numerous WIU excavations since the 1970s, and is made up of at least four settlement sites, which resulted from the relocation of the village several times over more than 150 years.

In the 2021 excavation season, exploration of Orendorf Settlement B (excavated prior to the 2019 season) is planned to resume. Newly-completed subsurface images will help target prehistoric structures and expect to expand the understanding of the sequence, duration and character of this Orendorf settlement, relative to the others.

WIU Assistant Professor Andrea Alveshere said the new dig is expected to expand the understanding of the timeline and character of the Orendorf settlement.

"Settlements C and D were decimated by fire and abandoned with an amazing variety of artifacts left in place, frozen in time, on the house floors," she said. "Whether Settlement B met the same fate will be a major question for the 2019 season."

Although the excavations will be conducted, forensic archaeological field techniques and special considerations for forensic evidence collection will also be discussed and demonstrated.

In partnership with the WIU Foundation, the department has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the cost of equipment, travel, and other necessary expenses for participating students. For more information, or to make a gift, visit

Posted By: Lissette Cavazos (
Office of University Communications & Marketing