Tuesday, June 12, 2012
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Open house at Morton Village excavations

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[June 12, 2012]  LEWISTOWN -- Dickson Mounds Museum invites the public to an open house Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to view excavations at the Morton Village, a prehistoric Native American site that dates to about A.D. 1350.

The excavations, which began on May 22 and run through June 30, are being conducted by the Michigan State University Archaeological Field School and Dickson Mounds staff. Numerous houses as well as many storage and cooking pits have been found. Recovered artifacts include pottery, arrow points and stone hoes. Remains of plants and animals used for food are also common.

Work at the site, which began in 2008, is a joint venture of Dickson Mounds Museum and Dr. Jodie O’Gorman of Michigan State University, with the cooperation of The Nature Conservancy. The site is located on land at the north end of the Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, about two miles northeast of Dickson Mounds Museum.

The Morton Village contains evidence of use by two groups that archaeologists refer to as Mississippian and Oneota. Indians of the Mississippian culture lived in the area for several centuries starting about A.D. 1000; their living sites and cemeteries are common in the region around Dickson Mounds. Oneota is a cultural tradition centered in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Illinois. However, in the last 25 years several large villages and cemeteries belonging to the Oneota tradition have been identified in the Dickson Mounds area.

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The research at Morton Village seeks to understand why Oneota groups expanded into the region, how they adapted to the new setting and the nature of the relationship between Oneota and Mississippian groups. Previous excavations at other sites have shown that the two groups may have sometimes conflicted violently, but evidence uncovered at Morton Village indicate Mississippian and Oneota people may have lived at the site together.

The excavation site is on the west side of Illinois Route 78 and 97 about 0.4 mile south of the junction with U.S. 24, which is one mile east of Lewistown on U.S. 24. Maps are available at Dickson Mounds Museum.

[Text from file received from Dickson Mounds Museum]

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