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
[Text from file received from
Dickson Mounds Museum]