Calendar of Events
Western Illinois Society
Archaeological Institute of America


Monday, September 13, 2004
“The Weavers-Wasn't That a Time: Recent Investigations at a 1600-Year-Old Village in Northwest Illinois”
Richard Fishel
, Staff Archaeologist, Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program, The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
7:30 P.M.
in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Recent archaeological investigations by the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program (ITARP), The University of Illinois, at an extensive Weaver-age (ca. A.D. 250-600) village in northwestern Illinois promise to add significant new information pertaining to this little-known Late Woodland time period. The Marseton 2 site (11MC71) is a 17-acre village located within the Mississippi River valley in Mercer County, Illinois, southwest of Rock Island. ITARP investigations in the fall of 2003 at Marseton 2 involved the complete excavation of an artifact-laden cultural midden buried beneath 2-4 feet of flood deposits, as well as the excavation of 185 pit features. Artifacts recovered from the village number in the hundreds of thousands and include hundreds of projectile points, near-complete ceramic vessels, copper beads and awls, and obsidian, as well as a generous faunal assemblage that includes antler batons, awls, and drilled turtle carapaces. 

Thursday, September 23, 2004
“From Hisarlık to Hollywood: The Architectural Development of Troy through the Ages”
William Aylward, Department of Classics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
7:30 P.M., Olin Auditorium, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois

This illustrated lecture presents the archaeological evidence for the appearance of the city of Troy (Ilion) from the Bronze Age to Roman times.  Knowledge of Troy from archaeological science is weighed against that from art, literature, and the popular imagination.

Thursday, October 7, 2004
“The Carved Bones Art as an Independent Tradition in Anyang”
Wang Ying, Department of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
7:30 P.M.
in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The carved bone spatulas uncovered at the Shang royal tombs at Anyang are extraordinary objects produced exclusively during the the Anyang period (circa 1300-1046 BCE). The carved patterns of animistic and geometric motifs, seen on both sides of these bone objects, find close parallels on bronzes from the same site. Such resemblances have led a number of scholars to conclude that these decorative motifs, as well as the artistic styles used to decorate these bone artifacts, are mere transliterations of contemporaneous bronze vocabulary in a different medium. However, a close examination of these bone artifacts reveals that the Anyang bone carving tradition evolved from a rather complex background. A comparison of the carved bone patterns with pottery and bronze designs of pre-Anyang periods indicates that the Anyang bone art was inspired by both pre-Anyang artistic traditions and others originating from cultures outside the Shang domain. These bone artifacts encompassed ideas resulted from cultural exchanges between Anyang and its neighbors. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2004
“Chasing  A Roman Soldier”
Dr. James Russell, Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies,  University of British Columbia
7:30 P.M.
in  Morgan Hall 101A, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois|
The story begins with the discovery in southern Turkey of a fragment of a bronze tablet inscribed in Latin.  This proved to be an example of the diplomas issued to non-citizen soldiers of the Roman auxiliary army certifying the grant of full rights of citizenship awarded to veterans at the time of their discharge.  Even in its fragmentary state it contains a wealth of information about the recipient, his rank, the province where he was serving at the time of his discharge, and even something of his family circumstances.
     In this lecture I attempt to bring the owner of this diploma to life, tracing his career from his enlistment around AD 112 during the reign of Trajan until his discharge towards the end of Hadrian's reign 25 years later.  From archaeological evidence drawn from different parts of the Roman world I shall illustrate the military context in which he served.  We shall accompany him on his travels as he moves with his unit from his homeland in Asia Minor through different parts of the eastern Roman empire, his probable involvement in Trajan's Parthian campaigns on the Euphrates frontier, a period of peace-time service in Egypt, the grim circumstances encountered at the end of his career when he was transferred to Judaea to participate in crushing the Jewish rebellion led by Bar-Kokhba (AD 132-135) and his final return to his native land to spend his retirement years.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
“Rome and her Caledonian Neighbors” Click here for photo.
Dr. James Russell, Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia
7:30 P.M.
in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

A review of the Roman invasion of northern Britain under the governor Julius Agricola during the years A.D. 79-84.  The lecture will include a description of the northern tribes of Britain at the time of the invasion, based on the archaeological evidence for their strongholds and living conditions.  I shall especially emphasize the value of aerial photography and recent excavations in reconstructing the movements of the Roman army and the arrangements made to garrison the newly won territories.  I shall also attempt to reconstruct the final campaign that led to the final defeat of the Caledonians at Mons Graupius and how new archaeological evidence has enhanced Tacitus's famous description of this battle.  The lecture concludes with the circumstances that led to the Roman withdrawal from their recently won northern territories and some speculation on the failure of the Romans to hold northern Britain on a permanent basis.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
“Roads to the Past: Highway Sponsored Archaeology in Western Illinois”
David Nolan, Coordinator of the Western Illinois Survey Division for the
Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
7:30 P.M.
in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The lecture will describe the basic processes used to find, document, evaluate, and excavate archaeological remains located in the paths of proposed highway projects. The discussion will also highlight the results of recent archaeological investigations undertaken in the west central portion of the State, including the discovery of remains from the Old French Village of Peoria.

Monday, March 21, 2004
“Meso-American Idols: Searching for Gods and Monsters in Middle America”
Victor Martinez, Ph.D. candidate in Archaeology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
7:30 P.M.
in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The identities and mythologies of many figures that appear on Mesoamerican monuments remain controversial, at best. Assigning identities allows one to produce persuasive stories or to relate them to known mythologies, such as the Popol Vuh.  This lecture presents a few Pre-Classical monuments from the Gulf Coast and Central Mexico and reviews some of the problems with integrating text and myth. 

Thursday, April 7, 2005
“Drawing in Ancient Egypt: the Foundation of the Arts”
William H. Peck, Curator of Ancient Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts
7:30 P.M. in the Huff Center Classrooms 1012 A & B, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

In this lecture the education, methods and practices of ancient Egyptian artists are investigated to illustrate the processes by which the various arts of Egypt -painting, sculpture and the so-called minor arts- were accomplished. There are in existence many trial, studies and preparatory drawings, discarded by ancient artists but preserved by the nature of the material on which they were drawn, mainly pot shards and limestone chips. The immediacy of many Egyptian drawings is in contrast to the finished works of art for which they were often the preparation, giving us a fresh and somewhat novel appreciation of the anonymous artists who produced them.

This material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any questions, you can contact him at