The Archaeological Institute of America
Western Illinois Society
Calendar of Events
The Year of Western Illinois Archaeology

Thursday, September 16, 2010

“Roman Spectacle in the Greek East”

Hazel Dodge, Trinity College, Dublin, Kress Lecturer  (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Since the 19th century the traditional perception has held that the Greek provinces of the Roman Empire were somehow more ‘civilized’ than the Western Provinces, and therefore could not have indulged in such blood sports as the gladiatorial displays so typical of other parts of the Roman world. And yet there is a wealth of evidence from the Eastern provinces (particularly Greece and Asia Minor) for gladiatorial and other arena displays in the form of epigraphy, sculpted reliefs, and literary notices, as well as remains now of the gladiators themselves, with the discovery at Ephesus of the only known gladiator cemetery. This ‘civilised’ view has been held despite the fact that a large body of the sculptural and epigraphic material was actually published in the 1940s by Louis Robert.  Why should this be?  It is partly because of the hierarchy in which western scholarship since the 18th century has ranked Greek and Roman cultures.  More recently Hollywood has perpetuated this in such films as Spartacus and Gladiator which emphasize the violence and barbarity of the Roman arena with little reference to the original social and political context of the spectacles. This lecture will review the evidence for Roman Spectacles in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the venues which were developed to accommodate them.


 Monday, September 27, 2010

“The 2010 Excavations at Dhiban, Jordan”

Danielle Fatkin, Assitant Professor of History, Knox College  (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Summary: This lecture provides both an update and general background regarding the on-going research of the Dhiban Excavation and Development Project. In 2010, team members successfully completed the first stage of an on-site survey and can now elucidate the most recent periods of site settlement, from the Classical and medieval periods. In addition, the survey recovered vital information about the past environment and some as-yet unknown periods in the site's history. 2010 was also an important year for the project's relationship with the modern community of Dhiban as the team sponsored an art show of photographs from the project. This lecture explains the recent discoveries and reveals the team's future plans. For more about the DEDP, visit our website:


Thursday, October 14, 2010

“The Monmouth College North American Artifact Collection”
Formal Opening and Reception

6:00 P.M. in the Hewes Library, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois


Thursday, October 14, 2010

“History From Under Your Feet and From Under Your Wheels: Highlights of Archaeological Research in Western Illinois”
Keynote Lecture for the “Year of Western Illinois Archaeology”

Lawrence A. Conrad, Emeritus Director of the Western Illinois University Archaeological Research Laboratory (

7:30 P.M. in the Dahl Chapel, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Like the archaeological record itself, the history of archaeological research in Western Illinois is long, rich and varied. This presentation will  touch on some of the more important people, undertakings, discoveries and studies which have shaped our understanding of the cultures occupying the region for 13,000 years before the coming of the French. Contributors range from professional anthropologists with institutional backing who have conducted major excavations to concerned, intelligent laymen who have carefully assembled and preserved surface collections such as the one recently donated to Monmouth College.


Thursday, October 28, 2010
the needy are always adventurous:” Archaeological Investigations of Roanoke Island, NC, and the “Lost Colony”
Luke J. Pecoraro,
Department of Archaeology, Boston University

7:30 P.M. in the Ferris Lounge of Seymour Union at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois
Four hundred and twenty three years ago, 110 English men, women and children established an outpost on Roanoke Island, destined to go down in history as the “Lost Colony,” due to their mysterious disappearance by 1590. Land thought to be the location of the 1587 settlement was incorporated into a National Part in the 1930’s, and explored archaeologically through several field seasons from 1950 to the present. Current research and excavation by the First Colony Foundation , a non-profit research team, will be presented in this lecture, as well as directions for the future of archaeology on the Roanoke Colony.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
“A Chemist Wanders into Archaeology”
Alton Hassell,
Department of Chemistry, Baylor University (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

This talk covers the basics of field archaeology, the reasons to dig at Tel Malhata, and some of the results of the several seasons of digging at Tel Malhata. The basics of archaeology in the field include how a dig is set up on site as well as what tools are used and how. Tel Malhata is one of a series of forts across the southern edge of Judah, fortified during the sixth century B.C. Pictures of the site and maps indicating its importance will be shown. Evidence of site use over a range of 6000 years helps to show the site importance and makes the finds interesting and exciting.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010
“Illinois' First Pioneers: The Paleoindian and Archaic Peoples of Illinois”

Brad H. Koldehoff, RPA, Cultural Resource Coordinator, Illinois State Archaeological Survey

Illinois Department of Transportation (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

This lecture will focus on the earliest archaeological evidence of human settlements in Illinois.  These ancient ancestors of the Native Americans that met Columbus and other early European explorers were the first explorers of North American, and they arrived sometime during the close of the last Ice Age, around 13,000 years ago. They hunted large now-extinct Ice-Age mammals. like mammoth and mastodon. Then, around 10,000 year ago, after the present-day climate began to develop, they hunted deer, fished, and gathered plant resources, like hickory nuts.


Monday, February 7, 2011

“Craig Mound Cosmology: Reconstructing the Great Mortuary at Spiro”

James A. Brown, Chair, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The main cone of the Craig Mound at the Spiro site, located in eastern Oklahoma, was the source of a famous trove of Mississippian artifacts. Past interpretations have assumed that the artifacts were burial goods for elite graves. New insights have rejected the elite graves premise and led to an emphasis on the objects as elements that map a cosmology, in which the graves were merely adjunct.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

“Native American Life in Illinois during the Woodland Period: A Time of Dramatic Change”

Michael Wiant, Director, Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, Illinois (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

The Woodland Period (circa 2500 to 1000 years ago) is a time of dramatic change in technology, economy, and religion, in a sense a renaissance of Native American culture.  Among the hallmarks of Woodland culture are substantial advancements in both the technical and aesthetic characteristics of pottery making; the appearance of an unprecedented lithic blade technology and advances in stone working in general; an increase in the number and variety of cultivated native plants and more sophisticated subsistence strategies; the acquisition of distant resources; and the development of elaborate funeral customs that suggest a more complex society.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

“Ancient Cahokia, Astronomy, and American Indian Religion: Some Surprising New Discoveries”

Timothy R. Pauketat, Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (

7:30 P.M. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

There is new evidence that Cahokians, those American Indians who built the continent's only pre-Columbian city, also built a new religion and carried it to distant lands. The new evidence consists of two lunar observatories near Cahokia and one sun temple complex far to the north in Wisconsin. Years of large-scale excavations on the Illinois side of the river indicate that religious pilgrimages to these shrines were possibly the primary reasons that explain why Cahokia became Cahokia. Excavations last year in Wisconsin located the likely homes, foreign possessions, and hilltop sun temple complex of Cahokia’s priests.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“The Archaeology of Archaic Cretan Houses”

Margaret Mook, Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Iowa State University (

7:30 P.M. in  the Hansen Hall of Science 304,  Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois

The Archaic houses at Azoria, in eastern Crete, were built in the early 6th century BCE, and demonstrate construction of social space that remained architecturally unchanged in an urban center until the site’s destruction in the early 5th century BCE. Individual house plans vary across the site, but all have basic elements in common: a kitchen, main hall, and storeroom.  The halls, or the main living rooms of the houses, are spacious and regular in form and there is a direct connection between halls and storerooms.  Kitchens, on the other hand, are usually disconnected from storerooms and often accessible only through an exterior corridor or courtyard.  These room arrangements demonstrate the segregation of activities in the household and the role of the hall in controlling both display of agricultural storage and access to it.  The fiery destruction and subsequent abandonment of the site resulted in excellent preservation of many possessions and household activities, especially evidence for food storage and processing, cooking, and dining.  The houses at Azoria contribute to our understanding of the form and function of the house in the Greek Aegean and the integration of domestic space in an urban context.