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  Native American Tattooing to be Examined at Dickson Mounds Museum   

Native American Tattooing to be Examined at Dickson Mounds Museum

  • Location: ISM Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown
  • Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

The Illinois Valley Archaeological Society (IVAS) will host a lecture by Aaron Deter-Wolf entitled “The Archaeology and Ethnography of Native American Tattooing" to be presented at Dickson Mounds Museum on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.  This lecture is free and the public is invited to attend.

Tattooing provides a unique insight into Native American culture as vital signals of how these people viewed themselves, what they believed, and how they self-identified.  But the meaning of ancient tattoo designs is only beginning to be unraveled by researchers.  Foremost among these is Aaron Deter-Wolf, State of Tennessee Division of Archaeology, who has been analyzing Native American tattooing for two decades. The prevalence of ancient tattooing locally will bring Aaron to Dickson Mounds to confer with staff archaeologists on their related investigation.

The current fascination with tattooing widely expressed by young and old alike is but the latest expression of body art that has been practiced for millennia in Illinois. When Europeans first came to the Illinois country in 1673, they found that Native American males often were tattooed with intricate designs, sometimes from the neck to the ankles.  However, these people were relatively new proponents of an art form that had been practiced far back into prehistory.

Excavations at Dickson Mounds and other nearby ancient sites have produced numerous specialized tool kits that variously include red paint, bone needles and awls, and sharpening stones for use in tattooing.  An investigation into tattooing at Dickson Mounds currently is being conducted as a part of a publication summarizing 86 years of excavation and research at the site. 

The Illinois State Museum—Dickson Mounds is located between Lewistown and Havana off Illinois Routes 78 and 97. The museum is open free to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day. Tours and special programs are available for groups with reservations. For more information call 309.547.3721 or TTY 217.782.9175 or visit the museum's web site at  Also check out weekly updates on Facebook at “Illinois State Museum – Dickson Mounds”.

For more events at ISM Dickson Mounds Museum.

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