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  Illinois Valley Archaeological Society Presentation: Bison Bones Found Along Illinois River   

Illinois Valley Archaeological Society Presentation: Bison Bones Found Along Illinois River

  • Location: ISM Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown
  • Date: Wednesday, September 04, 2013, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

On Wednesday, September 4, 2013, at 7:00 p.m., the Illinois Valley Archaeological Society (IVAS) will host a presentation on a recent bison find at the Dickson Mounds Museum. After a short lecture, visitors will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes into the archaeological laboratory and view the remains on temporary exhibit.  This event is open to the public and free.

In the mid-1990s, while walking the Illinois River bank south of Peoria, Rick Scott found large animal bones that were brought to Dickson Mounds Museum for identification.  The bones proved to be bison, a relatively rare find in Illinois. Follow up excavation at the site produced many other bison remains, among them a partially intact skeleton of a large bull bison that had been killed by Native Americans.  Radiocarbon dating of the remains was instrumental in setting bison hunting in Illinois back nearly 2,000 years.

Long thought to be a unique find that probably would not be soon duplicated, Dickson Mounds archaeologists recently were surprised when similar remains were discovered by Amber and Jake Waymire on the Illinois River bank several miles south of the first discovery.  Excavation at this site revealed numerous bones of an immature bison that clearly had been butchered.  It featured several tool cut marks on the remains.  Some bones were burned from firing and many were broken, the long bones often cracked open to extract marrow either to eat or process into oil. After consumption or removal of the meat, the skeletal remains were simply discarded in a pile.  Since no artifacts were found at the site, when this hunt took place will remain a mystery until determined by radiocarbon dating.

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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