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Three Rivers Archaeological Society

Chapter Report (2006-2007)

Three Rivers Archaeological Society (TRAS) is now affiliated with the Wisconsin Archeological Society as well as the IAAA. Three Rivers sought affiliation with both societies because of our unique location, on the Illinois- Wisconsin state line. Starting in December of 2005, we began meeting in both states, switching between Beloit College in Wisconsin and the Macktown Historic Site in Illinois. In October of 2006, TRAS officially was recognized as a chapter of the Wisconsin Archeological Society. By affiliating with both groups, TRAS gives its members access to both Illinois Antiquity and The Wisconsin Archeologist. TRAS is working hard to remind both the avocational and professional communities that for the vast majority of "archaeological" time, the state line was non-existent.


TRAS currently has around 20 paid members. More than half are joint members of IAAA and WAS; the others join either one of the parent organizations. Attendance at our meetings averages at 20; participants include members, Beloit College students, faculty, and staff, and visitors. Most first-time attendees learn about our events through announcements in local papers. A few times in 2006, the Beloit Daily News ran feature stories about our events.

TRAS continues its monthly newsletter with a calendar of events, a summary of our last meeting, a reminder for our next meeting, and information about dues, fund raising events, and field opportunities. Half of the newsletters are mailed and half are sent electronically, saving us some postage. The newsletter is sent to current members, past members, past speakers, and other chapter affiliates of IAAA and WAS. Let us know if you would like to be added to our email list.

TRAS conducts one fund-raising event a year, the annual TRAS Garage Sale. We held our 2005 and 2006 sales the same weekend as SALEing 75, a county wide organized garage sale that includes eight communities along Illinois Route 75. The 2006 sale was not too successful, so in 2007, we will hold our Garage Sale in Beloit, during the city-wide garage sale in May. Our goal is to raise at least $200.


In 2006 and 2007, TRAS members have been preparing to host Archaeo-Fest 2007, the joint meetings for IAAA, WAS, and Wisconsin Archeological Survey. We think these three groups have not ever met together before, but the time and place seem right. Co-Chairs Sara Pfannkuche and Bill Green want to thank Beloit College, the Logan Museum of Anthropology, the Ramada Inn of South Beloit, Winnebago County Forest Preserve, Natural Land Institute, Visit Beloit, and the Beloit Department of Parks and Leisure Services. Without their help, this event would not have turned out as well as it has.

Since the last IAAA annual meeting, TRAS speakers have included Rochelle Lurie and Sara Pfannkuche of Midwest Archaeological Research Services, Inc., who spoke on past and present excavations at the Macktown Historic Site. This is a yearly talk given to TRAS members prior to the start of the MARS, Inc. field school at Macktown. TRAS members have often volunteered their services during this dig; the 2006 excavations were done at the Henry Bates Cabin, and the 2007 field school is planned for that location, too. To celebrate Illinois Archaeology Awareness Month, TRAS hosted Alan Harn of the Dickson Mounds Museum who spoke on New Perspectives on Bison in the Illinois Country. Additional TRAS speakers included: Jean Hudson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Underwater Archaeology in Northern Wisconsin: An Elk Skeleton and a Fluted Point; Alice Berkson, Editor of Illinois Antiquity, Kickapoo of the Prairie: Still Elusive After All These Years; William Green, Director of the Logan Museum of Anthropology and TRAS Vice President, Uncovering and Re-covering Two Pre-Civil War Structures on the Campus of Beloit College; and Dan Amick, Loyola University Chicago, Journey to the Ice Age: Early Paleoindian Occupations of the American Midwest.

Instead of a speaker for our December meeting, we held our annual Holiday potluck dinner at the circa 1838 Mack House on the Macktown Historic Site. Members brought dishes to pass while TRAS provided the drinks. Afterward Rochelle Lurie updated us on the past yearŐs excavations at Macktown.

Along with the Macktown field work, TRAS members also participated in laboratory work. In October, we washed artifacts from the pre- Civil War site excavated by Bill Green on the Beloit College campus, we sorted ceramics from the Robinson Site (47On27), a site excavated by Robert Salzer in the 1960s, and we attempted to refit pottery from Macktown. Last month, TRAS members washed artifacts from the Watson/Domeier Site (11WO482), a Woodland mound group excavated in 1974 by Beloit College located one mile north of the Macktown Historic Site.

To conclude, we would like to thank the Logan Museum, Beloit College, and the Macktown Living History and Education