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Press Room -- Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown

  Open House at Morton Village Excavations   

Dickson Mounds Museum invites the public to an open house 9 am to 1 pm on June 21, 2008 to view the ongoing excavations of the Morton Village, a prehistoric Native American site that dates to about A.D. 1300. The excavations are a joint venture of Dickson Mounds Museum and Dr. Jodie O'Gorman of Michigan State University with the cooperation of The Nature Conservancy. The site is located on land at the north end of the Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve about 2 miles northeast of Dickson Mounds Museum.

The Morton Village contains evidence of use by two groups that archaeologists refer to as Mississippian and Oneota. Indians of the Mississippian culture lived in the area for several centuries starting about A.D. 1000; their living sites and cemeteries are common in the region around Dickson Mounds. Oneota is a cultural tradition centered in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Illinois. However, in the last 25 years several large villages and cemeteries belonging to the Oneota tradition have been identified in the area.

The research at Morton Village seeks to understand why Oneota groups expanded into the region, how they adapted to the new setting, and the nature of the relationship between Oneota and Mississippian groups. Previous excavations at other sites have shown that the two groups may have sometimes conflicted violently, but it is also possible that the Oneota groups allied themselves with some Mississippian villages.

The excavations, which began on May 27 and will run through July 3, are being conducted by the Michigan State University Archaeological Field School and Dickson Mounds staff. The remains of several houses and numerous storage and cooking pits have been found as well as artifacts such as pottery, arrow points, and stone hoes.

The site is located on the west side of Illinois Route 78/97 about 0.4 miles south of the 78/97 junction with U.S. 24, which is 4 mile east of Lewistown, Illinois on U.S. 24. Maps are available at Dickson Mounds Museum.

For more information, contact Dickson Mounds Museum at 309-547-3721.

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