Lesson Plan: Predicting the Past

Illinois Goals and Standards addressed:
Grade Levels: 6-12

Goal 11: Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments, and solve problems.

Standard A: Know and apply the concepts, principles, and processes of scientific inquiry.
Late Elementary: 11.A.2d: use data to produce reasonable explanations.
Early and Late High School: 11.A.4a and 5a: Formulate hypotheses, referencing prior research and knowledge.

Social Science
Goal 16: Understand events, trends, individuals, and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States, and other nations.

Standard A: Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.
Late Elementary: 16.A.2b: Ask questions and seek answers from historical documents, images, and other literary and non-literary sources.
Middle/Junior High: 16.A.3b: Make inferences about historical events and eras using historical maps and other historical sources.
Early High School: 16.A.4a: Analyze and report historical events to determine cause and effect relationships.
Late High School: 16.A.5b: Explain the tentative nature of historical interpretations......serve as expressions of culture.

Language Arts: If journal entry is read aloud to students, Listening

Goal 4: Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations.
Standard A: Listen effectively in formal and informal situations.

Language Arts: If journal entry is printed out and read by students, Reading

Goal 2: Read and understand literature representative of various societies, eras, and ideas.
Read and interpret a variety of literary works.

Illinois State Museum Web site used:
MuseumLink Illinois Native American, Historic, Neighbors, French, link from Jacques Marquette.

MuseumLInk Illinois, Behind the Scenes, Research and collections, Anthropology, Field and Lab Work http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/behind/htmls/cr_an_fl.html
and Behind the Scenes, Exhibits, Falcon Dancer http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/behind/htmls/exh_fal.html

Objective: After reading or listening to, and discussing Jacques Marquette's journal entries in the Web site, and discussing what archaeologists do and what they find and do not find, they will be able to sort through the list they make on the chalkboard of artifacts (materials of life) that Marquette saw, held, or used. From this list, they will write a shorter list of those artifacts which would have survived long enough for a 20th century archaeologist to have found them. They should also give the reasons for their choices.

Time Required:
60 minutes on the web sites
30 minutes to compile list

computer with Internet connection to read journal entries
optional printer and xerox for individual copies of journal entry
List of archaeological finds from Illinois village site (printed or overhead)
paper and pen

Part One:

  • Students have access to read the various parts of the ISM MuseumLink Illinois Web site pertaining to the lesson.
  • Teacher reviews with a 5-10 minute whole class discussion of archaeology.
  • Teacher reads aloud journal entry while students listen for artifacts and remains to list on the chalkboard.Then they cross off perishable materials and telling why they didn't last, leaving the artifacts and remains an archaeologist may have found.


  • Students study list for artifacts that may survive hundreds of years in the ground, and make a list of each one they choose, also telling why they chose it.

Part Two:
Project a transparency copy of the list of artifacts and remains that archaeologists found at the Illinois Village Marquette visited.
Orally go through each item on this list and have students tell why it was found 200 years later.

Discussion Questions to Think About:

1.Some items (like trade goods) on the site were not specified in the journal entry. Why are they at the site?
2.Some items that marquette mentioned were not found at the dig. Why not?
3.Were you surprised about any of the remains or artifacts that survived?
4.How is it helpful to have written accounts from the actual time period of the site?
5.What more do you know about the Peoria Indians from knowing what materials they used?

Assessment: At the end of the Native American unit using the Museumlink Native American Web Site and activities, include some written questions about objects found and not found ( with possible reasons) at archaeological sites of Indian villages in Illinois. (See sample test) Assessment for Predicting the PastName

Answer the following questions in your own words, using the information you learned in the web activity on archaeology.

1. Name three man-made objects that Jacques Marquette saw Peoria Indians use in the village he visited.


2. Which of these three objects, if any, survived in whole or part long enough to be dug up by archaeologists? Why did they survive?




3. Name three foods that he saw the Indians eating.


4. What parts, if any, of these foods, were found 200 years later in the archaeological dig at the site? Why weren't the whole foods found?




5. How would reading Marquette's journal help archaeologists do their job?

Extension Activity: Once students are aware of the dynamics of artifacts and remains found versus artifacts and remains (materials) used by people in their time, they can use this knowledge as they read the Historic Native American Web module.



In 1673, the Governor of New France authorized a young fur trader, Louis Jolliet, to explore the Mississippi River, which he hoped would lead to a water route for trade to the Gulf of Mexico. Jolliet was accompanied on this journey by the Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette and five other people. The party of explorers entered the upper Mississippi River from the Wisconsin River. In what is now Missouri, they found several villages of Illinois Indians. They stayed for several days with the Peoria tribe of Illinois Indians at a village that had over three hundred houses.

Following are excerpts from Father Jacques Marquette's journal. Remember that the wording used in this journal is from the late 1600s.


Here we are, then, on this so renowned River, all of whose peculiar features I have endeavored to note carefully. The Missisipi River takes its rise in various lakes in the country of the Northern nations.

Finally, on the 25th of June, we perceived on the water's edge some tracks of men, and a narrow and somewhat beaten path leading to a fine prairie. We stopped to Examine it; and, thinking that it was a road which Led to some village of savages, We resolved to go and reconnoiter [inspect] it. We therefore left our two Canoes under the guard of our people, strictly charging Them not to be surprised, after which Monsieur Jollyet [Jolliet] and I undertook this investigation -- a rather hazardous one for two men who exposed themselves, alone, to the mercy of a barbarous and Unknown people. We silently followed The narrow path, and, after walking About 2 leagues, We discovered a village on the bank of a river, and two others on a Hill distant about half a league from the first.


They are divided into many villages, some of which are quite distant from that of which we speak, which is called peouarea [Peoria]. [Note: The Peoria tribe was a branch of the Illinois whose later home was on the Illinois River near the city of their name.] This causes some difference in their language, which, on the whole, resembles allegonquin [Algonquian], so that we easily understood each other. They are of a gentle and tractable disposition; we Experienced this in the reception which they gave us.

Their Bodies are shapely; they are active and very skillful with bows and arrows. They also use guns, which they buy from our savage allies who Trade with our french. They use them especially to inspire, through their noise and smoke, terror in their Enemies; the latter do not use guns, and have never seen any, since they live too Far toward the West. They are warlike, and make themselves dreaded by the Distant tribes to the south and west, whither they go to procure Slaves; these they barter, selling them at a high price to other Nations, in exchange for other Wares. Those very Distant Savages against whom they war have no Knowledge of Europeans; neither do they know anything of iron, or of Copper, and they have only stone Knives. When the Ilinois depart to go to war, the whole village must be notified by a loud Shout, which is uttered at the doors of their Cabins, the night and The Morning before their departure. The captains are distinguished from the warriors by wearing red Scarfs. These are made, with considerable Skill, from the Hair of bears and wild cattle [bison]. They paint their faces with red ocher [a red pigment made of iron oxide], great quantities of which are found at a distance of some days' journey from the village. They live by hunting, game being plentiful in that country, and on indian corn, of which they always have a good crop; consequently, they have never suffered from famine. They also sow beans and melons, which are Excellent, especially those that have red seeds. Their Squashes are not of the best; they dry them in the sun, to eat them during The winter and the spring. Their Cabins are very large, and are Roofed and floored with mats made of Rushes. They make all Their utensils of wood, and their Ladles out of the heads of cattle, whose Skulls they know so well how to prepare that they use these ladles with ease for eating their sagamité[corn meal boiled in water and seasoned with fat].

There remains no more, except to speak of the Calumet [a decorated tobacco pipe used in rituals]. There is nothing more mysterious or more respected among them. Less honor is paid to the Crowns and scepters of Kings than the Savages bestow upon this. It seems to be the God of peace and of war, the Arbiter of life and of death. It has but to be carried upon one's person, and displayed, to enable one to walk safely through the midst of Enemies -- who, in the hottest of the Fight, lay down Their arms when it is shown. For That reason, the Ilinois gave me one, to serve as a safeguard among all the Nations through whom I had to pass during my voyage. There is a Calumet for peace, and one for war, which are distinguished solely by the Colors of the feathers with which they are adorned; Red is a sign of war. They also use it to put an end to Their disputes, to strengthen Their alliances, and to speak to Strangers. It is fashioned from a red stone, polished like marble, and bored in such a manner that one end serves as receptacle for the tobacco, while the other fits into the stem; this is a stick two feet long, as thick as an ordinary cane, and bored through the middle. It is ornamented with the heads and necks of various birds, whose plumage is very beautiful. To these they also add large feathers, -- red, green, and other colors, -- wherewith the whole is adorned. They have a great regard for it, because they look upon it as the calumet of the Sun; and, in fact, they offer it to the latter to smoke when they wish to obtain a calm, or rain, or fine weather.


Father Jacques Marquette describes several artifacts and food items in the excerpt from his journal. Those items are listed below. An asterisk marks the items that were partially or completely preserved at an Illinois village archaeological site.

* wild cattle (bison scapula hoes were found at the site suggesting that bison were hunted)
* calumet (a decorated tobacco pipe used in rituals)
- bows
* arrows (chipped-stone arrowpoints were found at the site, the wooden shaft probably decayed)
* guns (various parts of guns were found at the site)
* iron
* copper
* stone knives
* cabins (postholes were found suggesting where the cabins were built)
- red scarves (made from the hair of bear and wild cattle)
- red ocher (a type of red earthy mineral used to make paint)
* animal game (bison bones were found at the site, but not much other evidence of game)
* Indian corn (charred corn cobs and kernels were found)
* beans (charred bean seeds were found)
* melons (charred watermlon seeds were found)
- red seeds
* squash (charred squash rinds were found)
* mats made of rushes (rushes are grasslike marsh plants, such as bulrushes and cattails; a mat-weaving tool was found suggesting that mats were made at this site)
- utensils of wood
- ladles out of the skulls of cattle
- sagamité (a type of corn dish)
* red stone that is polished and drilled for a pipe
- cane stem to use with the pipe
- birds with beautiful plumage
- large colorful feathers - red, green, etc.


The Haas and Hagerman sites in northeast Missouri are historic American Indian sites from the time of contact with the Europeans. These sites are located on the eastern edge of a high sand terrace in the Des Moines River floodplain. They fit the description (both geographically and chronologically) of the Illinois villages visited by the Marquette and Jolliet expedition of 1673. All of the materials recovered and the radiocarbon dates indicate that the site was occupied between 1625 - 1675.

Artifacts found at the sites include:
- fired clay pottery
- stone arrow points
- stone knives
- sandstone blocks used as awl sharpeners
- two catlinite (polished red stone) pipes & one large limestone pipe
- bone tools:
- one mat weaving tool
- bison scapula hoe blades
- antler tools
- trade goods:
- copper and brass beads and ornamental tinkling cones
- straight wire segments, coils, and bracelets
- one upper half of a hawk bell
- one spheroid copper bead
- blue and black, glass, necklace beads of small and medium sizes
- glass chevron beads (with a star pattern at each end)
- iron knife blades, wire, awls, a ring fragment, and the bit of two axes
- one high relief, cast silver, Jesuit ring (probably pre-1700)
- gun parts - gun plate fragments, one upper cock jaw, one French and three native made gunflints

Plant remains found at the site include:
- corn-
bottle gourds-

Features found at the sites include:
- postholes of a large longhouse with hearths and deep storage pits
(the floor area is approximately 22 x 9 meters)
- four other possible longhouses and the edges of others-
one circular structure

Sources for Marquette's Journal and Illinios Village
Grantham, Larry. 1996. Excavations At Illiniwek Village State Historic Site: The Illini Village of the Jolliett/Marquette Expedition of 1673. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology. Cincinnati, OH.

Grantham, Larry. 1996. "The Illini village of the Marquette and Jolliet voyage of 1673." The Missouri Archaeologist 54: 1-20.

Hollinger, Eric. 1999. Personal communication to Robert E. Warren, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL.

Marquette, Jacques. 1959b. Of the first voyage made by Father Marquette toward new Mexico, and how the idea thereof was conceived [Original manuscript 1674]. In The Jesuit relations and allied documents, Vol.59, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, pp. 109-131. Pageant, New York, NY.

Sources for activity
Avi-Yonah, Michael, 1904-1974. Dig this! : how archaeologists uncover
our past. Minneapolis : Runestone Press, c1993. [juvenile]

Cole, Joanna. The magic school bus shows and tells : a book about
archaeology. New York : Scholastic, c1997. [juvenile]

Duke, Kate. Archaeologists dig for clues. New York : HarperCollins,
c1997. [juvenile]

Murdoch, David Hamilton, 1937-. North American Indian. 1st American ed.
New York : Knopf in association with the American Museum of Natural History
: Distributed by Random House, 1995. [juvenile]

Index of Native American Resources on the Web. Would need to pick and choose pertinent good ones.

Short Marquette and Jolliet page on explorers site by junior high

more about Marquette and Jolliet on site of Virtual museum of new-France

Web site of the Peoria Tribe Indians of Oklahoma