Artifacts spanning the past 11,500 years provide a unique glimpse of the continuum of cultures. Museum archaeologists and culture historians collect and study the material goods of Illinoisans-past and present.
- Museum archaeologists, with the aid of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, study the distribution of the 30,000 known archaeological sites in Illinois to assess variations in prehistoric and historic American Indian settlement patterns, environments, and resource use. Changes in the locations of settlements reflect changes in human economies from ancient hunting and gathering societies of the Late Ice Age (11,500 years ago)-to hunters and gathererers in the post-glacial environment-to early gardeners-to agriculturalists of 1,000 years ago. Studies of artifacts illuminate changes in technology and society.
- Museum archaeozoologists and ethnobotanists identify the animal and plant remains from archaeological sites to document changes in environments, species distributions, and in human subsistence practices. These studies chart major economic and dietary changes-in response to changes in environment, human population sizes and distributions, and human mobility- are critical to the understanding of the emergence of sedentary agricultural societies.
- Historical archaeologists and culture historians illuminate the more recent part of the cultural continuum. The Colonial Studies program documents the art and culture of French immigrants to the state. Archaeologists study the artifacts of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American settlers. Culture historians study the material culture from the time of French settlement to today.
|SEARCH | ISM Home | | General Information | | Programs | | Events | | Exhibits | | Collections | | Sites | | Membership |
© Illinois State Museum Society-- Last updated 21-Mar-96 by Erich Schroeder