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Re: Eye on Archaeology

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  • Susan
    I greatly appreciated the thoughtful, action-provoking post written with much sincerity by archaeologist, Liz Kasly. Thank you for taking time to put the
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 17, 2011

      I greatly appreciated the thoughtful, action-provoking post written with much sincerity by archaeologist, Liz Kasly.  Thank you for taking time to put the excellent data and your personal feelings into the post to the group (and society at large who accesses this public domain).  I heard from others that they enjoyed the article; one or two said they mailed you personally.  I know folks are more comfortable with 1:1 personal relationships here, but I hope too that some here will also feel free to include comments about posts by Liz (and others here who muster the time and courage to write public posts).  Doing so encourages dialogue here, provides public recognition and support (or polite constructive feedback), individual/group synergy, and furthers knowledge into the public domain.  Many times I am doing a search of a related subject and come across the AWS posts of many of you here!  I am glad most posts are not chat or contain nonsensical information in slang or jargon that almost no one can understand.   Fine for Facebook or chat sites.   Dozens of us here have Facebook sites and chat here and there from time to time but 99% of posts, data, web links feed through at a rapid pace and are irretrievably gone forever within a short period of time.   Reminds me of the rapid flow, disappearance of intercommunications, artifacts, sites of ancient peoples, all in the name of 'rapid progress'.... 

      To me, the times we are living and frequent changes occurring seem to be beaconing for wisdom from what legacies remain of the ancient past.  And too, for more and more opportunities for 'group counsel' among elders and wisdomkeepers of our times, as was absolutely essential and traditional among early historic and ancient ancestry of most cultures worldwide.  What better avenues than through serious, intelligent, cordial groups as ours focussed upon ancient global waterways and the people who traveled and inhabited its shores?

      Liz' mention of prehistoric archaeological sites in the uplands of O'Fallon, Illinois got me exploring... only had time to check out this fascinating article whose location is likely somewhere within the vicinity, possibly a satellite of Cahokia.  And predecessor!  I've not read Struever's book so am not endorsing it, yet am highly intrigued by the possible 7500 BC and layers upon layers of evidence 34 feet down.  Which also exemplifies some of Liz' points and surely makes me want to be part of a mini field trip to that area if one arises.  Especially when I start hearing about several millinnea ago, which aligns with my passion ' to help us rediscover who we human beings really are....'  (Maybe you know this archaelogist, Elizabeth?)    

      The Koster Site, 26 occupations starting 34 feet below a farmhouse: http://archaeology.about.com/cs/bookreviews/fr/koster.htm

      .....beneath the Koster farm lies evidence of 26 different human occupations, beginning with the early Archaic period, around 7500 BC, and ending with the Koster farm. Village after village, some with cemeteries, some with houses, beginning some 34 feet below the modern Koster farmstead. Each occupation was buried by the flood deposits of the river, each occupation leaving its mark on the landscape nonetheless.

      Koster: Americans in Search of their Prehistoric Past

      Koster: Americans in Search of their Prehistoric Past

      Waveland Press (2000) Struever, Stuart and Felicia Antonelli Holton. 2000 (reprint). Koster: Americans in Search of Their Prehistoric Past. Waveland Press. ISBN 1-57766-167-2

      From: Buried Beneath a Farmstead

      In the state of Illinois, in the middle of the continental United States, in the river valley named for the Native American group and from which the state takes its name, near where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi, lies the archaeological site known as Koster. Koster's importance to the recognition of the existence of deeply buried sites is not often articulated, but it should be.

      In 1968, Stuart Struever was a faculty member in the anthropology department at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He was a "down-stater," however, having grown up far from Chicago in the small town of Peru, Illinois, and he never lost the ability to speak the language of the down-stater. And so it was that he made true friendships among the landowners of the Lowilva, the local name for the Lower Illinois Valley, where the Mississippi River meets the Illinois. Among the life-long friends he made were Theodore "Teed" Koster and his wife Mary, retired farmers who just happened to have an archaeological site on their property, who just happened to be interested in the past.

      It's really not coincidence, you know.


      --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "ekassly" <ekassly@...> wrote:
      > An old friend of mine and I recently had a discussion on the preservation of prehistoric archaeological sites in the uplands of O'Fallon, Illinois. She said she prayed and prayed that they would not find any Indian remains before they built their new church, so they would not have the added cost of having an Indian site excavated. She also mentioned that having a church was more important than finding an old village site. Churches are important as well as houses being built everywhere with the influx of people from Scott Air Force base moving into the area, but prehistory is important also. Once you destroy it, it is gone forever and no information can be gleaned from it. What if those children who found the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' had trashed them not even caring what they were? Even they knew that the scrolls were very important...they were priceless!
      > Our Illinois prehistoric sites are also priceless-yet many are destroyed everyday by construction companies that know how to get around the laws set forth by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency(IHPA). Before an area is developed, the soils are stripped off many feet below the plowzone with their tractors and then they re-sell these plots of barren land (devoid of any cultural remains)to homeowners and other developers. (see www.lithiccastinglab.com go to recent additions #43) This is so wrong and so illegal. Why does does the IHPA and IEPA(Illinois Environmental Protection Agency) allow this to happen? In essence, developers and the politico's of O'Fallon(through their ignorance)are robbing citizens like you and I, from learning about the Indians of pre-history. There has long been a private archaeological investigation firm in O'Fallon,Il. that has written off numerous sites. Their thinking is if they find only a few flakes of chert or pottery shards there is nothing there. How wrong is that? Anywhere where there is cultural material on the surface of a farmfield...there is a probable habitation site below the plowzone.
      > The O'Fallon Illinois uplands have numerous old village sites that are scattered throughout the area. Many of these sites are what we call 'satellite' communities of Cahokia Mounds (cahokiamounds.com) These prehistoric Indians established farming communities and the rich upland soils (of that time) afforded them plentiful harvests of vegatables such as corn, beans, and squash and so much more. Deer, Elk, Bison, Bear and many small game animals were also plentiful. They made all of their utensils from stone, bone, wood and clay.
      > As you look out over the fields and rolling hills...remember that others were here before us. And when you look out your window and watch the quickly disappearing farmlands...I hope you wonder about the prehistory that was below your feet. Was it saved or is it gone forever? Site destruction happens everywhere...mostly through ignorance, lack of knowledge or caring.
      > A small site in a housing development is slated for destruction, along with seven others(eight have already been destroyed in the same development). I am monitoring them and hope that some can be saved so 'honest' archaeologist's can garnish what is left in these soils after the plow and beneath our feet. So much can be learned from the 'people of the past'. Most developers won't allow it because it costs them money. How much you ask? Not much more than a little 1/2 acre plot of land that is sold to a homeowner. One of these sites is where I have found thousands of artifacts. I also found a small fired clay human head about the size of a marble. It depicts a simple image of a prehistoric face from over a 1000 years ago and it provides us a glimpse of their past, through their art.
      > Do your part on saving these remnants of the past. Be vocal if you know of a prehistoric site that is soon to be destroyed in your area. Call your Mayor and talk to him or contact a museum, University, or political representative from your area. If you say something to a developer or construction company it will be gone...very quickly. Remember to, that words in the form of writing can have a lasting impact for anyone who cares to read them...or learn by them.
      > Sincerely written by Elizabeth Kassly of Swansea Illinois
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