ISAS serves as a permanent repository not only for the artifacts recovered during IDOT related work, but also from other sites across the state as well. Some of these materials have been donated by private individuals who wanted to ensure that their collections would be permanently preserved and available for study for years to come. This section of our web page seeks to highlight the contributions of these “citizen scientists” and make their collections available for the enjoyment and use of the general public.
Much of Illinois is rich in archaeological sites, but many portions of the state have yet to see professional investigation. These private collections, made by farmers, artifact collectors, and amateur archaeologists, can fill considerable gaps in the archaeological record. Many shallowly buried sites have been damaged or destroyed by decades of plowing, erosion, or development. These amateur collections are now often the only remnants of these sites, and represent a substantial portion of the prehistoric record that otherwise will be lost.
Those of us concerned with the long-term preservation of Illinois’s archaeological record owe a considerable debt to these responsible individuals, who have recovered and documented these artifacts from significant sites or little studied portions of the states, and who, furthermore, through their donations to ISAS, have seen to the safeguarding of this information for future generations of students, researchers, and the general public.
Harvesting the Past:
The Illinois Ancient Artifacts Project