Central Illinois Field Office-Champaign
The Central Illinois Field Office (CIFO) is based at the UIUC campus. CIFO is primarily responsible for cultural resource compliance work in IDOT Districts 3, 5, and northern portions of 7, occasionally taking on additional projects iin Districts 1 and 8 as necessary.
Dr. Brian Adams, Assistant Director Statewide Survey
Dr. Thomas Loebel, Cultural Resources Coordinator
23 E. Stadium Dr.
209 Nuclear Physics Lab
Champaign, IL 61820
Geophysical Survey at 11V973
(Project: FAI 74 Proposed Weigh Station (IDOT Seq. No. 19717, ISAS Log# 15257), District 5, funded by IDOT)
ISAS is always looking for ways to apply new technologies to streamline the archaeological survey process. Such a case occurred in the spring of 2016, when surveyors from CIFS were able to combine traditional archaeological survey methods with new metal detecting protocols and state of the art geophysical remote sensing. These new, non-invasive technologies provided information that identified important cultural features within the proposed construction area of a new weigh station near Danville, IL.
The majority of this more than 200 acre project area was investigated through traditional archaeological survey methods, resulting in the identification of one site (11V973) with potential significance to regional history. Archival research and artifact materials recovered during the initial survey suggested that this site likely relates to a circa. 1850-1875 residence. Additional pedestrian survey and metal-detecting revealed a variety of objects, including a copper two-cent piece, which supported this date range.
Using magnetometry to detect fluctuations in the natural magnetic field caused by the presence of cultural materials and modified soils, CIFS personnel were able to identify four potential historic period cultural features. The magnetometry, in conjunction with soil profiling, confirmed that these features were not natural phenomenon.
Magnetometer Data from 11V973
The use of these and other new technologies helps us identify cultural features earlier in the planning stages of development. As a result, ISAS is increasingly able to provide better and more timely information to our partners at IDOT giving them the ability to avoid sites such at this, and concurrently reducing or eliminating potential cost increases or construction delays later.
posted 5 December 2016
Bridge over Rayns Creek
(Project: Rayns Creek Bridge Replacement Along FAP 631/IL 102 (IDOT Seq. No. 19086, ISAS Log# 15004), District 1, funded by IDOT)
In cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, ISAS' Central Illinois Field Station conducted an archaeological survey near Rayns Creek in Kankakee River State Park in southern Will County. The survey included subsurface testing through densely wooded terrain, revealing an active area of habitation--one likely revisited many times by various prehistoric native peoples from roughly 900 BC to AD 1500. Among the artifacts recovered were a Late
Archaic Dyroff projectile point fragment and many prehistoric ceramic
sherds belonging to the Middle and Late Woodland periods.
Prehistoric ceramics: Middle Woodland Havana Ware (top row);
Starved Rock Collared Ware (middle row); Mississippian Langford Ware (bottom row).
To the untrained eye, these small fragments of earthenware pottery may seem uninteresting, but to our archaeologists, decorative elements found on their surfaces identify them as the products of rich prehistoric cultures that we are only beginning to understand. In particular, decorated sherds affiliated with earlier Middle Woodland Havana wares (ca. 250 BC–AD 1) are nearly identical to those found more than 100 miles downstream in the central Illinois River Valley. Pottery fragments of the Mississippian Langford tradition (ca. AD 1200–1500) directly relate to others found throughout Northern Illinois, but also hint at indirect relationships with other Mississippian peoples throughout midcontinental North America. Combined with nearly forty years of archaeological survey data gathered through the joint cooperation of the University of Illinois and IDOT, sites like Rayns Creek and dozens of others throughout Illinois help to present a picture of a vast and complex network of cultural exchange by native peoples stretching back more than 2000 years.
FA 322/US Rt. 51 Project
Personnel from the Central Illinois Field Office (CIFO) of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, conducted Phase I archaeological investigations for the proposed FA 322/US 51 project between the Shelby/Christian County line and the US 51/IL 177 Interchange (Washington/Jefferson County line) intermittently between June 2008 and February 2011. This project consists of a ca. 80-mile long main highway corridor, including secondary road improvements. In addition to the original Environmental Survey Request (2008), the project consisted of two alignments (2009, 2010), two preferred alignments (2010, 2012), and three addenda (2010, 2011, 2012) encompassing 58,058 acres (23,496 ha). Of this, a total of 8,640 acres (3,496 ha) of the US 51 project and addenda, primarily areas in the uplands classified as high archaeological potential, were surveyed between 2008 and 2011. In addition, portions of the Kaskaskia River floodplain were investigated in the vicinity of Vandalia. A total of 444 new and revisited sites were recorded during these investigations; 98 of the sites (22 percent) will be partially or completely impacted by the final proposed alignments. Of these, 30 (29 percent) are considered potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and are recommended for additional archaeological investigations to assess their significance. In addition, numerous alluvial and colluvial fan areas exist that may be prime loci for buried archaeological materials as is the Kaskaskia River floodplain. Thus the number of sites impacted by the project and recommended for further work may increase pending the results of geomorphological investigations.
ISAS Project Log #08048, 11057, 12089, 12123.
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In August 2012, the Central Illinois Field Office of ISAS undertook Phase II archaeological testing of site 11CH341, which falls partially within the proposed right-of-way for Olympian Drive, from Apollo Drive to Lincoln Avenue in Champaign County. Based on the results of Phase II investigations, the site was recommended as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), due to its potential to provide information relative to mid-nineteenth century farmstead structure and organization and household-level consumption, as reflected in the material culture assemblage. Investigations at 11CH341 were undertaken in accordance with the joint FHWA-IDOT-ACHP-IHPA Programmatic Agreement for the Mitigation of Adverse Effects to Euro-American Tradition Archaeological Sites. Initially, higher density scatter areas were stripped of plowzone using a backhoe (ca. 1,000 m2). All features located were either sampled or fully excavated. These investigations revealed the remains of the brick foundation for a multi-room residential structure, one brick-lined cistern, a possible second cistern, and an unlined privy vault, as well as several other smaller pits and postmold features.
The recovered data spans the years from the 1820s through 1900, and corresponds to occupations of at least three, and perhaps four sets of occupants. Archival sources indicate 11CH341 was initially the homestead/farmstead of James S. Young and his wife, Asenath, who settled here in 1841, presumably after migrating from Ohio following their marriage in 1824. In 1859 the property as sold to Martinius Ashley and his wife, Mary, who remained on the property until 1864, when the tract was sold to their neighbors to the east, Chandler Moore and his wife, Sarah Young Moore. The recombined property was then sold to William Brown between 1870-1871, and the only depiction of a structure at the 11CH341 location was published in 1873. It is likely the old Young/Ashley residence was occupied by William Brown’s son, Clark at the time of the 1880 U.S. census. William Brown retained control of the property until 1891, when it was sold to Wm. A. Whittemore, a neighboring farmer. In 1893, only one residence was indicated on the property, though not at the location of 11CH341. These changes were corroborated in 1913 and further changes were documented in 1929, as were changes in property ownership. Documentary evidence therefore suggests that 11CH341 corresponds to a homestead/farmstead that was founded no earlier than 1841, which persisted into the post-1880 period, but was likely abandoned prior to 1893.The archival data is supported by the artifact assemblage, with particular respect to the chronologically sensitive refined ceramic assemblage. The earliest diagnostic ceramics are Staffordshire blue transfer prints produced between ca. 1815–1830. Also present are middle period floral painted motifs that were likely produced prior to 1835; transfer prints that may have been produced in the 1830s; and irregular rim blue edged wares that were likely produced prior to 1840. Although all these wares likely predate the ca. 1841 settlement of the site, their presence is logically explained by the fact that the James and Asenath Young household was founded in 1824, and it can be assumed that they would have arrived on site with a household that included a variety of materials acquired during their preceding 17 years of marriage. Not surprisingly, the assemblage also includes a range of refined ceramics that would have been acquired during their residency, from their arrival in 1841 until the sale of the property in 1859.
These include later transfer prints, one flown transfer print, sponge/spatter, sprig painted, annular/mocha, and straight rim blue edged whitewares, as well as a range of plain and molded whitewares that would fall into the post-1845 ironstone range. The latter group of ceramics would be most closely associated with the original Young household (1841-1859), but would also blend into the somewhat later Ashley household (1859-1864). Evidence of later occupations is present, but certainly less obvious, at least in terms of quantity. Of the five manufacturers’ and one importer’s bottom marks recorded, two straddle the pre- and post-Civil War years. The presence of very small quantities of decal-decorated pottery and porcelain, machine-made bottle closures, and wire nails indicates at least limited use of the site area until ca. 1900; the absence of significant quantities of Bristol-glazed stoneware suggests that the site was not in particularly active use after 1890. Overall, the 11CH341 faunal assemblage reflects a dietary pattern reliant on domesticated animals – chicken, swine, cattle, and sheep/goat – and consumption of imported foodstuffs – cod and oyster. A limited array of game served to supplement this diet. Such a diet is consistent with dietary patterns identified at other nineteenth century sites in the Midwest.
In summary, 11CH341 is interpreted as a relatively unusual homestead/farmstead consisting of what appears to be a three-room L-shaped residence, with no basement or subfloor cellar; foundations are simple brick footing walls. Each of the three rooms appears to have had its own fireplace. Associated domestic features are limited to two cisterns and a probable privy.
ISAS Project Log #11093.
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Kankakee River State Park Project
In the spring of 2013, archaeological investigations were conducted in conjunction with improvements of the bridge carrying Illinois State Route 102 over Rock Creek in Kankakee River State Park, Kankakee County, Illinois. The purpose of these investigations was to determine if intact archaeological deposits were preserved at two previously recorded sites (11KA182 and 11KA232) in the project area and to document 11KA636, a partially completed millstone on the creek bank immediately north of the bridge.Sites 11KA182 and 11KA232 were identified in 1991.
Site 11KA182 is a large, multi-component site, containing both Late Woodland and twentieth century Euro-American components. The site is situated on the slope and crest of the northern bluff of the Kankakee River immediately west of Rock Creek, and approximately ten percent of the site area falls within the proposed project area. An existing historical marker has been placed in the northeast portion of 11KA182, demarcating the location of the old Rockville Post Office. However, according to the 1900 plat map of the area, this building was likely located further to the west, near the intersection of present-day Illinois State Route 102 and County Road 6000W. In 2010, ISAS investigated the site area with screened shovel tests. Few prehistoric and historic artifacts were recovered and consisted of only two flakes, one plain vessel glass shard, one wire nail, and a moderate amount of coal and cinder. The prehistoric material is neither culturally nor temporally diagnostic, while the historic assemblage dates to the twentieth century. No further work was recommended at 11KA182 as a result of the 2010 field investigations due to lack of evidence of intact prehistoric or historic cultural deposits within the investigated area. However, it was argued that the site could be described as potentially NRHP-eligible, given its bluffcrest location and the recovery of a Late Woodland projectile point, and additional survey and re-evaluation of 11KA182 was recommended should the potential impact area be expanded.
Site 11KA232 consists of a low-density material scatter stretching along the western margin of the Rock Creek ravine. The site was revisited by ISAS in 2010. The site stretches approximately one-half mile north from the Illinois State Route 102 bridge, and covers 19,826 m2, of which approximately six percent falls within the project area. In 2010, ISAS investigated the site area with screened shovel tests. Only five chert flakes were recovered as a result of these investigations. Archaeological investigations conducted at 11KA232 did not yield evidence of prehistoric ceramics, fire-cracked rock, or prehistoric or historic features. Based on this information no additional work was recommended for the portion of the site located within the project limits. It was recommended 11KA232 be subjected to additional survey and evaluation if the proposed impact area was expanded beyond the originally defined boundaries.
In order to acquire refined contextual data for 11KA182 and 11KA232, additional investigations were conducted at these sites within the project limits on the west side of the bridge over Rock Creek. At 11KA182 on the south side of Illinois State Route 102, five excavation blocks were excavated in an area of mowed lawn using a backhoe fitted with a smooth bucket. A total area of 135 m2 was excavated at 11KA182. Trench profiles indicated a truncated soil profile with subsoil at the surface. No subsurface features were identified in any of the excavation blocks, and artifacts were restricted to a few pieces of chert debitage recovered from the A-horizon. In summary, archaeological investigations at 11KA182 indicate the portion of the site within the project area exhibits a truncated soil profile. The few prehistoric artifacts lack depositional integrity, and no prehistoric or historic subsurface features were identified.
Recent investigations at 11KA232 consisted of a single line of ten screened auger tests at 10-meter intervals excavated parallel to the north side of Illinois State Route 102. At the time of field investigations, this area consisted of grass, scrub brush, and forest with no surface visibility. The auger tests excavated at 11KA232 indicate approximately 40–55 cm of silty clay loam above silty clay subsoil. The documented soil profiles indicate a truncated soil profile with clayey subsoil at the surface indicating the portion of 11KA232 located within the project area lacks depositional integrity. With exception of a single square cut nail no cultural material was recovered from the auger tests at the site, and no evidence of subsurface features was found.
The partially completed millstone (11KA636) was extensively documented by mapping, measured drawing, and extensive photography. The stone is still attached to limestone bedrock on the west bank of Rock Creek, directly beneath Illinois State Route 102 bridge. It measures approximately 2.0 meters in diameter and is rough-shaped into a disc with a series of 28 horizontal drill holes around the perimeter at ca. 20 cm intervals. The purpose of these holes is to assist in the detachment of the stone from bedrock. Several mills were built in this area during the 1800s. The remains of Yost sawmill are still visible on the east side of Kankakee River State Park. Other mills known to have existed in the area include one financed by Dr. Hiram Todd in 1842 and the Altorf mill, built in the 1850s in the town of Altorf and financed by Isaac Fred Markle. A historic plat map from 1883 depicts “an old mill” approximately ¾ mile upstream on Rock Creek from the millstone location, and it is possible the stone was being prepared for this mill.
Based on the results of the ISAS investigations, the portions of sites 11KA182 and 11KA232 within the proposed project limits appear to lack depositional integrity and failed to produce evidence of subsurface cultural features. As such, these areas are unlikely to produce information about the prehistoric or historic occupation of the area. No additional work is recommended for the portions of these sites within the proposed bridge replacement project area. Site 11KA636 is a unique site consisting of a partially completed millstone still attached to the parent bedrock along Rock Creek adjacent to the north side of the existing bridge. Avoidance of impacts to this site during bridge removal and construction has been recommended.
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Orica Site (11Gr267)
The Orica site (11Gr267) was identified on a high terrace of the Illinois River in association with a new road alignment and approach to a bridge crossing Armstrong Run in Grundy County. Shovel testing in an agricultural field with no surface visibility revealed a dense mixture of both historic and prehistoric artifacts adjacent to the creek. Further investigation included machine excavated test trenches located in the proposed Right-of-Way and four hand-dug test units within and adjacent to the proposed alignment. Our investigations revealed the presence of a shallow (ca. 30 cms) midden and remnant cultural features beneath the plowzone. Several features were excavated, including a large deep bi-lobed pit, a late nineteenth century cistern, and several small shallow basins. Aside from the Woodland age diagnostics, several projectile points were recovered from midden, pit, and plowzone contexts that seem to represent a specific point type probably dating to the Middle or Late Archaic period.
Selected projectile points – Orica site (11GR267).
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Egan Site (11ST331)
Archaeological investigations were conducted by ITARP at the Egan site (11ST331). The site is located in Scott County on a north bluff top overlooking Brushy Fork creek that drains into the Illinois River several miles to the west. Initial surface collections had indicated the presence of a possible Middle Woodland and/or Late Woodland occupation. The proposed Right-of-Way area was machine excavated (550 m2) revealing 65 pits and 8 posts. These features were excavated over a two week period. Excavations were directed by Dr. Andrew Fortier and Douglas Jackson of ITARP. Immediately after excavation, all soil samples and cultural materials were processed and then stored for future analysis.
Selected ceramic rims – Egan site (11ST331).
Analysis of the Egan site was initiated in 2004 by Dr. Fortier, assisted by Alexi Zelin. Feature and ceramic analysis was completed in the Fall of 2004 and Spring of 2005, respectively. Other aspects of analysis, including fauna, lithics and archaeobotany are ongoing. Ceramic analysis has revealed three distinctive assemblages, including: 1) Massey Cordmarked and Fabric Impressed, 2) Hopewell, and 3) early Late Woodland, referred to as Egan and most probably contemporary with White Hall and Weaver, but distinctive from those assemblages. Contextually Massey and Hopewell ceramics co-occur while Egan ceramics are separate. The Egan ceramics include Egan Cordmarked, Egan Plain, and Egan Zoned. Egan Zoned is characterized as having exterior lip cordwrapped stick impressions, typically placed above horizontal bosses, which sometimes have triangular punctuates beneath the bosses, followed by a free zone, followed by cordmarking down to the vessel base. Tempers include grit, sand, and grog.
Based solely on the examination of ceramic materials, two distinct occupations appear to be represented at Egan, a Middle Woodland component consisting of 27 pit features, and an early Late Woodland component consisting of 16 pit features. In addition, there are 22 unaffiliated pits. Hopefully, when all other material analyses have been completed some of the unaffiliated features may be reassigned to a more specific component.
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Hoxie Farm site (11CK4)
The Hoxie Farm site (11CK4), an extensive, intensively occupied, Upper Mississippian site located in the south suburban Chicago area, represents one of the largest archaeological site complexes in the Chicago area. Professional investigations at the site were first undertaken in 1953 by Elaine Bluhm when a portion of the site was found to be within the construction corridor of the I-80 Tollway. Additional excavations were conducted over the following decades by Forest Preserve District of Cook County personnel and also by Northwestern University. Unfortunately, the site, which is managed by the Cook County Forest Preserve, has also been the target of rampant looting and extensive areas of the site have been destroyed.
The Hoxie Farm site.
Our investigations, led by Douglas Jackson, were conducted at the Hoxie Farm site (11CK4) between 2000-2003 following proposals by IDOT and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (ISTHA) to widen and modify the I-80/294 corridor. Initial testing identified the existence of a well-preserved midden overlying numerous subsurface features. This project provided the opportunity to conduct the first modern controlled excavations at this complex site resulting in the collection of a vast amount of material, subsistence, and community evidence. The project area can be conceived of as a “western zone” and an “eastern zone.” The site investigations resulted in the excavation of over 2400 pits, postmolds, hearths, structures and fortification features. In the western zone the investigations encountered an artifact rich midden and dense concentrations of superimposed pit features. In addition to excavating the subsurface features, over 450 two-by-two meter hand excavation units were completed within the extensive midden. Significantly, portions of three longhouse structures were also uncovered.
Field excavations at the Hoxie Farm site.
The eastern zone is spatially separated from the western zone by a featureless space and consists of a densely occupied fortified village. Approximately 80 small, basin structures and hundreds of pit and hearth features were excavated. Based on evidence along the community’s west edge, the village was surrounded by 4 fortification ditches that ranged in width from 2 to 4 m. Their depth varied from 30 cm to nearly 1 m. On the village side of the ditch complex was a palisade comprised of a single line of posts. This village is estimated to have covered approximately 4 ha (10 acres) based on excavations, and geophysical and soil probe investigations. The geophysical investigations were conducted by Dr.Michael Hargrave of the United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. Hundreds of contemporary structures would have been present within this village. Debris totals are low from the village and it is thought to have been of a relatively short duration. This fortified village appears to be the basis for early historic accounts of a “fort” or “French fort” in the vicinity of the Village of Thornton.
Material remains from both the western and eastern zones of the project are easily assignable to the Upper Mississippian period. Madeline Evans and her staff have processed tens of thousands of lithic items with triangular projectile points, endscrapers, and an array of other bifacial and unifacial tools present. A variety of pipe styles were found, including the disc pipe form. Etched designs were found on a number of the pipes as well as on smoothed surface stones and pebbles. Copper, mainly decorative body and clothing items, was consistently found during the excavations. Tom Emerson and the ceramic analysts have noted that shell-tempered vessels with cordmarked surfaces and medium to wide trailing dominate, but plain surfaced examples, some with narrow trailing, are also present. Terrance Martin (ISM) is analyzing the faunal remains that were abundant from most of the western zone but less well preserved within the fortified village. Katie Egan-Bruhy (CCRG) observes that archaeobotanical remains seem to be fairly uniform across the site, but maize was observed more frequently within the village. A noteworthy find was numerous uncarbonized squash seeds and other botanical materials from water-saturated deposits at the base of one of the fortification ditches. Lee Newsom (Penn. State) is examining them as part of a broader study.
Examples of some of the artifacts from the Hoxie Farm site.
Many of the excavated remains can be associated with the late Fisher phase and there are likely occupations that may provide important information on the proposed transition of late Fisher to early Huber phase. The fortified village area appears to be early in the sequence while the western zone appears to consist of multiple re-occupations that span the late Fisher to early Huber phase time frame. A small number of radiocarbon dates have been obtained and the acceptable dates extend from the early 14th century to the mid 15th century. Additional radiocarbon samples will be submitted for dating in the future. Analysis on the various assemblages recovered from the site investigations at this important site is currently ongoing by multiple researchers.
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Vermilion County Danville Beltline Project
Survey was undertaken in the 2001-2003 field seasons for the Danville Beltline project which is a proposed four lane road on the east side of Danville in Vermilion County. Pedestrian survey of the approximately 2870 acres of the proposed corridor resulted in the identification of 159 archaeological sites and an additional 91 finds. Find spots were defined, for the purpose of this survey, as archaeological locations with six or fewer artifacts and no temporally diagnostic materials.
There are several ways of measuring prehistoric activity in a locality from survey results; the two we have chosen here are relative number of individual components identified for the entire survey and the relative number of projectile points recovered for each time period. We believe that by using both indices we can achieve a rough estimate of relative human activity through time for this locality. Based on site distribution, it is evident that prehistoric people were utilizing the higher, rolling land between the Stony Creek and Lick Creek drainages on the Newtown Moraine more consistently than the more flat uplands located north and southeast of these drainages. Although nearly all components are represented by the sites identified during this survey, there is a remarkably higher frequency of Early Archaic and Late Prehistoric components. Analysis of the temporally diagnostic points of these two periods indicates a shift in chert utilization through time. Exotic chert, such as Burlington from western Illinois was utilized at a higher frequency during the Early Archaic period. In contrast, the locally available glacial till chert was the primary chert type during the Late Prehistoric period. Non-local Indiana chert types were utilized at about the same frequency during both periods. The shift in using exotic chert acquired from distant sources during the Early Archaic to utilizing more locally available glacial till chert during the Late Prehistoric is indicative of a difference in home range or trade networks.
Archaeological materials have been analyzed and a draft report by Leighann Calentine, Dale McElrath, and Jamey Zehr was completed in January 2004. Additional invaluable information about this area is being obtained from analysis of the John Henry collection that was recently donated to the University of Illinois. John Henry is a former Danville resident who published an article with Al Nichols on Paleoindian from Vermilion County. He has a long history of articulating with professional archaeologists. Some of the sites collected by John Henry overlap this project area and analysis of these materials will be incorporated into the final Danville Beltine report.
Triangular Cluster of Projectile Points- Danville Bypass.
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Testing at 11V894
Large amounts of FCR and some collared rim ceramics were recovered from shovel tests during testing for a proposed borrow pit at this site in Vermillion County. Subsequent investigations entailed machine excavation of three trenches. Additional hand excavation was completed of three 2 x 2m test units within one of the trenches as well as a number of possible features represented by FCR concentrations. In total, 33 lithic tools were recovered, representing Late Archaic and Late Woodland periods. Of those tools, at least seven projectile points are diagnostic to the following types: 1 Karnak Unstemmed, 2 Merom Expanding Stem, 1 Mo-pac, 1 Triangular Side-Notched, and 2 triangular points. The majority of ceramics recovered are grit-tempered, cord-marked body sherds. Some decoration in the form of lip notching occurs on some of the collared rims. In addition to those prehistoric artifacts, many beads were recovered from a single flotation sample. In light of the archaeological material recovered from this project area, a new borrow pit location was selected.
Historic beads from 11V894.
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