French Colonial Archaeology 2019 - Passport in Time

Go to content

Main menu:

Current Projects > 2019
Illinois - Shawnee NF
Closed! French Colonial Archaeological Explorations

Crew_shot2.jpg by US Forest Service
SIU Fieldschool and Shawnee tribal members at Fort Kaskaskia

June 24-28, 2019

Must commit to entire session

Please join us at Fort Kaskaskia, on the Shawnee National Forest, while we continue to explore and uncover the rich history of southern Illinois! This year, our goal is to learn more about French Colonial archaeology and, hopefully, more about the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. Archaeological explorations in southern Illinois have a long heritage of French colonial occupation dating back to the late 18th-century. There are French land claims scattered along the edges of the Forest, as well as features and old roads, such as Le Grand Trace, associated with French exploration. This summer, Southern Illinois University’s (SIU) archaeological field school is being held at Fort Kaskaskia, in Randolph County, in the heart of Illinois’ French colonial district. In 2017, SIU archaeologists unexpectedly discovered there were two Ft. Kaskaskias: a French Colonial fort (in use ca. 1759-1765) and the remains of an American fort (in use ca. 1802-1807). The latter was visited by Lewis and Clark in 1803. The existence of the American fort had been unknown before last year's field school! Recovering artifacts discarded from the forts’ previous occupants allows us to actually touch the past – and is a great way to learn more about Illinois' history. PIT participants will also have a day to tour the surrounding countryside, which is dotted with French architecture and history, and to take in these sights via a ferry across the Mississippi River – we hope to see you in June!

Number of openings: 12

Special skills: Previous archaeological excavation, survey, mapping, sketching/photography, and/or artifact (especially 18th-century French Colonial) identification experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 10 years old, under 18 with a responsible adult

Facilities: Tent and RV camping available at Fort Kaskaskia State Park; each site has a fire ring, grill, and picnic table; potable water, pit toilets, trash receptacles in multiple locations; dump station and fresh water fill at entrance/exit of the Park; Park has a small playground and several picnic areas within less than 1/2-mile walk; Chester is a full-service community with a number of motels, restaurants, and a range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for own lodging/camping equipment, meals, and daily transportation to and from designated meeting area(s) each day (if opting to stay off-site)

Nearest towns: Project based out of Fort Kaskaskia State Park; Chester; Ellis Grove; Prairie du Rocher

Applications due: Ongoing until filled

View French Colonial Archaeology in a full screen map

Back to content | Back to main menu