Prehistory on the Prairie, Part II 2018 - Passport in Time

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Illinois - Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Closed! Prehistory on the Prairie: Excavations at the Middle Grant Creek Site, Part II

20170718_114320.jpg by Joe Wheeler, US Forest Service
Middle Grant Creek Site Excavations 2017

July 16-August 10, 2018

Must commit to 1 entire session; may participate in more

Session Dates:
Session 1) July 16–20
Session 2) July 23–27
Session 3) July 30–August 3
Session 4) August 6–10

Join us on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (MNTP) this year as we once again explore the cusp of prehistory at the Middle Grant Creek site! The mission of the MNTP is the restoration and preservation of indigenous prairieland – a now rare type of ecosystem – that nearly disappeared after 200 years of Euro-American land use in the area. As part of that effort, ongoing archaeological research is being done to identify both prehistoric and historic sites, cultures, and land-use patterns. One such site, identified in 2002, is the Middle Grant Creek Site. The site is an Oneota Culture (ca. A.D. 1150-1700) resource extraction and utilization site, dating to the Huber Phase (ca. A.D. 1600). Phase II testing in 2006 determined that it was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and, since 2016, Professor Mark Schurr and Dr. Madeleine McLeester of the University of Notre Dame have been working on excavations to further investigate the site. We invite you to come out to the Midewin again this year and work side-by-side with these professionals as they excavate the site’s deep storage pits that, so far, have yielded unique pottery, animal bones, a shell from Florida, arrowheads, and more!  You will get the chance to excavate, screen, and record the site, and help us find evidence of how Huber people lived and interacted with their environment. And, since the site is only one hour from Chicago, enjoy the city and its museums, restaurants, and other attractions in your free time or on the weekends– see you this summer!

Number of openings: 32 (8 volunteers per session)

Special skills: Must be physically capable of extended periods of sitting/kneeling/standing/stooping, and other repetitive motions, and in a variety of weather conditions; previous archaeological excavation, mapping, photography, GPS, and or late prehistoric (particularly Oneota/Huber Phase) artifact identification experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: There is no camping available on the Midewin, however there are many camping areas, RV parks, and other lodgings (hotels/motels) available within and in proximity to nearby towns (a comprehensive list can be provided to selectees; please inquire at time of selection); amenities vary from site to site, and fees will apply; volunteers responsible for own lodging/personal camping equipment, meals, extra water, and daily transportation to and from work site

Nearest towns: Elwood, ~3 miles; Wilmington, ~4 miles; Joliet, ~13 miles

Applications due: May 14, 2018

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