This month’s Emiquon Field Station Walk and Talk lecture will convene on Wednesday, July 1 at 6 p.m. at the Morton site to explore the excavations of the Morton Village. This is the second year of excavations at the Morton Village, a prehistoric Native American site that dates to about 1300 A.D. The excavations are a joint venture of Dickson Mounds Museum and Dr. Jodie O’Gorman of Michigan State University, with the cooperation of The Nature Conservancy.
The site is located on the west side of Illinois Route 78/97 0.4 miles south of the junction of Illinois Route 24 and 78/97, or if traveling from the south, at the top of the Illinois River bluff.
The Morton Village contains evidence of use by two groups that archaeologists refer to as Mississippian and Oneota. Natives of the Mississippian culture lived in the area for several centuries starting about 1000 A.D.; their living sites and cemeteries are common in the region around Dickson Mounds. Oneota is a cultural tradition centered in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Illinois. However, in the last 25 years, several large villages and cemeteries belonging to the Oneota tradition have been identified in the area.
The research at Morton Village seeks to understand why Oneota groups expanded into the region, how they adapted to the new setting and the nature of the relationship between Oneota and Mississippian groups.
The excavations, which began on May 26 and will run through July 3, are being conducted by the Michigan State University Archaeological Field School and Dickson Mounds staff. The remains of several houses and numerous storage and cooking pits have been found as well as artifacts such as pottery, arrow points and stone hoes.