June 07, 2018

Media Advisory — Public Archaeology Day at Fort Kaskaskia

A public field day hosted by the SIU Carbondale Department of Anthropology on Saturday will feature the work of the 2018 SIUC Field School in Archaeology class, along with historical re-enactors, demonstrators and presenters.

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the 2018 Public Archaeology Day. The event will take place 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 8-9 at Fort Kaskaskia, 4372 Park Road, Ellis Grove, Illinois.

To arrange for interviews, contact Mark Wagner, director of the SIU Center for Archaeological Investigations and an associate professor in anthropology, 618/453-5031.

Field school recently discovered new American fort

Historians have long believed that Fort Kaskaskia in Randolph County, Illinois served as a fort for both 1750s French and early 1800s American troops. The most important event in the history of the fort consisted of a visit by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803 to recruit 11 soldiers for their expedition to explore the American West.

But after two seasons of work, the team of SIU archaeologists and students concluded that, in fact, two separate forts — one French and one American — were constructed near each other at what is now Fort Kaskaskia Historic Site. The two forts are separated in time by 45 years.

Archaeology day will feature re-enactors and other demonstrations

Re-enactors from the Lewis and Clark Discovery Expedition will be on hand June 9 to portray members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and early French settlers. Also available will be a historical portrayal of a French and Indian trapper and hunter from the late 1700s, presented by Mr. Tony Gerard.

SIU Carbondale archaeologists will also be available to give tours of the newly discovered site of the American fort visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The archaeologists also will be demonstrating remote sensing equipment such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and gradiometers.