Topic ID #38010 - posted 1/30/2017 1:40 PM

WIU Field School - Orendorf and Rice Lake Terrace Prehistoric Sites, Fulton County, Illinois


The Orendorf and Rice Lake Terrace Sites
June 5th - July 28th, 2017
Fulton County, Illinois

 The Orendorf and Rice Lake Terrace Prehistoric Archaeological Sites

The 2017 Western Illinois University (WIU) Archaeological Field School will focus on survey and excavations at the Orendorf and Rice Lake Terrace prehistoric archaeological sites along the Illinois River in Fulton County, Illinois. 

The Orendorf site is a significant Middle Mississippian village and mound group located on a bluff top overlooking the Illinois River Valley. Orendorf has been the subject of WIU excavations since the 1970s, and has been found to comprise four distinct settlement sites, resulting from the relocation of the village several times.

The Rice Lake Terrace site is located below Orendorf on the shore of Rice Lake, an Illinois River backwater lake. Early French explorers described the Central Illinois River Valley as the richest ecosystem they'd encountered, with spectacular floral and faunal resources, including unlimited fish populations and migratory water fowl flocks almost beyond belief.

One account describes ducks so thick on the surface of one of these lakes, that they'd have to push them aside to pass through with a canoe. Rice Lake is still a major destination for duck hunters today, and appears to have been a favorite spot for millennia. The Rice Lake Terrace site has an extraordinary time depth, with Archaic (8000 BC - 500 BC), Woodland (500 BC - 1000 AD), and Mississippian (1000 AD - 1673 AD) cultures represented. Aside from brief surveys by Cultural Resources Management teams, Rice Lake Terrace has not previously been the subject of professional excavations. 

Field school students will enjoy this rare opportunity to participate in the excavation of such an unusual, multi-component site. Investigating the relationship between the Rice Lake Terrace site and the famous Orendorf Mississippian village, just up the bluff, will be especially intriguing. Although the excavations will be conducted on prehistoric archaeological sites, forensic archaeological field techniques, and special considerations for forensic evidence collection, will also be be discussed and demonstrated. 

Academic Info

Comprised of 6 semester hours, the field school includes two courses: 

  • ANTH 325 - Archaeological Laboratory Methods (3 credits)
  • ANTH 326 - Archaeological Field Methods (3 credits)


Transportation: We will drive from Macomb each field day in a WIU vehicle, and will conduct lab work in the air conditioned laboratory in Macomb on at least one day per week (typically on Fridays, unless we’ve stayed in due to rainy or dangerously hot weather earlier in the week). 

Lodging: Lodging will be available in the cabins at WIU’s Horn Field campus, on the southern edge of Macomb.  The cabins have air-conditioning, bunk beds, bathrooms with flush toilets and showers, a grill and campfire area, refrigerators, microwaves, and free Wi-Fi.  For cabin photos, and more about Horn Field Campus, visit:


In addition to WIU tuition, all students will be required to pay a field school fee of $399.00, which will cover transportation and equipment.

Optional lodging in the Horn Field cabins will cost an additional $399.00 for the full eight weeks. Students will be responsible for their own food costs, but field school faculty will be happy to work with them to plan and cook some low-cost group meals.


Applications be accompanied by a non-refundable $100.00 deposit, made payable to Western Illinois University.

One-half of the remaining balance ($349 for those staying in the cabins, and $149.50 for those with other accommodations in/near Macomb) is due by April 1st, 2017.

The final fee payment must be received by May 1st, 2017. Due to logistical constraints, all field school fee payments are non-refundable.  

Application form:


Questions?  Contact Dr. Andrea Alveshere:


Post ID#20850 - replied 2/20/2017 2:13 PM



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