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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Natural and Applied Sciences Archives: Archaeology

These topic guides provide a starting point for finding source materials related to the history of science and technology at the University of Illinois. Please note that these guides are not definitive or comprehensive and are periodically updated.
Aerial view of a prehistoric Indian settlement site near Cahokia

Archaeological Site in Cahokia

Aerial view of an Indigenous settlement site near Cahokia, that provides evidence that challenges the previously accepted sequence of settlements in Cahokia. This evidence is in the East-West vs. North-South orientation of the houses. Also visible are holes, which are evidence of roof posts and benches within the house.

Found in Record Series 39/2/20, Box COL 6, Folder COL 6-2 LAS-Anthropology Artifacts and Digs 1947-.

About Archaeology

Broadly speaking, archaeological research covers a wide range of material studies. According the Society for American Archaeology, they analyze "...the physical remains of the past in pursuit of a broad and comprehensive understanding of human culture." As such, the Archaeology program at the University of Illinois is under the Anthropology Department. However, the full extent of archaeological research at the university and their archival records is not limited to the academic program. This includes records by state sponsored archaeological research done by the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program (ITARP) from 1976- 2010 in official affiliation with the Department of Anthropology. ITARP later became the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) at the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) in 2010. Before even ITARP was set up though, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) funded archaeological projects beginning in June 1956 when the IDOT Administrative Memorandum No. 45 was established.

Relatedly, geologists and paleontologists in the Geology Department, the PRI Center for Paleontology, and the Illinois State Geological Survey have records of interest to the field. 


Notably, as a reminder to researchers interested in working with archaeological records in the archives, as of September 15, 2020, the University has implemented a moratorium "on research, teaching, display, imaging, and circulation of human remains and cultural items that are potentially subject to NAGPRA, including all on-site or loaned collections, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

As a federally funded land-grant institution, the university has an ethical and legal responsibility to acknowledge the Tribal Nations on whose land we reside and to curate and repatriate Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian human remains and funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony (collectively, “cultural items”) in a respectful, dignified, and legally compliant manner. The university has begun the process of consulting with Tribal Nations regarding human remains and cultural items in university collections in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. § 3001 et seq., 43 CFR Part 10; collectively, “NAGPRA”).

The moratorium will remain in effect until the university’s NAGPRA Advisory Committee establishes procedures for review of access requests. It prohibits all research, teaching, display, imaging and circulation of NAGPRA materials and collections. The moratorium was developed in consultation with the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion."

For more information, please visit the resources developed by the University's NAGPRA office or contact the NAGPRA Program Officer (

Do note that this does mean specific access restrictions to some materials related to archaeology in the archives.

Archaeology Archival Holdings

A complete list of the records relating to the Department of Anthropology is available in the Archives database.

College and Departmental Archives

  • Archeological Conference Tapes, 1956 (Record Series 15/2/15): Archeological Conference Tapes, including original open-reel recordings and cassette dubs of the proceedings of an Illinois Archeological Conference held on January 21-22, 1956 and three tapes of an October 6, 1956 Midwestern Archeological Conference.  The Illinois Conference tape concerns highways and antiquities legislation, highway construction, site surveys, amateurs, standardization, organization and membership in the Illinois Archeological Survey.  The Midwestern Conference proceedings concern studies of the archaic, woodland and Hopewell cultures, definitions, highway programs and conference organization. 

  • Departmental Publications, 1965- (Record Series 15/2/801): Includes an announcement of a workshop on Illinois archaeology (1965). 

  • Federal Aid Interstate 270 (FAI-270) Reports, 1982-1996, 2001 (Record Series 15/2/816): Contains American Bottom Archaeology FAI-270 Site Reports volumes 1-15; 17-25 detailing archaeological investigations at sites in Monroe, St. Clair, and Madison Counties, Illinois. 

  • ITARP Studies in Archaeology, 1997- (Record Series 15/2/818): Studies in Archaeology series produced by the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program (ITARP) includes numbers 1-4: "The Archaeology of Downtown Cahokia" (1998); "The Cahokia Atlas" (1997); "Early Hopewell Mound Explorations" (2004); "Illinois Hopewell and Late Woodland Mounds" (2006); and "The Archaeology of Downtown Cahokia II" (2013) detailing archeological sites in Illinois with site maps, artifact inventories, case studies of particular digs and comprehensive analysis of each site. 

  • ITARP Publications, 1995- (Record Series 15/2/817): Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program (ITARP) Publications include the series Transportation Archaeological Research Reports (1995-) and Transportation Archaeological Bulletins (2002-) detailing archaeological investigations throughout the state of Illinois done by ITARP, a cooperative effort of the University of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Transportation. In February 1, 2010, the ITARP became the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) and joined the scientific surveys conducted through the Prairie Research Institute. 

  • World Heritage Museum Administrative Correspondence File, 1913-1986 (Record Series 15/34/1): Administrative Correspondence File of the World Heritage Museum includes correspondence that relate to the Morgantina archaeological excavations. 

Faculty and Staff Papers

  • Julian H. Steward Papers, 1842-1976 (Record Series 15/2/21): Papers of Julian Haynes Steward (1902-72), professor of anthropology (1952-72) a co-founder of the archaeology program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Illinois, includes materials relating to Southwestern United States archaeology and ethnology.  

  • Hubert L. Allen Papers, 1965-79 (Record Series 15/6/22): Papers of Hubert Lee Allen, III (1938- ), Professor of Classics and Curator of the Classical Collection, World Heritage Museum (1972-77), including correspondence, research materials, excavation site materials, grant proposals (1973-78), administrative records, and publications. The papers concern the Illinois-Princeton Excavations at a Hellenistic Era Greek site at Morgantina, Sicily, where Allen was Director (1968-79). The excavation records include correspondence with the Italian Antiquities Service and museums, and archaeologists, financial accounts, site photographs and maps, excavation notebooks and logs with observations on archaeological techniques, pottery and other artifacts, find inventories and publications. 

  • A. R. Kelly Papers, 1929-33 (Record Series 15/2/24): Papers of Arthur Randolph Kelly, Assistant Professor of Anthropology (1929-33), including correspondence, questionnaires, newspaper clippings, and reports concerning the Illinois Archaeological Survey of Southern Counties, and excavation of sites belonging to Indigenous peoples in southeastern Illinois. Includes survey sheets sent to persons in 72 counties requesting information on the remains of the Indigenous peoples. 

Alumni Records

  • Cary C. Burford Papers, 1930-60 (Record series 26/20/17): Papers of Cary Clive Burford '04 (1882-1961), including correspondence, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, photographs and postcard concerning the Illinois Archaeological Society, and artifacts of Indigenous peoples.  

Publications and Reference Files

Other Resources

  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Office: Specifics on the Moratorium in effect since September 15, 2020 on "research, teaching, display, imaging, and circulation of human remains and cultural items that are potentially subject to NAGPRA, including all on-site or loaned collections, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign." 

Morgantina Archaelogical Excavations

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