2010 Collier Lodge dig
sought for Collier Lodge dig
Times Staff | Posted: Monday, June 7, 2010 12:05 am
| There are secrets buried beneath the ground along the
, and members of the Kankakee Valley Historical Society are signing up
volunteers to dig them out.
KVHS will hold a general membership meeting Tuesday, which will include
archaeological dig informational and volunteer signup.
president John Hodson said the dig at Collier Lodge, south of Kouts
, runs July 5 through July 22. Volunteers will continue searching the
site for artifacts from the past, and more clues about an underground
structure, which was the focus of work last summer.
said dig leader
, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame,
thinks the underground structure they're studying may extend under the
historic Collier Lodge.
said all volunteers are welcome to join the dig, and they will join a
handful of graduate and undergraduate college students. They average
about 100 volunteers each year.
meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Kouts Public Library,
101 E. Daumer Road
also will show the 2010 Collier Lodge Archaeological National Register
the video, KVHS members will answer any questions and take applications.
On June 19, there will be a Collier Lodge dig site and field lab
cleanup. Work will begin at 9 a.m. Participants are asked to bring any
cleaning supplies and equipment to clean the field lab.
items include cleaning solutions, pails, mops, brooms and gloves.
For the grounds cleanup bring weed whackers, chainsaws, rakes, trimmers,
shovels and gloves. Hodson said this is a good time for new dig
volunteers to meet with dig veterans.
KVHS Aukiki River Festival will be held Aug. 28, which drew about 2,000
people last year. The organizations is looking for more volunteers to
work ARF, vendors and re-enactors from the Native American, voyageur,
fur trapper, Civil War eras and others up to the 1930s.
more information, call Hodson at (219) 766-2302, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or go online at www.kankakeevalleyhistoricalsociety.org.
search for treasure coming to Collier Lodge site
CHARLES M. BARTHOLOMEW, POST-TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENT
always easy for Kankakee Valley Historical Society president John Hodson
to sound like a kid around this time of year.
exciting, like school is starting again," he said, looking forward
to the eighth year of the society's archaeology project on the grounds
of the Collier Lodge at
on a section of the original channel of the
dig volunteers will be on hand Tuesday for an information and signup
session for volunteers on this year's dig, which will run from July 5 to
meeting will be held in the Kouts Branch of the Porter County Public
Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will begin with a 20-minute video
produced and narrated by Schurr about the process of applying for the
designation of the lodge as a Registered National Historic Landmark
archaeological site, which was approved for the society last year.
companion application for the lodge building, the last of the hunting
clubs that once dotted the Grand Kankakee Marsh, as a historical site is
pending, Hodson said.
want to sign up as many people as possible beforehand so we can get
right to work on the first day," he said.
of them will be veterans of past summer excavations.
said a main focus will be the cabin, discovered in 2008, that Schurr
believes may be partly underneath the lodge.
know it dates from around 1840, the Removal Period (when the U.S. Army
moved the Potawatomi out of
). Mark has been researching and testing a piece of timber that we
found," Hodson said.
said Schurr will open up more "units" in hopes of adding to
the thousands of artifacts, many of them thousands of years old, that
have been unearthed on the site.
Times Correspondent | Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 12:00 am
woman, others seek answers to previous
Collier Lodge excavations' questions
At 90 years old, Sophie Wojihoski said she isn't
afraid to get her hands dirty.
, was the oldest volunteer to arrive at the kickoff of this year's
Collier Lodge dig Monday, eager to begin excavating more than 9,000
years of history buried along the
"I love it," said Wojihoski, who has participated in
several previous digs. "There are a lot of treasures buried here
that we'll never find."
This is the eighth year for the Kankakee Valley Historical Society's
three-week dig at the historic Collier Lodge, a site loaded with
artifacts dating back to prehistoric times.
While past digs have produced old bits of pottery, arrowheads, musket
balls and even an ancient roasting pit, the focus of this year's project
is to answer many of the questions left over from last year's efforts.
, an anthropology professor at the University of Notre Dame, said he
hopes to establish the dimensions to an underground structure unearthed
three years ago up against the lodge. Originally thought to be a cabin,
Schurr and his team of amateur archaeologists concluded last year that
the structure was a root cellar extending 4.5 feet underground, the
width of which remains uncertain.
"We never found the western edge," Schurr said. "It
seems to go under the lodge."
Historical society President John Hodson said the dig also will delve
deeper into the riverbanks of the
where he believes they may find more artifacts hinting at how the land
has historically been used.
"You can find anything," Hodson said. "There's so much
stuff that happened here."
Surrounded by a crew of volunteer diggers spanning the spectrum of
experience, Schurr spent Monday morning explaining the ins and outs of
the site, teaching novices how to use equipment and emphasizing the need
"This week, were going to get instruments set up, stake out
units and start excavation," Schurr said. "It might take us a
couple days to get totally ramped up."
Volunteer Amanda Barron, who grew up in
and recently graduated from
, said this is the second year she has participated in the dig.
"It's local history," Barron said. "You can't go wrong
helping out a little bit. I've been to other field schools but didn't
learn as much as I have here."
Wojihoski, who dug up a German ring from World War II at last year's
dig, said she is excited to see what treasures she'll unearth this time
"Boy, if these things could talk to us, they could answer a lot
of questions," she said.
excavation hopes to find cellar
CARRIE NAPOLEON, POST-TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENT
-- A 3,000-year-old arrowhead, shards of prehistoric pottery, hand-made,
square-head nails and an 1893 cent were among the finds the first couple
days at the annual Collier's Lodge dig site.
is thousands of years of history here," said Melissa Unruh, a
research assistant for professor
from the University of Notre Dame, the man behind the archeological
excavation of the site for the past six years.
displayed some of the finds and explained there has been civilization at
the site for some 9,000 years.
was an early crossing of the
," she said.
the river's path has changed over the millennia, what the travelers have
left behind tells a tale of how the spot evolved to its most recent
carnation as the Collier Lodge built in the late 1800s, where Baum's
crosses the river.
said this year his students, volunteers and members of the Kankakee
Valley Historical Society are working to uncover the west and east
foundation of a pit cellar from an 1840s cabin at the site. The group
also has discovered roasting pits used 600 to 700 years ago.
by the end (of the three-week dig) we will know the size of the cellar
and have a better idea what was roasted in the pit," Schurr said.
Dame students Laura Mittelstaedt of
and Drew Webster of
, listened to instructions on how to properly handle the trowel to
scrape away tiny layers of dirt and material in the excavation pit to
reveal its hidden secrets.
Collier Lodge is their first archeological dig.
can learn about it in class, but it's really exciting to get hands-on
experience," Webster said.
shared his enthusiasm.
really fun and very different. It's a different process every single
time," she said.
pair worked the pit together, slowly revealing what is hopefully the
outer edge of the cellar. In one corner, part of a metal toy car could
be seen. It was unclear how many layers they would have to scrape away
before the entire toy could be revealed.
, a music professor at
and a volunteer at the site since the dig began, was overseeing their
work. Klapis said they have found a lot of toys at the site over the
years include one or two toy soldiers almost every year.
Hodson, president of the Kankakee Valley Historical Society, said
uncovering those layers of history is part of the excitement of the
project. He said it is interesting to see the variety of materials that
turn up each year and he expects the work to produce even more exciting
always find something good the last day or two," Hodson said.
bird's bone found at Collier Lodge dig site
July 21, 2010
M. BARTHOLOMEW, POST-TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENT
Like the great bison herds than
once blackened the Great Plains, the American passenger pigeon
filled the skies over the
more than a century ago.
On Monday, a cousin of Martha,
the last bird that died in 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo, reappeared
during a field workshop of the seventh annual archaeological dig
by the Kankakee Valley Historical Society at its Collier Lodge
site on the
"It's just a little bit
from the wing. It was actually dug up last year," said Notre
Dame anthropology professor
, who has supervised the mostly volunteer dig for the society
since it began the year after test digging in 2003.
Successive summers with
students, society members and interested amateurs have proved
Schurr's judgment that the ground around the last of the hunting
lodges still standing that once dotted the Great Kankakee Marsh is
a trove of historic and prehistoric artifacts dating back to the
melting of the Wisconsin Ice Sheet over 10,000 years ago.
The final day of the 2010 dig,
which is open to the public, is Thursday.
Schurr said the diggers brought
small bags of excavated bones Monday to check them against samples
shown by Terrence Martin, director of archaeology at the
, who visited the dig.
"He's the leading faunal
(animal) expert in the
," Schurr said.
He said the bone was similar,
but with subtle differences, to the wing of a rock dove, a
relative of the pigeon that is as common as the pigeon once was.
Other bones from the site proved
to be elk and black bear, extinct here since before 1870, possibly
prehistoric, showing why the marsh was a mecca for hundreds of
generations of hunters, he said.
"It's just a little
thing," said field school worker
, 20, of Jasper, who found the pigeon bone.
Society president John Hodson
said another milestone was passed Tuesday with the filing of an
application to have the lodge building added to the National
Register of Historic Places. The excavation site next to it
received historic status in 2008.
"We've had at least 25 or
30 people out here every day. It's been going slower this year
because of the heat. We're planning on having an artifact-washing
party at the end of the week," he said. He hopes the historic
status will open up more funding opportunities through grants and
treasures unearthed along Kankakee River
Times Correspondent | Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010 12:00 am
KOUTS | There still were treasures to be found at the Collier
Lodge dig site even as diggers began wrapping up excavation
Wednesday, finishing another successful dig along the Kankakee
Knee deep in dirt, volunteers pointed excitedly at the end of a
spoon barely visible under layers of soil and sand.
As usual at the end of a dig, a lot of stuff turns up, said
John Hodson, president of the Kankakee Valley Historical Society.
Today is the last day of the historical society's eighth annual
archaeological dig at the historic Collier Lodge, a site where in
three weeks artifacts have been found representing nearly 3,000
years of history and a lot of questions, many of which will go
unanswered until next year. Dig supervisor
, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame,
said one of the more intriguing mysteries unearthed this year
involves two late prehistoric roasting pits found a few feet away
from the lodge.
"There are always questions," Schurr said.
"We're still wondering about this part of the site. How far
do these pits extend? How big was this prehistoric camp?"
Schurr and his crew also continue to puzzle over the dimensions
of an underground structure discovered three years ago. Originally
thought to be a cabin, Schurr said he and his team since have
concluded the unit to be a root cellar, though its full width
remains to be determined.
"It's still a little ambiguous," Schurr said.
"We're probably pretty close."
Also among this years more notable finds include ancient
arrowheads, a 19th century lice comb and the wing bone of an
American passenger pigeon, a creature known to be extinct for
almost a century.
There are so many periods represented that are relatively
undisturbed, Schurr said. "We have one little acre of land
that people have been using for 10,000 years."
Novice diggers and amateur archaeologists came out to help with
excavation, some sifting through layers of dirt for shards of
pottery while others stood by, documenting each uncovered
artifact. Vanessa Wirth, a volunteer from
, said that while she has worked at other digs, she remains
impressed by the spectrum of history present at Collier Lodge.
"It's so rare to come by a really good site like
this," Wirth said. "I feel like I've been able to learn
Hodson said each piece will have to be cleaned before it is
taken to Notre Dame to be sorted, identified and recorded.
Meantime, he said he looks forward to seeing what next year's dig
"It's just like reading a book," Hodson said. This is
just another chapter."