2016 IUPUI Archaeology Field School

In 2016, the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) will return to Lawrenz Gun Club (11Cs4), a large, fortified Mississippian Period village in the central Illinois River valley. While the site is best known for the robust fortifications that were first constructed in the mid-12th century (~AD 1150), investigations in 2015 uncovered a century older cluster of late Lohmann-to-early Stirling Phase structures outside the community’s walls. Given the ephemeral evidence of early Mississippian communities in this region, we will be expanding our excavations in this area of the site in 2016 to obtain information on community and household structure/organization, identity and social reproduction, subsistence, and potential interactions with local, terminal Late Woodland groups. Additional work will also be conducted on the fortifications and other archaeo-magnetically detected features within the site’s walls.


Figure 1: A map of the central Illinois River valley with the approximate location of Mississippian Centers (in red) and modern cities and towns (in blue).

The field school will run for six weeks from Monday, May 16th through Friday, June 24th. Lab fees associated with this six-credit class will cover lodging and equipment costs. Participants and staff are responsible for their own meals. Registration for this course (i.e., ANTH-P 405: Field Work in Archaeology) can be accomplished through One.IU for undergraduates and graduates currently enrolled at any Indiana University campus. For those currently enrolled at another institution in Indiana (e.g., Purdue, Ball State) or elsewhere, enrolling in ANTH-P 405 is a straightforward process achieved through IUPUI’s Non-degree Admissions page. If any issues should arise during the registration process, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Wilson via email (wilsojer@iupui.edu). Following course completion, the transfer of these credit hours back to your home institution is easily accomplished.


Figure 2: 2015 IUPUI excavations on the northern palisade wall at Lawrenz revealing the relationship between circular and rectangular bastions.

Undergraduates that are residents of Indiana can expect to spend circa $1,600 for the six credit hours and a $905 course fee for lodging and equipment. The lodging will be at the Panther Creek Lodge in Ashland, IL, which is roughly 20 minutes from the site. Please contact Dr. Wilson for an estimate on weekly food costs. Individuals tend to make their own breakfast and lunches for the field, while dinners are cooked on a rotating basis by all students, staff and faculty involved in the project.

Figure 3: A topographic map of Lawrenz detailing the spatial distribution of structures, palisades, and bastions detected during remote sensing. Please do not reproduce (outside of educational contexts) without the explicit consent of Matthew Pike and Jeremy Wilson.

Lawrenz Gun Club is located in a relatively rural area of west-central Illinois, approximately an hour west of Springfield, IL. Participants in the field school are welcome to stay at the lodge in Illinois on the weekend or travel home by personal car. It is approximately a four-hour drive from Indianapolis. Participants will be expected to sign a “Code of Conduct” agreement at the beginning of the field season that applies to their behavior and interactions both at the archaeological site and while staying at the field house.

Location: Lawrenz Gun Club Village (11CS4), Central Illinois River Valley; Beardstown, IL

Dates: May 16th-June 24th, 2016

Contact: Dr. Jeremy Wilson; Phone: 317-274-5787; Email: wilsojer@iupui.edu


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