Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on August 21, 1972 · Page 7
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August 21, 1972

Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 7

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Alton, Illinois
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Monday, August 21, 1972
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Page 7
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Alton Evening Telegraph Monday, August 21, 1972 A-7 By JUD1 MOTTAZ D r. Stuart Struever, director of the Koster site excavation at Kampsville, who started excavating Indian mounds on his father's farm when he was ten years old, got into his profession by accident. "I was an archaeologist before I ever heard of the word, but still, after graduation from Dartmouth, I had trouble seeing the 'relevance of this type of study. I couldn't see how it was going to benefit anyone." Struever recalled. As a college freshman he badgered investigators of an Indian site at Starved Rock so that they finally gave him a shovel to get him out of their hair. Several accidents showed Archaeologist Struever the possibilities for vital benefits to his contemporaries from the study of his ancestors and focussed his interest on cultures existing In the Illinois River valley where he grew up. "For the first 18 years of my life, my bedroom window looked out on the Illinois River in Peru, Illinois, but Africa was my goal when I decided to go to Northwestern University for a master's degree in archaeology and anthropology with a major in African studies." "I had spent several years wandering searching for the relevance ^my students are talking about today and found myself in West Africa." Struever stumbled across some unexplored ruins, isolated on the Guinea Coast of Africa. The experience was so moving that he went back to resume studies with the Intention of returning to Africa as soon as possible. While gaining advanced degrees in archaeology, Struevber was disturbed by the traditions of the very old science which had made few technological advances and had no new approaches. "I became concerned that archaeologists were hiding their lights under a bushel. People had hardly heard of the discipline; they weren't aware of its implications for them such as' what there is to be learned by observing the causes for the decline of a civilization, its health problems, the reasons for war and unlimited .other aspects of the study of ancient cultures." He began giving lectures as a fledgling member of the Northwestern Archaeology Department staff. A not so unusual Ipss of his way on unfamiliar roads changed Struever's focus of exploration from Africa to the lower Illinois River valley. He was heading for St. Louis to give a Rotary Club lecture when he made several wrong turns and ended up on route 100 near Kampsville. There he saw a trench in a mound on a farmer's field, slopped and asked permission to excavate, and has been working in the area ever since. The mound proved to be a Ilopewell tomb from a culture that existed from about 100 B.C. to A,D. 450. Struever got his friends interested in this culture, and they spent every summer for ten years studying the Woodland cultures of which the llopewells were a part. At the urging -of a local collector of artifacts, the archaeologist investigated a field which has become the most significant North American exploration in the last fifty years, perhaps in all time. Core drilling found evidence of occupation of ihe field, the Koster site, extending the time of occupation to about 7,200 years ago. The findings in the Kampsville area were so compelling and offered such tremendous potential that Struever's attention turned to major obstacles in the progress of the 3 charged in slaying CHICAGO (AP) - Three persons have been charged with the murder of a Marine sergeant as he tried to prevent a robbery in the apartment building where he lived. Sgt. Dennis Nelson, 23, a Vietnam veteran who had served seven years in the Marine Corps and was home on leave, was shot -three times Sunday, police said. Rodney West, 19, Larry Haynes, 17, and an unidentified juvenile were arrested a short time later and charged. ^^••^^ *•" w»» j_« T xxlltll|E, J. \*1V-JB,A HJJll .LfiVJI JltajT | f" Dr. Struever became archaeologist by accident exploration. "Archaeology had been an occupation for rich people or people with patrons; there just wasn't adequate funding even through welathy universities such as Northwestern, and there certainly wasn't enough money forthcoming from the federal government, even though the National Science Foundation made contributions to archaeological expeditions." He decided they were never going to get anywhere If they stayed in the traditional framework of funding, so he set out to get money from Individuals and corporations. "Those of us working here believed that If people could discover how important the history of this area was it would dumbfound them," he said. Struever, who has been called archaeologist's evangelist, gave lectures, appeared on television, talked on the radio, wrote articles and "Bang, we were right. People were interested, and they made donations from $1 to $1,000." Struever Is tirelessly persistent; last summer, appalled by the waste of student labor moving backfill,dirt that a machine could handle, he knocked on doors of offices of tractor companies. It took trips to six different companies, but he finally got the loan of a bulldozer. The Foundation for Illinois Archaeology, which had berm a set of bylaws and a letterhead, became the medium for private financing of an extensive institute of Archaeology in the Illinois River valley. The first year of serious campaigning for members enrolled 600, and the second year added 1200 more. As Ihe result of spreading the word. private funds from ihe Foundation financed 65 per cent of this year's work at Kampsville. Struever emphasizes that the money is well spent: administration costs arc kept at three per cent. Twelve buildings in Kampsville are owned by the Foundation. Twenty more are renter!' laboratories are converted homes and stores, whatever is available. The museum was once ;i meat market, and the zoology lab was a hardware store. Plumbing facilities at l he Koster site cost seven dollars for materials and a little student labor which included artistic talent and some bright paint. Money is spent on highly t r a i n e d personnel. sophisticated science laboratories and a computer hookup to Northwestern. "Our setup doesn't look improssiv \ but we really produce," claims Struo.vor. Struever is not a ono-trum show, tic works with leading experts in the numerous aspects of archaeology in an attempt to develop n class of professional technicians to work in s.'iphisficafcd coordination to uncover inform a f i o n about past civ-iliznM'ons that could have revolutionary affects on today's population if we were willing to learn from the pattf-nis of our ancestors. The Knmpsville team in- eludes eight. full-time professors, 80 students with some experience who act :is supervisors for a salary lar;e- enout;h to support them, '10 students never in the field before, and a maintenance staff of eight. The maintrnace staff in- eludes local people — teachers serve as guides on the site and in the museum; two cooks spend full-limp feeding the hungry crew; an;i the two quartermasters by food and supplies. In addition, a busy waitress in a restaurant on the river shore reports that she has- been hopping all summer. Thousands of visitors have made the trek to Kampvil'e this summer, a fact which i<5 verified b> the operators of the Kampsville Ferry which is the only way to get across the river to the town from the site. Kampsville is not ungrateful for its new popularity. Last year when a shortage of funds threatened to cut short ihe dig, the town raised a thousand dollars with a fish fry and other fund-raising events. Alice Struever, a biology expert, accompanies her husband on the expedition. She is supervisor of the Flotation Lab in which dirt which has undergone multiple screenings is further analyzed by floating out minute dietary remains and charcoal Nathan, six, and Hannah, five, also spend summers in Kampsville. Struever, the Pled Piper of Archaeology, is young and is just developing his potential, but he feels an urgency about exploring the Illinois valley. "There are no laws to protect our heritage, although we protect wildflowers in Illinois and endangered animals. 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