2016 Morton Village Fieldschool

May 23 – July 1, 2016; Anthropology 464: Field Methods in Archaeology

Join us for our 9th field season at the village site of Norris Farms Cemetery, one of the clearest examples of pre-Columbian warfare in North America. Our research at Morton Village examines the social context for violence. To continue our analysis of social interaction between Oneota and Mississippian peoples at the village, we will excavate house structures and conduct test excavations on one of the recently documented ritual structures.

morton1As in any archaeological field school, students learn through hands-on application of methods. Students are contributing members of the research team and work closely with the instructor, teaching assistants, and other professional archaeologists and specialists.

For more information about prehistory in the Central Illinois River Valley, visit the Illinois State Museum website Native Americans and go through the prehistory section. The Morton Village Site is in Fulton County; you will see that many of the artifacts featured are from this area.

Instructor: Dr. Jodie O’Gorman

Unique Learning Experience:

  • Excavation, survey, laboratory, classroom and museum study, field trips, guest lecturers, inter-disciplinary research
  • Learn survey and excavation methods
  • Class size limited to 15 students
  • Six credits – undergraduate or graduate level
  • Additional credits available for subsequent laboratory work
  • Undergraduate research possibilities
  • New related internship opportunity

The Field School Experience

morton2This is a residential field school experience. Students, the instructor, and teaching assistants share lodging and meals during the six week course. Field work will normally take place 5.5 days a week with students doing laboratory rotations. Because of the emphasis on public outreach, we will work Saturdays. Field trips to Cahokia Mounds and other active field projects are planned.

Central Illinois River Valley

The Central Illinois River Valley is a beautiful, rural area where the vast floodplain is surrounded by bluffs. This rich ecological setting was home to numerous cultures throughout prehistory. As you stand on the observation deck at Dickson Mounds Museum, maps of the immediate area point you to numerous large villages. Visit the web site Of Time and the River to get a feel for the area and to read more about the prehistory and early history of the region.


Students register for 6 credits of ANP464 – a department methods course – and there is an additional $750 course fee that includes food, lodging, and lab fees.  The site is in west-central Illinois

Student Eligibility

Current Freshmen through Seniors may apply. Previous introductory archaeology or related course required.

To Apply

In order to be considered for the Morton Village Fieldschool, students must submit an application by February 26th.  Application form can be downloaded here (PDF).  For additional information, please contact Dr. Jodie O’Gorman via e-mail at ogorman@msu.edu