An archaeological dig at Southern Illinois Airport has uncovered artifacts dating back to about 1,000 years ago.
Patrick Durst, Statewide Survey Coordinator with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, said his crew has discovered five house plots from the Mississippian Era, which was about 1100 AD or so.
He said the area located on airport property could have been a Native American community. The tribes would have existed before any recognized tribes known today.
Durst said he has already discovered nearly 40 different areas within the area just off Fox Farm Road, leading to remnants from the Mississippian Era.
The dig also uncovered a stone ax, which is most likely from the archaic period in North America. The tool would be thousands of years old, much before the Mississippian Era. He said the stone ax would have been used for cutting trees and wood.
Durst’s crew has outlined specific areas within the site, especially where the Mississippian Era houses were found, and will dig deeper to see what can be found.
“We are going to excavate those houses, collect all the data, so when we piece this back together later, we can create a clear picture of what was happening here,” Durst said. “It is exciting because you never know what you will find.”
Durst said crews will remain on the site for a couple more weeks searching for more artifacts.