Visiting Archaeological Sites & Museums in Illinois

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Archaeology Sites in Illinois

Cahokia Mounds State Historic State

Monks Mound at Cahokia Mounds State Historical SiteCahokia Mounds are the remains of what was the largest and most complex urban settlement in the USA before the arrival of European colonists. The earliest evidence for human activity dates to about 500 AD, and by 1200 AD there were over 120 mounds and covered an area estimated at about six square miles. Today the archaeological site is in Cahokia Mounds State Park just east of St Louis and on the other side of the Mississippi River, which gives its name to the culture that built these impressive mounds … go to Cahokia.

Archaeology Museums in Illinois

Art Institute of Chicago

Bronze lion by Edward Kemeys, at the entrance to the Art Institute of ChicagoFounded in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago exhibits artistic traditions from around the World. With over 300,000 objects and over one million square feet, this is not only one of the leading art institutions in the United States of America, it is the second largest – following the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Although an art museum with substantial collections of modern and contemporary art, there is also much of archaeological interest on display, in particular from Europe and Asia … go to the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Field Museum, Chicago

The Field Museum in ChicagoThe Field Museum is one of three institutions that make up the Museum Campus on the lakefront of Lake Michigan in Chicago. The other two attractions are the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. Museum Campus is the most popular visitor destination in Chicago. The museum has over 24 million artefacts and specimens in four broad areas, anthropology (including archaeology), geology, botany and zoology. Of these over a million and a half are ancient objects from civilisations all over the World, including Asia and Africa. The museum has an extensive archaeological and ethnographic permanent display on the peoples of the Americas … go to the Field Museum.

The Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago

The entrance to the Oriental Institute MuseumArchaeologists based at the Oriental Institute have been actively involved in research on the archaeology of the Near East since the end of the nineteenth century. The Institute’s collections come from the earlier excavations in the Near East, and they are amongst the most important collections of artefacts from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria and Turkey. Artefacts from these areas range in date from 10,000 BC to around 650 AD. In a series of extensive permanent displays, the Institute’s museum showcases just a fraction of these objects – providing an overview of the archaeology, history and art of the ancient Near East … go to the Oriental Museum.