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Learn About The Cook County Forest Preserves' 600 Archaeological Sites!

The entire history of human occupation in the Chicago area, from 12,000 years ago to the present day, can be found in the more than 600 archaeological sites in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.


During a free forum at The Field Museum on Saturday, Nov. 5, attendees will discover what these sites can tell us about the region's past, how it's shaped our present, and what we must do to protect it in the future.


The Chicago area has a long tradition as a crossroads where diverse cultural groups and their ideas have converged. Archaeological sites throughout the Forest Preserves can tell us how humans lived and organized themselves in the past, and why populations settled in this region.

The forum will include welcoming remarks by Cook County Board and Forest Preserves of Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle, and presentations from archaeologists, historians and experts on the Chicago area's prehistory, early history and contemporary Native American communities.

November 5 is also National Bison Day, and speakers will present on the historical and present day significance of bison and their impact on the natural and cultural landscape.

Presentations include:

  • "A Plan for the Forest Preserves' Cultural Resources," John McCabe, Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • "Archaeology of Cook County: 12,000 Years of Human Occupation," Thomas Loebel, Illinois State Archaeological Survey
  • "The Late Prehistoric Era in the Chicago Area, A. D. 1200 - 1600," Douglas Jackson, Illinois State Archaeological Survey
  • "When Chicago Became Real Estate," Ann Keating, North Central College
  • "From Lost Species to U.S. National Mammal," Keith Aune, American Bison Coalition
  • "Buffalo Restoration: The Native American Perspective," Jim Stone, Inter Tribal Buffalo Council

Following the program, attendees will be able to participate in a question-and-answer session with presenters, moderated by The Field Museum's Chicago Region Program Director Mark Bouman, and view artifacts recovered in the Forest Preserves.

Attendees who purchase a ticket to The Field Museum for Nov. 5 are also invited to join an optional 45-minute docent-led exhibit tour beginning at 4 p.m. Those interested in joining the curator tour can register by e-mailing

For more information, see The Cultural History of the Forest Preserves: Prehistoric Villages to Contemporary Communities.


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 1, 2016

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