APRIL 2014


Our Next Meeting

Sunday, April 27, 3:00 PM
“New Developments at Bonampak.”

Dr. Claudia Brittenham:

Dr. Brittenham’s presentation was partially underwritten by Raymond and Edith Young.

Dinner: 5:00 p.m. Informal dinner with our guest speaker at Dave’s Italian Kitchen.

Please note venue change from Library to North Shore Retirement Hotel, 1611 Chicago Avenue, Evanston for April only.

Rediscovering the Mayas; Reflections on the Murals of


Anthropologists, art historians, and travelers alike consider the Bonampak art murals to be the finest examples of ancient Maya paintings, and of ancient royal court storytelling. Bonampak, named after the Mayan words meaning “painted walls,” is an archaeological site located deep within the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas, Mexico.

The CAS April audience will have the exciting opportunity to learn of Dr. Brittenham’s recent in-depth study of the Bonampak paintings, carried out in collaboration with art historian Mary Miller, which brings together decades of investigative work that has been done by art historians, epigraphers, archaeologists, conservators, and other scholars.

Multi-disciplinary research at the site has contributed to the recovery of the murals, and subsequently, to the preservation and study of Mexico’s national heritage.

Dr. Claudia Brittenham is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. She earned her PhD at Yale University. Her research interests include the art of ancient Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, with a special interest in issues of art and identity, intercultural interaction, the materiality of art, and the politics of style.

Her current research examines problems of visibility and the status of images in Mesoamerica. Brittenham’s most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Mary Miller, Sterling Professor of History of Art, and Dean of Yale College, is entitled “The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court; Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak”

Jeanne Jesernik

  The Palimpsest

    Bob Stelton; Editor

The Parthenon Comes to Nashville, Tennessee

The CAS does get around from the post-Columbian Michigan and off to Greece—in the same afternoon. Like Phileas Fogg it has a few tricks to share with its members. The opening ten minutes of the March meeting found Deb Stelton narrating a MexiMayan Travel Adventure DVD edited by Bob Stelton. The first scenes witnessed the crumbling Parthenon atop Athenian acropolis with workers toiling over its restoration, and then a rapid shift to the resurrected glory of its name- sake in Nashville, Tennessee. Yes the complete monument with 50 foot Athena inside constructed from concepts of small souvenirs from 2,500 years ago provides a real feeing of what it must have been like to be in that sacred temple gazing upon Athena.

Five CAS members are enrolled with MexiMayan’s October Greek trip will inspect the Athenian Parthenon. However if you can't make it to Athens, the CAS is planning a Nashville Safari and you are invited.

The DVD concluded with scenes of the reconstructed Palace of Knossos with its depictions of the mythical and terrifying Minotaur in its lair within labyrinth. The myth possibly was the basis of bull leaping the practice of young men and women leaping over bulls during initiation ceremonies.

For information on the

Glory of Greece October 2-14, 2014 travel adventure you may call toll free:

  1. (800)337-6394

Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Human’ Arrival in the Americas

The above byline was taken from an article published in the March 28, 2014 edition of the New York Times.

The author, Simon Romero, has been a contract writer for the NYT since 1999 stationed in São Paulo, Brazil, where he covered a range issues. Since 2011 he has been the NYT Brazil Bureau Chief. With the exception of the March 28 article he seems not to have written on the subject of archaeology/ anthropology for the NYT.

The Peopling of the Americas has been a matter of contention and debate for decades and is unlikely to be resolved any time in the near future.

The Romero article warrants attention. However, the presentation is unbalanced and misleading.

CAS Member Mike Ruggeri, who gave a presentation on the Pre-Clovis to the Society, posts this critique;

A story on the First Americans appeared in the New York Times last week discussing the Pre-Clovis arrival of people into the the Americas, and the dates they arrived. The story was poorly written and not well researched. It jumbled up genuine Pre-Clovis sites with sites that are purported to be very old, and did not make a distinction between real evidence and exaggerated claims. There are references to Brazilian sites that are purported to go back 20,000 years and more. These sites in Brazil, at Pedro Furada and Serra da Capivara among others, show no evidence of human DNA, human skeletal materials, dwellings, fabrics, food, or any man made implements that can be dated this far back in time. The only “evidence” they can show at these sites are chipped stones which they interpret as man made “tools.” Stones can be chipped over long periods of time by rock falls, avalanches, fires. Unless you have some other material that can definitely be linked to man and then dated precisely,

chipped stones are not proof of any real kind.

There is a site in Texas the article mentions that has been dated by teams there at 15,500 years ago. But again, all they have there are the same chipped stones they interpret as “tools.” No other evidence has been found of a human nature. And the site in question is in an area of constantly shifting stratigraphy. Extreme claims are being made at a site on the East Coast, the Topper Site, with dates going back 50,000 years ago. But again, only chipped stones, and once again, no human DNA evidence, no dwellings, no food, no skeletal material to back up any of these claims.

There are only two sites found so far in the Americas that are proven to be Pre-Clovis, and that are both dated at 14.300 years ago. The Monte Verde site in Chile, where proof of human dwellings, fabrics, footprints and even seaweed chewed by humans has been proven to be at the 14,300 years ago date. The other site is in Oregon at Paisley Cave, where tools have been found in conjunction with animals eaten by humans, and human coprolites, proof of human DNA, have been positively dated at 14,300 years ago.

There are two other sites that are of interest, and may show proof of Pre-Clovis habitation beyond chipped pieces of stone; the Manis Mastodon site in Washington State, where a human made projectile point was found embedded in a mastodon and the mastodon has been dated to Pre-Clovis times, by several hundred years, and a butchered ancient sloth bone was found in Ohio with proven evidence of human tools used in the butchering. The sloth is dated to 14,300 years ago, the same Pre-Clovis dates as found at Monte Verde and Paisley Cave. But again, these two finds still lack the panoply of human evidence that are present at Monte Verde and Paisley Cave.


Fort St Joseph; Four Flags Over America

In a fit of generosity Louis XIV, of France, granted a section of land, located on south side of present-day Niles, Michigan, to the Jesuits who established the Mission of de Saint-Joseph to minister to the local Native Americans. Later, in 1691, Fort St. Joseph was built and as they say, “the rest is history” except for the lost pages sucked into a historical black hole sometime after 1785 when the fort and all traces of it disappeared. But in 1998 when it was rediscovered by an archaeological survey group.

The CAS March speaker, Dr. Michael S. Nassaney, has played a major role in the recovery of the history of Fort St. Joseph. He described archaeological obstructions and related problems that have confronted historians and anthropologists who were trying to fill in the blank pages of Fort St. Joseph and to give meaning to an overlooked time of confrontation of Europeans and Native Americans.

The four flags unfurled over Fort St. Joseph’s palisades were those of France, Spain, Great Britain and the United States. Beyond its value as a war trophy what was the meaning of Fort St. Joseph’s history? Of what importance was the fort to the people who lived and died there? Was the fort and its environs a melting pot or a mosaic? Recovered treasures, like a small crucifix cut from metal possibly by a Native American, reveal to us as much or more than recovered musket balls.

It was an engaging afternoon and our informal dinner with Dr. Nassaney nicely rounded our informal rendezvous with history.

CAS members who missed Dr. Nassaney’s presentation are welcome to borrow the DVD program recording. For an armchair tour here’s a YouTube link;

You can keep up with archaeology events with these links:



Chicago Archaeological Society Online Codex:


Monday, April 28th, 6:30 PM

Chicago Adler Planetarium 15th Annual Roderick S. Webster Memorial Lecture.

“Decoding the Astronomical Narrative in the Codex Borgia.”

Dr. Susan Milbrath of the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida

One of the great masterpieces of ancient Mexico, the Codex Borgia contains a unique section that has been studied for more than a century. Its colorful images link the cycle of ceremonies of the Central Mexican calendar to specific astronomical observations, including Venus events, lunar cycles, and the only total eclipse of the sun witnessed in Central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period (AD 1325–1520). Using computer simulations, Milbrath proposes a definitive reading of the narrative related to these observations.

It is free and open to the public although seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. All staff and volunteers are invited to attend, but please remember to register via the link below and be mindful of that first come, first served seating process.

Samuel C. Johnson Family Star Theater. 

Adler Planetarium

Chicago, Illinois

More information about the lecture and how to confirm your attendance can be found here:

Saturday, May 3

The Illinois Association for Advancement of Archaeology Annual Meeting

Hosted by the South Suburban Archaeological Society

The Illinois Association for Advancement of Archaeology annual meeting will be held in downtown Galena, Illinois. In addition to the annual business meeting, we will celebrate the recent purchase and preservation of important Native American sites in Northwest Illinois, including a site with the only recorded bear effigy mound in Illinois. The meeting will be held at Galena, Illinois in the Grand Ballroom of the 1855 DeSoto House, a stately facility refurbished with modern comforts. After the business meeting, two speakers will present illustrated talks on advances in regional archaeology. A light lunch will follow, after which we will tour of three of the sites. In the evening attendees are invited to enjoy dining in Galena or begin the trip home. Sunday night accommodations are also available, followed by a tour of the fourth site on Sunday.


REGISTRATION at DeSoto House, Galena IL, with coffee and juices



PRESENTATIONS on Northwest Illinois Archaeology

Introduction, Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation

Philip G. Millhouse, Ph.D., Senior Research Archaeologist, Illinois State Archaeological Survey

"The Importance of Jo Daviess County Archaeological Resources to Illinois Archaeology"

Philip G. Millhouse, Ph.D., Senior Research Archaeologist, Illinois State Archaeological Survey

"The John Chapman Site at Wapello"

Ferrel Anderson, President, Quad-Cities Archaeological Society 

12:00-1:30 LUNCH

1:30 - 5:00 TOUR of selected sites in Jo Daviess County, by private car or personal car pool:

An effigy mound group and lead mining site in Galena

The Chapman Site at the Wapello Reserve

The Aiken site between Galena and Hanover, on the Mississippi

A tour of the Portage Mound Group at the mouth of the Galena River is planned for Sunday, May 4. This half-mile walk will require good walking shoes.

Conference Hotel is DeSoto House, 

230 South Main Street, 

Galena, Illinois 

A wide variety of room sizes is available for both May 2 and May 3.

Through April 2, 2014, attendees may reserve rooms for $110/night, a 50% discount. 

Tel.: 815-777-0090 Toll-free: 800-343-6562 Fax: 815-777-9529

Make checks payable to South Suburban Archaeological Society or SSAS and mail payments to: Will Kelley, President, SSAS, P.O. Box 141, Monee, IL 60449-0141

For additional information contact Will Kelley at or 773-268-6705

Oriental Institute Exhibit

Oriental Institute, Special Exhibit Opening: April 7, 2014 to January 4, 2014:

“In Remembrance of Me: Feasting with the Dead in the Ancient Middle East.”

773 702-9514

For calendar items, please call Bob Stelton;


Inclusion deadline is the last Friday of the month

Oriental Institute, Breasted Hall

TEL: (630) 972-9090 e-mail:

Chicago Archaeology Society Online Codex



April 27, 2014

“New Developments At Bonampak”

Dr. Claudia Brittenham

May 18, 2014

“Archaeological Exploration at Aztalan”

Dr. Lynn Goldstein

September 28, 2014;

“The Ancient Maya”

Dr. J. Lucero

October 26, 2014

“World War II POW Camps.”

Mr. James Meierhoff

December 7, 2014

“Kingdom of Kush”

Dr. Bruce B. Williams

All Lectures (unless otherwise indicated) are at

The Evanston Public Library

1703 Orrington Avenue

Evanston, Illinois

(Always Plenty of Free Parking)

CAS Officers and Board         

President Raymond Young

Vice President

Lucy Kennedy

Secretary & Newsletter


Robert Stelton 


Michael Ruggeri

Director Judith Greene Director Peter Greene Director Jeanne Jesernik

Director Ronald Albiani Director Jean Dunkerley

Director Lynn Miller

Director Nancy Podwika

Director Kathy Pratt

Director Jeanne Zasadil

Director Jacqueline Leipold

Director Kendra Massey Director Doreen Stelton

Director Sandra Boots Director Sally Campbell Director Edward Lace Director Edith Castro-Young

Director Karen Memory Director David Zucker


Dr. Claudia Brittenham


Dr. Michael Nassaney