We are very pleased to announce the launch of the Mapping Morton Village interactive digital map, which provides information on archaeology in general, as well as information on the ongoing Morton Village archaeological project.
Mapping Morton Village is based off of the archaeological site in Lewistown, Illinois, on a blufftop overlooking the Illinois River. The archaeological site is excavated through a joint research project by Michigan State University and the Dickson Mounds Museum. Public education has always been a major component of the Morton Village research project, however, with the State of Illinois budget problems, the Illinois State Museum system has been closed to the public. As the archaeological research project was co-funded and directed by the Dickson Mounds Museum, a satellite of the Illinois State Museum system, the established public archaeology programs can no longer occur.
The goal of our project is to raise awareness of the value that archaeological research has to understanding and interpreting human history, and to provide a resource for the public and researchers. As public outreach has always been an important part of the Morton Village research project, Mapping Morton Village takes a digital approach to educating the public about archaeology. Further, the project was a chance for us to collaborate, as our dissertation research focuses on different aspects of the Morton Village site.
The site includes four components: the interactive map, background, glossary, and the archaeology page. The interactive map component is where visitors to the site can engage with the various archaeological structures and highlighted topics to learn more about what archaeology actually is and its various components. The background section gives a brief overview of the Morton Village archaeological site, as well as a brief introduction to the Mapping Morton Village project. The glossary page provides key terms and definitions of words used throughout the site. Finally, the archaeology page includes links to the various archaeology topics, where more in depth explanations of each area are included as well as pictures from the excavations at Morton Village.
While we met our original goal of creating Mapping Morton Village, we found this to be a stepping stone for educating the public about archaeology. This site can be used by the public, school systems, and researchers to learn and teach others about the importance of archaeology. In the future, we hope to continue to update and improve digital access to the research at Morton Village while continuing to educate the public on the importance of archaeology and cultural heritage.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about the project!