“Privies, Privies, Everywhere” — Free Lecture with Historical Archaeologist Tonight at Midewin

The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in southern Will County, about 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, is the largest tallgrass prairie ecological restoration project east of the Mississippi River, and one of the great open space resources / biodiversity preserves in the greater Chicago region. Midewin sign

Each winter, the Visitor’s Center at Midewin hosts a lecture series on conservation, ecology, and the natural and cultural history of this 19,000-acre prairie, wetland, savanna, and woodland complex between Joliet and Wilmington. These presentations are free and open to the general public.

All lectures begin at 7pm at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Welcome Center (or Hotshot building if additional space is needed).  Doors open at 6:30pm with refreshments provided by The Midewin Alliance.

“Privies, Privies, Everywhere”: An Historical Archaeologist ponders Three Decades of Privy Excavations in Illinois

Join Floyd Mansberger, archaeologist at Fever River Research, on Thursday, February 25th to learn about how privies (or more appropriately “privy pits’) are one of the more common feature types encountered by historical archaeologists in Illinois. These pits are “time capsules” that represent the subsurface remains of the ubiquitous “outhouse,” which was once associated with almost every nineteenth and early twentieth century site occupied by humans for any length of time.

These pits often contain a large number (and great variety) of relatively whole and/or restorable artifacts which have been deposited over a relatively short period of time. These artifacts represent a unique view of the changing quality of life of the early residents of that site. This presentation will discuss the value of the scientific investigation of privy pits and will look specifically at a selection of privy pits excavated by Fever River Research over the years.

Save the following Thursday evenings for these upcoming lectures, and click here for a full Event Calendar (pdf).

  • March 10, “The Rocks and Rolls of Midewin Tallgrass Prairie,” presented by Volunteer Interpreter Keith Graham
  • March 24, “Amphibians and Reptiles of the Tallgrass Prairie,” presented by naturalist Kevin Luby
  • April 7, “National Parks and America’s Railroads,” presented by the Glenwood Railroad Museum’s Pat Thrasher
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