We’re back on track with our monthly Early Man feature! This month we have newsletter #3 from August 1974. Here are some of the highlights of this issue:

  • announcement of the the first fall programs including a field school and tour packages for school groups
  • a discussion of Koster visitor reactions, a newly identified activity area in Horizon 4, and general updates on the progress of the excavation
  • profiles of two personnel: John A. Merrill and Peter Gilmour
  • a history of the Clendenen family and their homestead (a.k.a. “the old stone house at the Koster site”)

The title of this blog post comes from a quote by Terry Poelker of Belleville, IL.1

When asked if the work being done on the Koster site was important, Poelker stated, “I think it’s really important to everybody. They really should keep going. Everything isn’t in Mesopotamia.”

As witty as these remarks are, there is some truth to them. The Lower Illinois Valley has an archaeological record that holds its own among the more popular and exotic regions like Mesopotamia. Thanks to CAA projects like the Koster expedition and the many influential bioarchaeological and environmental studies we have facilitated over the years, archaeologists have demonstrated that this region is host to a near continuous record of human occupation dating back 10,000 years. Although the past peoples of the Lower Illinois Valley did not make bronze statuettes or carve intricate cylinder seals, their legacy is no less important. Their legacy is our legacy, if only for the simple fact that we both happened to occupy the same place on the map.2 It is the legacy of this land we call home. As Terry Poekler said after visiting Koster, “it’s important to everybody”.

August 1974

August 1974

As always, we are ready to hear from you. Tell us your story or send us your photos. We’ll feature them on our Facebook page as part of our popular #ThrowbackThursday or post them to our blog (all with appropriate credit, of course).


1. see page 2 of the August 1974 newsletter
2. a point emphasized in the “Clendenen Homestead” article on page 5 of the August 1974 newsletter.

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