The Sangamo Frontier: History and Archaeology in the Shadow of Lincoln

By Robert Mazrim | Go to book overview

As the director of the contract archaeology program at the Center for American Archeology, Kenneth Farnsworth encouraged and supported a number of settlement and transportation-related studies, which were crucial in building an understanding of early land use in central Illinois. Ken opened a door for me nearly twenty years ago, has generously provided many hours of assistance in the field, and has served as a patient editor for much of my work in recent years.

Dennis Naglich, my excavation partner during three years of work at New Salem, has brought his skills as a field archaeologist to a number of my underfunded projects. During our work at Peoria, Duane Esarey, formerly of the Dickson Mounds Museum, graciously contributed his research into the French history of the Illinois River Valley, and we have shared many hours of inspiring research and good conversation ever since. Curtis Mann, manager of the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library, has shared his research into the social history of early central Illinois on numerous occasions, and has brought his experience, enthusiasm, and friendship to many of the projects described in this book.

Richard Taylor of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency brought me to New Salem in 1994, and still encourages me to see the people behind the artifacts. Dick's perspectives have been a valued addition to the work described below. David Hedrick, site manager of Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, not only made our excavations there possible and very pleasant, but also continues to support a framework for its integration into an important interpretive program. Thomas Schwartz of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library has initiated new projects that promise to further synthesize the archaeological information concerning Lincoln's central Illinois home with that of the written record.

Terrance Martin of the Illinois State Museum conducted the faunal analysis for several of the studies described below. Thomas Wood of the University of Illinois, Springfield, patiently assisted in the navigation of numerous county records. On many occasions, Gillette Ransom has contributed her efforts and boundless enthusiasm to our museum at Elkhart. The Chimento, Green, Isringhausen, O'Brien, Sullivan, Pasquesi, and Ransom families have served as conscientious stewards of important archaeological sites in the region. Robert Devens of the University of Chicago Press not only provided the impetus for this publication, but also contributed a number of important insights that helped shape the book. Finally, Cynthia, Frank, and Ruthann have provided just about everything else along the way.

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