Career Is Uncovering the Past Wheaton Native Finds Her Calling in Archaeology

By Skweres, Ginny | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 5, 1997 | Go to article overview

Career Is Uncovering the Past Wheaton Native Finds Her Calling in Archaeology


Skweres, Ginny, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Ginny Skweres Daily Herald Correspondent

Most career dreams don't involve getting coated with dust while working in the hot sun, wearing pants, a shirt with long sleeves and a hat to prevent sunburn and insect bites.

But that scenario is a dream come true for Winifred Creamer of Wheaton.

Creamer is an archaeologist, a professor of archaeology and American Indians at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, an adjunct curator at Chicago's Field Museum, as well as a wife and the mother of three daughters, ages 12, 10 and 6.

She'll be speaking on Saturday to the Wheaton-Glen Ellyn branch of the American Association of University Women. Her talk will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Lake Ellyn boathouse, 645 Lenox Road, Glen Ellyn. The public is invited.

She'll focus on her current research topic, "What happened to the native people when Europeans arrived in the new world?"

She researches that question with her husband and fellow archaeologist, Jonathan Creamer.

"In Mexico City, the Spanish introduced diseases to which the native people were not immune," Creamer said. "That caused a decline in population."

"It (the New Mexico site) had enormous villages in the 1400's, and the Europeans came in the 1500's," she said.

Creamer's goal was to find out if the Europeans had the same effect on the Indian population. Did they introduce disease and cause the population to die off?

Creamer originally thought that the New Mexico village had thousands of Indians living in it. The adobe villages were huge, with 3,000 rooms.

But Creamer later discovered that only a portion of the adobes were being lived in at one time. Instead of rehabbing the old adobes, the Indians just built new ones, leaving the old ones vacant. …

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