Sourcing Lightning Whelk Shell Artifacts

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

  • Research & Collections Center, Springfield

Event Audience: 

Adult
Teen

Fee: 

Free and open to the public

Brown Bag Series lecture presented by Dr. Laura Kozuch, Collections Research Specialist, Illinois State Archaeological Survey

Dr. Kozuch will discuss her study of exotic marine artifacts from Mississippian sites, through which she seeks to more fully understand trade and shell-working technology. Currently, she is analyzing lightning whelk artifacts, shark teeth, and bead crafting from Cahokia and East St. Louis sites, as well as replicating beads made from lightning whelk shells. They are the preferred shell for making artifacts since Archaic times in the eastern half of the U.S. Kozuch has devised a method of sourcing lightning whelk shells using shell spire angles. Moreover, natural history information tells us they are from the Florida coast, based on abundance alone. These shells were not simply found on the beach, but were harvested alive by Florida coastal peoples, then bartered for Midwestern trade goods.

Bring your lunch and join us for a different speaker and topic on the third Wednesday of each month. Brown Bag Lectures are held at the ISM Research & Collections Center at 1011 E. Ash St. in Springfield. For additional information, please contact events@illinoisstatemuseum.org or (217) 558-6696.

lightning welk shell cup

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