Volume 32, Number 8, April, 2022, Published eight times during the program year, CHICAGO ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY ~ 123 W Madison St, Suite 2100 • Chicago IL 6060


3:15 PM Members Social. 3:30 PM Lecture Begins  

Dr. Thomas Loebel, University of Illinois     

“The DeWulf Paleoindian Project: Early Holocene Ceremonial Behavior in the Western Great Lakes”

The meeting will be live at our regular meeting place; the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston.

 It will also be on Zoom at this address as a backup.

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Meeting ID: 817 8484 7509
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Thomas Loebel


“The DeWulf Paleoindian Project: Early Holocene Ceremonial Behavior in the Western Great Lakes”

Dating to approximately 9500 years old, the DeWulf site offers a rare window into hunter-gatherer social practices. First located by local residents Kenny and Jeff Hipskind, the site was excavated from 2010-2021 as part of a public-professional effort to salvage a unique and important Late Paleoindian site in western Illinois. 

Characterized by a dense surface scatter of broken and burned tools and debris, the site is unusual in that a large number of projectile points and tools were brought to the site and apparently intentionally broken and burned. 

In late 2020 salvage investigations resumed, and a force of volunteers, students, and professional archaeologists mobilized to complete work at the site, resulting in one of the largest assemblages of Late Paleoindian tools in the entire Midwest. 

This talk will highlight the project and the opportunity that a site like DeWulf presents to examine the intriguing social lives of the people who first called these lands home over 9000 years ago.

Dr. Thomas Loebel has been actively involved in Illinois and midwestern archaeology for over 30 years. His research interests center around the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene hunter-gatherer archaeological record and the manufacture and use of stone tools, although he has worked on sites of nearly every time period across North America. He received his PhD in 2005 and has published over 40 journal articles and book chapters on topics ranging from Paleoindian stone tool usewear to Upper Mississippian settlement patterns.


Mike Ruggeri


Dr. Vincent LaMotta presented a talk on the transition in the Southwest after the Chacoan system began to collapse in 1125 CE. Ancestral Puebloan people built new sites and flourished at Wupatki, Hovenweep, Mesa Verde and Aztec. In time, these sites collapsed and a transitional period took place in the Southwest from 1250-1450 CE. During this period, a diaspora occurred across the Southwest in all directions. Migrants entered smaller sites and an aggregation of populations took place as a long drought from 1276-1299 dispersed people towards areas with more water, rivers and springs towards the 4 Corners area between Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. People shifted away from Chacoan ways, migrated to new areas, reorganized their world, and eventually interacted with foreign cultures.

Dr. LaMotta’s main area of interest in this talk was on the transition that took place between the Homolovi III To Homolovi IIII periods. What can we learn from the cultural anthropology of these sites in terms of religious and political changes in the area. What can we learn from the architecture of these sites, and from the cultural artifacts excavated at these sites such as pottery and the ritual behavior of the peoples who lived at these sites.

The Homolovi area is near Winslow, Arizona. Dr. LaMotta worked in the Homolovi Research Project founded in 1984, led by the great Southwest Archaeologist Dr. E. Charles Adams. The areas excavated in this project uncovered sites where people lived in connected room blocks built around open plazas with Kivas. The beginning of Katsina ritual activity in this area grew more complex in the Homolovi 3-4 transition. Dr. Adams and Dr. LaMotta have made sure of continuous exchange and coordination with Hopi tribal elders and experts in the long term history of the sites. the major villages in the Homolovi area were hit hard by scale vandalism and looting. Luckily, the looters searching through the ground rubble at these sites never moved deeper below the rubble, and thus, the villages below were protected from this looting. The Homolovi Research Project was formed to protect and excavate these sites, The area was eventually incorporated into a state park to further protect the archaeology of the area. In the early periods of Homolovi, the connected housing blacks were built up to two stories, In the periods Homolovi 3 to 4, two more stories were added to the constructions. Sites had a population of hundreds to thousands of inhabitants. 

Most of the migrants to this area when aggregation took place moved in from the Hopi Mesas in Arizona, settling in the flood plain of the little Colorado River, as the Ancestral Puebloan sites of Wupatki, Hovenweep, and Mesa Verde collapsed. Radio-carbon dating of the pottery of the area gives archaeologists dates for the establishment of these settlements. Most of the wood used at these sites are from drift wood which cannot be dated accurately with radio-carbon dating. As the aggregation of populations created larger villages, the central plazas grew larger, some as large as football field size. Katsina rituals grew in complexity.

The inhabitants cultivated corns, beans, squash, grew cotton, wove textiles and traded cotton. Important trade ware pottery included w

White Montain red ware, and Jedito Yellow Ware fired by the Hopi in coal ovens, not using burnt wood or dung. This Jedito Yellow ware has a luster that made this pottery an important trade ware. The ceramics, obsidian, and shells found at Homolovi demonstrate that they traded with members of the Sinagua and Hohokam cultures, and other Ancestral Puebloan peoples. 

Ritual intensification took place in time as a necessary binding element of these diverse clan people. Clans can be divisive so the growing complexity of the Katsina cult bound the clans together in sodalities which transcended clan status for the purpose of labor needs and defensive needs. Priesthoods cut across clans. Religion bound the clans together into a society bound as one by the overarching religious organization that took place.

At 1400 CE, the Homolovi complex collapsed and the inhabitants dispersed back to the Hopi mesas.

Mike Ruggeri Reports; Keeping an Eye on Archaeology

“The Venus Symbol in Southwest Rock Art”


(The Maya symbol for Venus (Lamat))


In 1996, the great John B. Carlson wrote a paper titled “Transformations of the Mesoamerican Turtle Carapace War Shield, A Study in Ethnoastronomy”, that looked at war shields from Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. A common subject for the decoration of these symbols of conflict was the crucifix representing the planet Venus.

The planet Venus was viewed as a powerful male god of warfare and sacrifice. Wars were fought on the cycles of the planet. Carlson noted a frequent portrayal of a turtle carapace used by a god or important person as a shield.

Here is a turtle carapace decorated with the Maya Lamat Venus glyph. The war shield as the celestial symbol of Venus.


The planet Venus was viewed as a powerful male god of warfare and sacrifice whose rays were feared as deadly spears, particularly when the planet appeared in the east before sunrise as Morning Star or in the west after sunset as Evening Star. 

Nahua and Uto-Aztecan-speaking peoples may well have been the principal cultural agents who carried this cult of warfare and sacrifice north into the American Southwest and perhaps also into the Plains and Southeast. 

From 900 CE in West Mexico, to 1200 CE in Northwest Mexico in the Casas Grandes region, and by 1300 CE in the American Southwest, the Venus symbolism spread. Among these changes in the American Southwest is the dramatic florescence of Morning Star and warfare-related symbolism in Pueblo rock art and kiva murals. 


(Red Rocks, Arizona)

The Casas Grandes Cultural complex conveyed Mesoamerican related themes from the site of Paquime in Chihuahua including the transmission of a Mesoamerican-derived Morning Star warfare complex to the American Southwest. Ball courts, horned serpent imagery, and the cross-shaped architectural features at the Mound of the Cross all suggest possible manifestations of and links to the Quetzalcoatl-Venus complex.


(The Venus Symbol related Mound of the Cross at Paquime)

The symbol of the outlined cross is commonly identified as a representation of Venus. In Mesoamerica it symbolized Quetzalcoatl in his aspect of the morning star and indeed the Mayan glyph for the planet Venus includes an outlined cross. 

The rising of the Morning Star of Venus is symbolic of the rising of the creator from death to rebirth. 

One of the symbols used by all of these cultures to identify the rebirth of the creator Quetzalcoatl is an outlined cross. the Aztec creation god after being on earth, became a sky god who is seen in the Mexican iconographic system in both anthropomorphic and serpent form, and he is also symbolized by the Morning Star, often in the form of an outlined cross”


The double Venus Star is found in several areas of northern Mexico and the American southwest. The twin Venus Star motif has survived among both the Hopi and Navaho people.

EL Tacomate

At this site we see examples of both the single and double Venus Stars which are almost identical to those we see along the Colorado and Gila Rivers. The major addition from the El Tecomate site is the use of a speech scroll. The Venus Star figure found at Teotihuacan is known to represent Quetzalcoatl, and has four speech scrolls preceding from it. The El Tecomate and Teotihuacan illustrations leave little doubt that the Venus images of the Colorado River region are connected with those of Mexico. The regular and double Venus Star symbols are found all the way down into South America 


(Correction to the above illustration. Teotihuacan is not an Aztec Temple of course)

The double star as a Venus Star. The lower part represents the evening aspect to Venus as it sinks below the western horizon. The western aspect of Venus represents the death of the creator  as he goes “into the underground.” The upper part represents the return of Venus after being “underground” for 8 days. This represents the rising of the creator from his death in the underworld to the newness of life – a rebirth or resurrection of the creator. 

This same interpretation of a similar Venus star is traceable back to Mesoamerica and the death and rebirth of Quetzalcoatl, the Sky God of Creation. The Aztecs represented Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star and his twin brother, Xolotl, is the Evening Star 
symbolizing the passage of Venus into the underworld in the evening, and then its emergence again into the Eastern sky in the morning.

Below is a clear illustration of Quetzalcoatl’s influence in the SW in the photo below, a serpent becoming Venus; with a second Venus star (death-rebirth/spiritual) below descending into night.


(Red Rock, Arizona)

Taube, Schaafsma and Taube make the argument that the association of Quetzalcoatl as Morning Star in Postclassic Mesoamerica is associated with the east, the rising sun, as well as with rain-bringing winds of the gulf linking Venus to rain and agricultural fertility. 

In addition researchers present evidence that warfare and the taking of captives destined for sacrifice among the Maya was coordinated with the movements of Venus (Carlson, Lounsbury, Milbrath, Schele and Freidel.) The Mesoamerican Venus was connected to a war/fertility complex that goes back to Teotihuacan (Carlson). In Mexico Tlaloc-Venus warfare was the means by which blood offerings were transformed into water through the capture of prisoners for ritual sacrifice.  

In general, in Mesoamerica and in the cosmologies of West Mexico and the American Southwest, stars are feared, regarded as dangerous. Morning Star is often perceived as the Sun‘s warrior, defeating darkness as it rises, and both the Sun and Morning Star are implicated in sacrificial rites that, in turn, serve to maintain cosmic balance.

Below is a slide show of this symbolism in Mesoamerica and the Southwest;

Venus in Southwest Rock Art


Abandoned in a Guatemalan Village

Deb Stelton

After driving through Mexico and Belize we arrived in Guatemala in a situation where our camper was pulling the van chassis apart. In Belize, mechanics told us that to do the repair, the gas tank would need to be removed, but they did not have the needed tools.

In Guatemala, the situation worsened, so we parked on the side of the road near a village and disconnected the camper. Bob decided to drive to a recommended army garage for repair, while our teenage daughter, her friend, and I would stay with the camper. I told him not to come back until it was done. The girls were delighted by this new opportunity for adventure, and disappeared into the jungle.

To distract from my anxiety, I decided to sketch a nah (house) that I saw down a ditch across the road. A concerned-looking woman emerged and placed a folded fabric on my head to block the sun. When she saw my sketch, she was so amazed that I gave it to her. Minutes later she returned with her young son and stood him in front of me while I did his portrait. Then she beckoned me to follow her down to her nah. We sat on a bench outside with a pig lying nearby and had delicious black bean soup. The girls had still not returned, so I decided to explore a little.

As I walked toward the village, I passed two girls carrying oranges that they had just purchased from a farm stand. I decided to purchase some oranges too. The stand owner spoke a little Spanish and was curious about me. I showed him a book on Copan and told him I was a professora (teacher) on my way to Copan. He excitedly brought out a mat (a place of honor) and placed it on a hillside for me. He gazed admirably at the illustrations in the Copan book, and when I departed, he bowed to me.

Upon returning to the camper, I found the girls were back, and a few villagers had gathered nearby and were making coffee over a fire by boiling coffee beans. The girls thought it was the most flavorful coffee they had ever had.

Later I announced that it was time to open up the camper. While lowering the four legs, we found one of the legs impacted with dried mud and refused to budge. I gestured to the coffee maker that I could not get the one leg down. He nodded, walked away, and a few minutes later returned with a rock that was just the right size and wedged it under the camper in just the right place. Each step that we did in opening the camper elicited oohs and ahs from our newly gathered small group of spectators. Then Doreen invited everyone into the camper. They admiringly touched the formica-top table that Bob made. But the most awesome experience for them was the hanging light bulb that we could switch on and off. They each had a turn. Gradually they each nodded and exited.

When it was bedtime, the girls, now getting nervous, wanted to wait until Bob returned. I told them I was sure that if he found a place that could do the repair, they would not start on it until tomorrow.

The following night Bob returned victorious. It was such a difficult all-day job that the shop apologetically had to charge him a steep twenty-five dollars.

Events of Interest in Chicago


Elmhurst History Museum Exhibit

February 4 – June 5, 2022

“People of the Prairie: 12,000 Years in DuPage County”

Since the end of the Ice Age, people have taken advantage of DuPage County’s location and natural environment to provide for the needs of their families and communities. Who were the people who called this area home before Illinois existed and what challenges did they face? Gain an understanding about the Native people who lived here from an archeological perspective and learn about how they lived, what they ate, and how they interacted with their neighbors. Featured displays include artifacts from archaeological sites in northeastern Illinois including tools, arrowheads, pottery and more. Visitors will explore how archaeology works in an archaeology “lab” including how archaeologists find and excavate sites, what kinds of things they find, and how they make sense of the evidence.

WATCH US ON TV: See a segment about the exhibit on 

CBS Chicago Channel 2 News


Check out the Chicago Tribune’s Pioneer Press article 


Check out the Daily Herald’s exhibit preview 


April 1-August 7

National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago

Frida Kahlo, Her Photos

Her Life. Her Love. Her Art

108 W Germania Pl, Chicago



(No end date for the exhibit has been posted)

The transformed space explores aspects of life and the afterlife in the Nile Valley with the first new installation of works from the museum’s historic collection of ancient Egyptian art in a quarter-century. Striking artifacts—displayed along one wall of the gallery in a series of innovative cases that promote viewing from multiple vantage points—provide insight into the beliefs and practices of this illustrious North African culture.

Board of Directors & Officers

Board of Directors & Officers

President Ray Young (exp 2024)  

Vice President/Program Chair  Lucy Kennedy (exp 2024)  

Secretary/IAAA Representative  Anne Wilson-Dooley (exp 2023)  

Treasurer/ Michael Ruggeri

Newsletter Editors Michael Ruggeri (exp 2024), Anne Wilson Dooley (2023)

Communications/Membership Co-Chairs  Jeanne Jesernik (exp 2023)  Edith Castro-Young (exp 2023)


Sally Campbell (exp 2025), Victoria Grigelaitis (exp 2025), Vincent M. LaMotta, PhD (exp 2025), James Meierhoff (exp 2023), Dan Melone (exp 2025), Dale F. Simpson Jr., PhD (exp 2025), Deb Stelton (exp 2023), David Zuck,er (exp 2023)  



Join or renew your membership and also receive membership in IAAA Individual: $40 • Family: $50 Fulltime Student: $15 • Premium levels and donations welcome too! Fiscal year is January-December  Chicago Archaeological Society 123 W Madison St., Suite 2100 Chicago IL 60602 Membership/Donation Form on website. __________________________________________________

Regular meetings are held usually on last Sundays of the month, for members beginning at 3:15pm. Lectures start at 3:30pm Central  Virtually Zoom & FBLive No parking problems! (FB will not be available for the April lecture.)