Archaeological field study at Nygren Wetland Preserve

Archaeological field study at Nygren Wetland Preserve


Students from area colleges are conducting in-depth archaeological field studies of historic and prehistoric life at the Nygren Wetland Preserve west of Rockton. They began on June 25 and will continue for the next four weeks. Under the direction of staff from Midwest Archaeological Research Services (MARS), the students are researching known archaeological sites and possible historic sites at the preserve.

The 721-acre Nygren Wetland Preserve, located where the Rock and Pecatonica rivers meet, has attracted people for thousands of years. In studies of the land done during the 1970s, prehistoric materials were found that date to the Woodland and Woodland/Mississippian periods, about 1,000 B.C. to 1,000 A.D.

A survey in 2001 uncovered pottery fragments, old container glass and limestone slabs, indicating that the first log cabin in Rockton Township, perhaps the original Talcott Trading Post, may have been built at the site. Now owned by Rockton Township, this area consists of six lots of the former Gummow Farms Subdivision on Rockton Road.

Sara Pfannkuche, conservation archaeologist from MARS, said this search will integrate current information with materials gathered in the 1970s. She will lead the field study of students from William Rainey Harper College, Elgin Community College, Beloit College and volunteers from the Sauk Trail and Three Rivers Archaeological societies.

The Natural Land Institute purchased the Nygren Wetland Preserve two years ago and is restoring native prairies, wetlands and woodlands that originally covered the land. Established in 1958, the Natural Land Institute is a private, member-supported, nonprofit conservation organization that protects land, water and wildlife in Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

The preserve is open for special events and tours. Call 964-6666 for information.

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