Archaeologist explores the function of early Native American architecture

thumbnail-30What is the significance of ancient architecture and how might people have interacted with it in their daily lives?

Sissel Schroeder, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will explore the archaeological evidence of rare architectural features to identify whether there was a cosmological as well as mundane function to the architecture of Aztalan, a once-bustling city near present-day St. Louis. Drawing upon years of settlement survey and household archaeology, Schroeder will give her presentation “From the Quotidian to the Cosmological: The Historical Development of Inferential Frameworks Regarding Ancient Mississippian Architecture” at 7 p.m. Nov. 16, in Cole Hall room 100. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Schroeder, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been digging in Aztalan State Park near Lake Mills, WI, since 2013, to learn more about the Native peoples who lived there a millennium ago. Schroeder and her students study how Late Woodland peoples, native to the Upper Midwest, and migrants from Cahokia, lived their daily lives at Aztalan.

“We want to know what people ate, where they built their houses, how they broke down cultural barriers to navigate their differences and come together as a community,” Schroeder said.

This presentation is part of NIU’s Culture and the Environment lecture series, sponsored by the Pick Museum, the Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy, Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships, and Center for Latino and Latin American Studies.

For more information about this presentation, please call the Pick Museum at 815-753-2520 or visit

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