Carrier Mills Archaeological District
The marker is located just outside the northern city limits of Carrier Mills on the west side of US 45 at a small pull-out area.
Carrier Mills Lions Club and The Illinois State Historical Society
This area of some 143 acres located approximately two miles south of Carrier Mills was inhabited by prehistoric people throughout three different archaeological periods. Until the turn of the century, the South Fork of the Saline River was a meandering stream with large area of swamps and shallow cypress lakes nearby. These areas were rich in plants and animals that prehistoric inhabitants sought for food. Therefore, the locality became a natural focal point for human settlement. In 1978 and 1979, archaeologists intensively investigated this area. Excellent preservation conditions permitted the recovery of many tools and animal and plant remains that have provided significant new insights into the prehistory of southern Illinois.
Sporadic use of the area by small groups of hunters and gatherers can be dated to 8000 B.C., and the area was used more or less continuously until 1400 A.D. Settlement activity increased dramatically during the late Middle Archaic Period, 4500 to 3000 B.C., when the area was inhabited by larger groups with a more sedentary lifestyle. These occupations produced thick deposits containing many artifacts and burials. The area also saw heavy use during the Middle and Late Woodland periods, 200 B.C. to 900 A.D. The peoples of those times increasingly emphasized the collection and storage of plant foods and began to domesticate some native plants. The final prehistoric inhabitants were Mississippian Period Indians. (900 to 1400 A.D.), who lived in scattered farmsteads and cultivated corn and squash.
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