Of Macopin Pits and Bison: Archaeological Investigations at the Ernat Site (11LS267) in the Big Bend Area, LaSalle County, Illinois

Starved Rock State Park

Publication: Illinois Archaeology, Vol. 28

Author: Brian Adams

Date of Publication: 2016

PDF File: Adams-2016-Of-Macopin-Pits-and-Bison.pdf


In the spring of 1987, archaeological excavations were conducted at the Ernat site (11LS267), a multicomponent occupation located in the Illinois River floodplain immediately east of Starved Rock State Park along State Route 71. Excavations yielded several pit and rock concentration features, including two possible basin structures, and rich lithic, ceramic, faunal and botanical assemblages, including evidence of bison exploitation and possible aquatic tuber roasting pits. Although artifacts and features indicate Early Archaic through Upper Mississippian/Late Prehistoric and possibly Contact-era occupations at the site, the majority of remains pertain to the Middle and Late Woodland periods. Of these, materials classified as Late Woodland Swanson and Starved Rock Collared predominate.