At its height in the early 1840s, the Mormon metropolis of Nauvoo, Illinois boasted a population of nearly 12,000, rivaling Chicago as the state’s largest city. After the Mormons were forcefully exiled from the place in 1846, however, the city’s buildings slowly deteriorated until only a relatively small number of original Mormon structures were still standing. Beginning in the 1960s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began investing vast resources in the restoration of the city in an attempt to create a veritable “Williamsburg of the Midwest.” A significant part of this restoration effort has involved extensive archaeological excavations, which have uncovered the foundations of a number of original Mormon structures, several of which have since been reconstructed. This work demonstrates how ground penetrating radar (GPR) and geographic information systems (GIS) may be used to identify subterranean structures, assisting in the preservation of Nauvoo’s buried cultural resources.
Poster presenting Archaeological Studies Project. Advisors: Benjamin Pykles, Anthropology Dept.; Michael Rygel, Geology Dept.