History & Culture

Heritage Resources

The objective of the heritage resource program is to educate people about archeological sites and history. Archeological sites throughout southern Illinois provide important insight and knowledge about the past that cannot be learned elsewhere. The artifacts contained in the sites can help us learn about little known aspects of history, cultures and peoples living at the site, when they were living there and what they were doing. Professional archeologists depend on finding artifacts in their original location and in association to other artifacts to accurately interpret the story of the past. Removing artifacts from sites destroys the archeologists’ability to reconstruct the history and life ways of the people who once occupied the area.

Archeological sites on National Forest system lands are protected by a number of federal laws. It is a federal offense to disturb, alter remove or damage archeological sites and objects. Historical and archeological resources include structural, architectural, and artifactual or material remains of past human life or activities at least fifty years old and of historical or archeological interest. The physical state, location and context in which the resources are found are also important aspects of consideration.

You can help preserve history by leaving archeological sites undisturbed and reporting any looters or evidence of looting activity. For more information on the importance of preserving historical archeological sites, please contact the Forest Service.



Unearthing the Underground Railroad

Image of Underground Railroad Participants

Underground Railroad