For people of the late Woodland Period living about 1,000 years ago, animals provided more than just meat for their diets. In the Lower Illinois River Valley and American Bottoms (where Mississippian culture and the City of Cahokia would eventually rise to prominence), archaeologists have discovered significant collections of bone tools and ornaments.
This decorative wheat shaft was placed on the grave of James Franklin Moss (1825-1904), a farmer from Jersey County. Wheat is a typical motif of mourning art. It symbolizes the divine harvest of death and the resurrection of the soul.
If you think 200 years of statehood is a significant milestone, consider this: trilobites, in one form or another, lived in the seas that once covered Illinois for a span of almost 300 million years. The oldest specimens date to about 500 million years ago, while the last trilobites died out about 200 million years ago. This specimen dates back to the Silurian Period (408-438 million years ago) and was found near Grafton, Illinois.
This axe was used by a Civilian Conservation Corps laborer working at Pere Marquette State Park between 1933 and 1940, one of more than a dozen state parks that were developed or improved with CCC labor.