The Three Rivers Archaeological Society presents
Prehistoric Occupation of the Lower Sugar/ Pecatonica Basin in Northern Illinois
by Ed Jakaitis
Illinois State Archaeological Survey/TRAS Secretary-Treasurer
The Pecatonica and Sugar Rivers are tributaries of the Rock River in northern Illinois. Both rivers have experienced very limited archaeological research. Each river is characterized by wide floodplains with wetland areas that would have served as prime habitat for a wide variety of game and fish. Local collections are being studied and used to guide field investigations to assess site conditions on Otter Creek, a tributary near the confluence of the Sugar and Pecatonica. Multi- component sites indicate that the area has been occupied by Paleo-Indian and Archaic hunter-gatherers, Middle and Late Woodland horticulturalists, and Missis- sippian agriculturalists. Areas like Otter Creek would have been suitable as a marginal retreat for populations moving away from dense river valleys, like the Rock River, and provided a place for smaller, wintering camps during seasonal rounds of population dispersal.