Fermilab History and Archives Project

Native Americans on the Fermilab Site, 2014 August-


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August Mier, who was born in Batavia in 1892, spent much of his life collecting ancient arrowheads on the land that later became the Fermilab site. The rare artifcats that Mier and others uncovered led the lab to enlist archaeologists, including Ann Early, to excavate the site. The archaeologists discovered many arrowheads, pottery sherds, and other small artifacts from Native American tribes that passed through this area.

Emily Loomis designed this exhibit.

 

Native Americans on Fermilab Site Virtual Exhibit

 

In The Village Crier, vol. 3, no.31 (August 5, 1971), Ann Early gives information on the excavation sites.

Village Crier, August 5, 1971, page 1

(Click on the image to view the full newsletter as a PDF.)


This article describes excavation efforts on the Fermilab site by Ann Early and her students during the summer of 1971 and provides a brief overview of the history of human occupation of the future Fermilab site from approximately 7,000 BCE to 1,200 CE.

 

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The Village Crier, vol. 4, no.39 (November 30, 1972) describes some of the tools found on the Fermilab site and what they were used for.

The Village Crier vol. 4, no.39 (November 30, 1972)

(Click on the image to view the full newsletter as a PDF.)


Pictured in the article are very delicate Fox Valley Clipped Wings, which are uncommon types of arrowheads. Mr. Mier, who found the arrowheads, believed that they were produced for special uses other than hunting.

 

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An October 6, 1975 article from the Chicago Tribune describes the excavation of Native American sites in the northwest Chicago suburbs.


This article describes other archaeological work in the region, providing context for the work done at Fermilab.

 

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In FermiNews, vol. 1, no. 8 (June 29, 1978), artifacts are up for display to show Fermilab's prehistoric history.

FermiNews, vol. 1, no. 8 (June 29, 1978)

(Click on the image to view the full newsletter as a PDF.)


The article outlines what artifacts were found during the excavation and indicates what historically happened on the Fermilab site. The article includes pictures of the exhibit being put together for visitors to see.

 

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Ann Early, one of the archaeologists who helped excavate the Native American sites at Fermilab.

Ann Early

Ann Early played a leading role in an archaeological survey of the lab site in 1970 and subsequent excavations in 1971. Her team of archaeologists found evidence of human activities on the lab site dating back to 7,000 BCE.

 

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August Mier, the Batavia resident who donated the artifacts on display in this exhibition.

August Mier

"Augie" Mier was born in Batavia in 1892, and he began collecting archaeological artifacts when he was six years old. He donated the items he found on the land that later became the Fermilab site to the laboratory in 1977.

 

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Artifacts collected by August Mier

Anderson farm arrowheads

Artifacts Mier collected on the H. Anderson farm.

 

Lorenz farm arrowheads

Artifacts Mier collected on the P. Lorenz farm.

 

Mensing farm arrowheads

Artifacts Mier collected on the L. Mensing farm.

 

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Additional Resources

Please see these materials for additional information about Native Americans on Fermilab site.

  • The Village Crier, vol. 8, no. 14 (April 1, 1976) explains how Fermilab acquired historical street names on site. Many of Fermilab's main streets were named after local Native Americans who lived in the area in the eighteen hundreds. The names are located towards the bottom of the article. For more information, the article provides the historical background of some of these names.
  • The Fermilab History and Archives Project website on Fermilab's efforts to preserve the legacy of Native Americans who once lived near the area occupied by the Fermilab site.