October 20, 2014

Kampsville Quilts

What does this:

(photo IL State Museum)

have to do with this?

Answer:  Kampsville, Illinois.

Kampsville is a small town on the banks of the lower Illinois River, north of St. Louis.  It's snuggled in at the base of the river bluffs, an area with unusual vertical landscapes as compared to most of my home state.

Kampsville was my home for several summers and one spring.  I studied archeology while in college at Northwestern, and Kampsville was the hub of the NU archeology field school. And yes, there is exciting archeology to be found in the bluffs and cornfields of Illinois!  The area is rich with sites spanning 1000s of years of history, and is still an active research center and the location of the Center for American Archeology.  Here's a summary of the Koster site, where I spent most of my time.  It is the big hole in the ground pictured above.  The site was pretty famous for a while, and I even am in one of the pictures in a World Book yearbook article.  My moment of fame!

I am getting all nostalgic now, with memories of great times combining science, sun, dirt, friendship, and adventure.  My nostalgia was piqued by a reunion visit with a friend from that time of my life.  We met in Kampsville when she was visiting her daughter who was a field school student like me.  She fell in love with archeology and eventually became the organizational hub for the whole program.

While in Kampsville, she often visited the local quilting circle, and eventually bought several quilts from those quilt-y ladies.  This was in the 1970s, so long ago that I was not yet a quilter.  She pulled out her Kampsville quilt collection and let me photograph it for you.

Single Irish Chain, c. 1970

 Six-Pointed Star, c. 1860

Six-Pointed Star or Sunburst, c. 1860

Texas Star (or Dolly Madison star or Hexagon Star), c. 1940s

Dresden Plate, c. 1940

Grandmother's Flower Garden, c. 1970

I'm really enjoying this walk down Memory Lane!  I still love anthropology and archeology, rivers, digging in the dirt ..... and now quilts, too.  

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