Speaker Series
Larry Kinsella

February 2024

MCHS Begins 2024 Speaker Series with Larry Kinsella – Chip-A-Canoe Project

On Sunday, February 11 at 2 p. m. the Madison County Historical Society will welcome Larry Kinsella as the first presenter in the 2024 MCHS Speaker Series. The event is held. at the Main Street Community Center at 1003 N. Main Street in Edwardsville, Illinois. Speaker Series events are free and open to the public.

Kinsella will discuss last summer’s “Chip-a-canoe” project, where volunteers spent 451 hours turning a felled tree into a canoe using only hand-made stone tools as the Native Americans would have done centuries ago. It had been done before by others, but it was not well documented. They set out to complete the most documented dugout canoe, experimental archaeology project and succeeded. When completed, the canoe, with passengers, floated down the Illinois River from Kampsville to Hardin.

Kinsella, who has a strong interest in experimental archaeology, said he talked about this project for 35 years. He said, “It’s inevitable that someone finally calls your bluff. That’s what happened a few years ago at the Rabbit Stick Rendezvous in Rexburg, Idaho. Myron Cretney told me I’d better start the project while I still could!”

Kinsella, an amateur archaeologist, has been a volunteer at Cahokia Mounds for 50 years and has been involved in archaeology for more than 65 years. He began to flintknap in 1980 and has authored many articles and papers on experimental archaeology. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Don Crabtree

Award by the Society of American Archaeology. A carpenter by trade, he combines those skills with his experience in experimental archaeology to provide programming for libraries, schools, universities, and now, the Madison County Historical Society.

The Madison County Historical Society owns and operates the MCHS Archival Library at 801 N. Main Street in Edwardsville, Illinois. Hours are Wed.-Fri. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sun. 1-4 p.m. The library is also open Mon.-Tues. by appointment only. MCHS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that receives no public funding.. For more information or to learn more about Madison County history, visit the Society’s website at https://madcohistory.org/, or call 618-656-6579.