Archaeologists Seek Home of Mormon Founder's Father

Illinois dig unearths 10K years of history

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 17, 2014 2:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – Archaeologists in Nauvoo, Ill., are searching for a key site in the history of America's biggest homegrown religion. Over the last few years, some 10,000 items—including buttons, window glass, and bits of pottery—have been found by a team trying to find the former home of the parents of Mormon church founder Joseph Smith, reports the Quincy Herald-Whig. Researchers are focusing on a site just south of the historic Joseph and Emma Smith Mansion House, where they have found evidence of a double log cabin they think might have belonged to Joseph Smith Sr. and his wife, Lucy Mack, the AP reports

The elder Smith, who became the first patriarch of the church, died in 1840, four years before his son was killed by a mob in nearby Carthage. His great-great-great-grandson Bob Smith is leading the dig and says the team has uncovered relics that go back 10,000 years, including projectile points possibly used by mammoth hunters. "People come here to pilgrimage to the Joseph Smith burial site and home site. Mormons in particular come for about five years of Mormon history, 1839-1844," he says. "For us to come looking for five years of history and find 10,000 years is really gratifying."

Paul and Synthia DeBarthe stand amongst some of the artifacts dug up at the Joseph Smith Historic Site.
Paul and Synthia DeBarthe stand amongst some of the artifacts dug up at the Joseph Smith Historic Site.   (AP Photo/The Quincy Herald-Whig, Phil Carlson)
Diggers work to uncover the foundation of the possible location of a home built for the one-time patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith Sr. and his wife Lucy Mack.
Diggers work to uncover the foundation of the possible location of a home built for the one-time patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith Sr. and his wife Lucy Mack.   (AP Photo/The Quincy Herald-Whig, Phil Carlson)
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