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CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: mary-geraghty@uiowa.edu

Release: July 21, 1999

Iowa Archaeology Month to celebrate ancient state history

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Throughout the month of August Iowans can reconnect with 13,000 years of human history in the state as the Office of the State Archaeologist presents Iowa Archaeology Month. On July 12in Des Moines, Governor Vilsack signed a proclamation declaring August 1999 Iowa Archaeology Month. Events are scheduled all over Iowa during August to give residents a chance to learn about the ancient history of the places in which they make their homes.

The focus this year is on Ancient Mounds - the sacred and ceremonial structures built by Indians throughout Iowa as long ago as 1,000 B.C. Mound preservation is an ongoing concern, said Lynn Alex, public archaeology coordinator for the Office of the State Archaeologist. State law protects the ancient burial grounds, and the state archaeologists are committed to using non-destructive research methods to learn about these ancient sites. This year, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Effigy Mounds National Monument in Marquette, all Iowans are invited to participate in programs that honor this heritage.

"Iowa is a very rich state archaeologically," Alex said. "People often have a lot of questions about their surroundings and are very curious about how people lived thousands of years ago. By joining in the Archaeology Month activities, Iowans can become aware of the archaeology around them and learn how to protect archaeological history. They can also discover how they might become involved in archaeology itself."

Programs focusing on ancient mounds will take place in Bellevue, Cherokee, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Marquette, and Montrose. In addition, Archaeology Month activities will also give Iowans an opportunity to share artifacts they have found with archaeologists who can help to identify the objects and determine their age and origin. These "Artifact Road Shows" will be held in Battle Creek, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Hazelton, and Strawberry Point.

Iowa Archaeology Month 1999, organized by the Office of the State Archaeologist at the University of Iowa, is supported through funding by the University of Iowa, Iowa Archeological Society, State Historical Society of Iowa, Association of Iowa Archaeologists, National Park Service, and the Marshalltown Trowel Company.

The Office of the State Archaeologist is a research unit of the University of Iowa. Its mission is to discover, disseminate, and preserve knowledge of Iowa's human pre-history and history. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa appoints a state archaeologist, who is a member of the UI department of anthropology. The state archaeologist directs a program of statewide archaeological research, service, and education.

Contact the Office of the State Archaeologist, 700 Clinton Street Building, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 52242 (319) 384-7032, OSA@uiowa.edu, for information on self-guided tours to museums and archaeological sites in Iowa, and for new pamphlets on prehistoric technology and ancient mounds in Iowa. Contact Effigy Mounds National Monument (319) 873-3491 for information on guided and self-guided tours of the burial and ceremonial mounds at the Monument.

Below is a complete listing of Iowa Archaeology Month activities. This list is also available on the Office of the State Archaeologist Web site http://www.uiowa.edu/~osa/ Following the list of activities are four "Mystery of History" stories about artifacts in the Office of the State Archaeologist collection. Editors may choose to use these as feature items during Iowa Archaeology Month.

AMANA

Saturday, August 21, 8 a.m.
Trading Post Site Testing (tentative): help test the reported location of an 1840s Meskwaki trading post site with Cindy Peterson, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa.
Hosts: Office of the State Archaeologist, the Amana Society, and the Amana Heritage Society
Location: meet at the Communal Agriculture Museum, South Amana
Free and open to the public
Contact: Cindy Peterson (319) 384-0726 or Lanny Haldy (319) 622-3567

BATTLE CREEK

Sunday, August 8, 1 p.m.
"Artifact Road Show": Bring artifact collections to the Battle Hill Museum where Mike Perry, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, will identify items, help determine their age and origin, and place in historic context (no appraisals).
Host: Battle Hill Museum
Location: Hwy. 175 East, Battle Creek
Free and open to the public
Contact: Dennis Laughlin (712) 365-4414

BELLEVUE

Saturday, August 7, 10 a.m.
Guided tour: Ancient mounds near Bellevue led by Dirk Marcucci, archaeologist.
Host: Bellevue Public Library
Location: Meet at the library, 106 North 3rd Street
Free and open to the public.
Contact: AnnaBelle Wacker (319) 872-4991

CEDAR RAPIDS AREA

Monday, August 9, 11 a.m.
Lecture Series: "Not all Archaeologists Study Native Americans: An Introduction to Historical Archaeology," Cindy Peterson, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa.
Host: Brucemore Estate
Location: 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids
Free and open to the public
Contact: Greg Billman (319) 363-7375

Tuesday, August 10, 7 p.m.
Presentation and Artifact Identification: "Archaeology: Our Cultural Treasures," recent archaeological discoveries at the Nature Center and across Iowa, Chris Schoen, Louis Berger & Associates, Cedar Rapids. Bring your artifact collections for identification, by Steve Lensink, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa.
Host: Indian Creek Nature Center
Location: Indian Creek Nature Center 6665 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids. Take Mt. Vernon Road southeast to Bertram Road. Follow signs.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Jan Aiels (319) 362-0664

Monday, August 16, 11a.m.
Lecture Series: "A Town the Railroad Missed: The Story of Dover, Iowa’s Mid-19th Century General Store's Privy," Jeannie Link, archaeologist.
Host: Brucemore Estate
Location: 2160 Linden Drive, SE, Cedar Rapids
Free and open to the public
Contact: Greg Billman (319) 363-7375

Saturday, August 21, 1-4 p.m.
Multiple events: pottery making, Native American cooking, flint knapping, atlatl (spear) throwing; games, sandbox excavation, hikes to mounds, artifact identification.
Host: Linn County Conservation Department
Location: Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Area, 5 miles from Cedar Rapids. Take Blairs Ferry Road west to Feather Ridge Road and follow signs.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Gail Barels (319) 438-1364

Monday, August 23, 11 a.m.
Lecture Series: "Reading Historic Buildings: A Look at Cedar Rapids Neighborhoods," Marlys Svendsen.
Host: Brucemore Estate
Location: 2160 Linden Drive, SE, Cedar Rapids
Free and open to the public
Contact: Greg Billman (319) 363-7375

Sunday, August 29, 2 p.m.
Sunday Lecture series: "The Archaeology and Architecture of Czech Sites in Cedar Rapids and Linn County," Leah Rogers, archaeologist.
Host: National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library
Location: 30 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
Free and open to the public
Contact: Carmen Langel (319) 362-8500

Monday, August 30: 11:00 am
Lecture Series: "Archaeology at Brucemore," Leah Rogers, archaeologist.
Host: Brucemore Estate
Location: 2160 Linden Drive, SE, Cedar Rapids
Free and open to the public
Contact: Greg Billman (319) 363-7375

CENTER JUNCTION

August 1- 31
Multiple Events: exhibit of artifacts from local sites; kids "mock" dig activity; archaeological videos each Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.
Host: Jones County Conservation Board
Location: Nature Center
Central Park Campground, 12515 Central Park Rd., Center Junction
Free and open to the public
Contact: Michele Olson (319) 487-3541

CHEROKEE

Tuesday, August 3, 7 p.m.
Presentation: "The Excavations at the Broken Kettle West Site, a Great Oasis Village near Sioux City," Rich Fishel, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa.
Host: Sanford Museum and Planetarium
Location: 117 East Willow, Cherokee
Free and open to the public
Contact: Linda Burkhart (712) 225-3922

Saturday, August 14, 2 p.m.
Demonstration: prehistoric pottery making
Host: Sanford Museum and Planetarium
Location: 117 East Willow, Cherokee
Free and open to the public.
Contact: Linda Burkhart (712) 225-3922

Sunday, August 15, 2 p.m.
Ancient Mounds presentation: sponsored by the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa. Thousands of prehistoric mounds once existed throughout Iowa. Most of these were burial mounds, the sacred cemeteries of early Native Indian peoples. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Effigy Mounds National Monument, the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist are co-sponsoring presentations on the history of mounds, focusing on the changing ways that archaeologists consider ancient burials and monuments. Mark Dudzik, Minnesota State Archaeologist, and Katherine Stevenson and Connie Arzigian, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin, will present results of the recent statewide mound study in Minnesota. Joseph A. Tiffany, Iowa State University, will extend the discussion to northwest Iowa, and Thomas Thiessen, Midwest Archeological Center, National Park Service, will offer "Ruminations on Three Midwestern Mound Sites."
Host: Sanford Museum and Planetarium
Location: 117 East Willow, Cherokee
Free and open to the public
Contact:Linda Burkhart (712) 225-3922

COUNCIL BLUFFS

Saturday, August 21, 2 p.m.
Ancient Mounds presentation: sponsored by the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa. Thousands of prehistoric mounds once existed throughout Iowa, some recorded decades ago in southwest Iowa. Most of these were burial mounds, the sacred cemeteries of early Native Indian peoples. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Effigy Mounds National Monument, the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist are co-sponsoring presentations on the history of mounds, focusing on the changing ways that archaeologists consider ancient burials and monuments. Anne Vawser, Midwest Archeological Center, National Park Service, and Shirley J. Schermer, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, discuss research at the Blood Run mound and village site, Lyon County, and elsewhere in western Iowa.
Host: Western Historic Trails Center
Location: 3434 Richard Downing Ave.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Kathy White (712) 366-4900

DAVENPORT

Sunday, August 8, 2 p.m.
Artifact "Road Show": Bring prehistoric native artifacts and historic items to the Putnam where Marlin Ingalls, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, will identify items, help determine their age and origin, and put them into historic context (no appraisals).
Host: Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science
Location: 1717 West 12th St.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Michael Granger (319) 324-0059

Sunday, August 22, 2 p.m.
Ancient Mounds presentation: sponsored by the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa. Thousands of prehistoric mounds once existed throughout Iowa many in the Quad Cities area itself. Most of these were burial mounds, the sacred cemeteries of early Native Indian peoples. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Effigy Mounds National Monument, the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist are co-sponsoring presentations on the history of mounds, focusing on the changing ways that archaeologists consider ancient burials and monuments. William Green, State Archaeologist of Iowa, and Ken Farnsworth, Center for American Archeology, discuss this research and the history of mound exploration in the Quad Cities area.
Host: Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science
Location: 1717 West 12th St.
Free and open to the public.
Contact: Michael Granger (319) 324-0059

DES MOINES AREA

Sunday, August 1, 2 p.m.
Ancient Mounds presentation: sponsored by the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa. Thousands of prehistoric mounds once existed throughout Iowa, including the huge Boone Mound north of Des Moines. Most of these were burial mounds, the sacred cemeteries of early Native Indian peoples. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Effigy Mounds National Monument, the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist are co-sponsoring presentations on the history of mounds, focusing on the changing ways that archaeologists consider ancient burials and monuments. William Green, State Archaeologist of Iowa and Lynn M. Alex, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, discuss this research and the history of the Boone mound excavation.

Accompanying event:
Display and discussion: West Des Moines Burial Site artifacts. Lynn M. Alex, Office of the State Archaeologist, will describe the artifacts recovered from one of the few known Great Oasis burial sites in Iowa now in the collection of the SHSI and discuss the 1963 excavation of the site.
Host: State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) Museum
Location: Iowa Historical Building
600 E. Locust, Des Moines
Free and open to the public
Contact: Sarah Macht (515)-242-5193

Sunday, August 8, 2-4 p.m.
Slide show of historic pottery and historic pottery display: George Goeldner, Community Programs Bureau, SHSI. Bring historic pottery collections for comparison and identification by Mr. Goeldner (no appraisals).
Display of stone tool comparative collection from the SHSI recently catalogued by the Central Chapter of the Iowa Archeological Society. The public may bring stone tools for comparison and identification.
Host: SHSI Museum and Central Chapter, Iowa Archeological Society
Location: Iowa Historical Building
600 E. Locust, Des Moines
Free and open to the public
Contact: Sarah Macht (515)-242-5193 or Mike Heimbaugh (515) 255-4909

Sunday, August 22. 2-4 p.m.
Guided tour: Woodland Mounds Wildlife Preserve. Park naturalist, Joel Van Roekel will give an informational walking tour of the conical and linear mounds overlooking the South River valley at Woodland Mounds Wildlife Preserve. The mounds were built by Woodland peoples between 500 B.C. and 1000 A.D.
Host: Central Chapter of the Iowa Archeological Society
Location: Woodland Mounds Wildlife Preserve. Go east of Indianola on Iowa 92. In Ackworth turn south and go about 1 mile on
County S23; turn east and follow road about 2.5 miles to the entrance north of the road.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Mike Heimbaugh (515) 255-4909

Saturday, August 28, 1-3 p.m.
Flintknapping (stone tool-making) demonstration by Mark Anderson and Tim Reed, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, and artifact display by Central Chapter, Iowa Archeological Society.
Host: Central Chapter of the Iowa Archeological Society, Living History Farms
Location: Front yard of Living History Farms’ Visitor Center
2600 NW 111th Street, Urbandale, Iowa
Free and open to the public
Contact: Mike Heimbaugh (515) 255-4909

Sunday, August 29, 1-3 p.m.
Atlatl (spear throwing) demonstration by Mark Anderson and Tim Reed, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa. Come try your skills at spear throwing.
Host: Central Chapter of the Iowa Archeological Society, Living History Farms
Location: Front yard of Living History Farms’ Visitor Center,
2600 NW 111th Street, Urbandale, Iowa
Free and open to the public

GLENWOOD

Saturday, August 21, 9 a.m.
Guided tour: Nebraska phase (Glenwood) earthlodge sites and area mound groups.
Host: Paul Rowe Chapter, Iowa Archeological Society
Location: Meet at the earthlodge two blocks east of the courthouse square in Glenwood.
Admission to earthlodge and museum $1.00 adults, $.50 children.
Contact: Dennis Miller (712) 525-1007

Sunday, August 22, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Keg Creek Days Demonstrations: pottery making and firing, bow and arrow making, native cooking.
Host: Paul Rowe Chapter, Iowa Archeological Society
Location: Earthlodge and museum two blocks east of the courthouse square in Glenwood.
Admission to earthlodge and museum $1.00 adults, $.50 children.
Contact: Dennis Miller (712) 525-1007

HAZELTON

Tuesday, August 10, 7 p.m.
Flintknapping (stone tool-making) demonstration and artifact identification by Mark Anderson, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa.
Host: Buchanan County Conservation Board
Location: Meeting Room, Nature Center, Fontana County Park. Take Hwy. 150 ten miles north of Independence. Follow signs on the East side of the road.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Dan Cohen (319) 636-2617

IOWA CITY AREA

Thursday, July 29, 3 p.m.
Children's program and activity: "Treasures of the Past," Cherie Haury, archaeologist.
Host: Iowa City Public Library
Location: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Free and open to the public
Contact: Deanne Wortman (319) 356-5200 (extension 119)

August 1- 31
Exhibit: Iowa prehistory and early history in Iowa Hall.
Host: Museum of Natural History, University of Iowa
Location: Iowa Hall, Macbride Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City
Free and open to the public
Contact: David Brenzel (319) 335-0482

August 1- 31
Book displays and exhibits: titles of archaeological interest from the collection of the Iowa City Public Library, artifacts, and digging tools.
Host: Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn St., Iowa City
Free and open to the public
Contact: Deanne Wortman (319) 356-5200 (extension 119)

August 1- 31
Display: "The Search for John Gilbert," history of Gilbert’s trading post and exhibit of artifacts from excavations along the Sand Road Heritage Corridor south of Iowa City. Prepared by the Johnson County Heritage Museum
Host: Museum of Natural History, University of Iowa
Location: Macbride Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City
Free and open to the public
Contact: David Brenzel (319) 335-0482

August 1- 31
Book display: titles of archaeological interest available from B. Dalton Bookseller.
Host: B. Dalton Bookseller
Location: Old Capitol Center, Clinton Street
Free and open to the public
Contact: Jean Bride (319) 338-9459

August 1- 31
Behind the scenes peek at the James Loren Kallam ethnographic collection of projectile points, axes, beadwork, and other items collected in the Tama area, 1890-95.
Host: Museum of Natural History, University of Iowa
Location: Macbride Hall, University of Iowa
Free and open to the public
Contact: David Brenzel (319) 335-0482

Saturday, August 14, 7 p.m.
Presentation: "The archaeology of the Coralville Lake area," by Linda Forman, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa
Host: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coralville Reservoir
Location: Sugar Bottom amphitheater Take Mehaffey Bridge Road northeast from North Liberty, after crossing the bridge turn right and follow signs to Sugar Bottom.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Ruth Colwell, Scott Ford, or Linda Parrish (319) 338-3543

Saturday, August 14, 2 p.m.
Behind the scenes peek at the archaeological collections curated by the Office of the State Archaeologist.
Host: Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa
Location: Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa
700 Clinton Street Building, University of Iowa
Free and open to the public
Contact: John Cordell (319) 384-0741

Saturday, August 21, 2 p.m.
Behind the scenes peek at the paleontological collections curated by the Department of Geology, University of Iowa.
Host: Department of Geology, University of Iowa
Location: Trowbridge Hall, University of Iowa
Free and open to the public
Contact: Julia Golden (319) 335-1822

Saturday, August 21, 1 p.m.
Demonstration and children’s activity: "Native Plant Use"
Host: Museum of Natural History, University of Iowa
Location; Iowa Hall in Macbride Hall, University of Iowa
Free and open to the public
Contact: David Brenzel (319) 335-0482

Saturday, August 28, 4 p.m.
Guided tour: "Trekking through Mormon Handcart Park," led by Jeffry Schabilion, University of Iowa, and Loren Horton, emeritus historian, State Historical Society of Iowa.
Host: Museum of Natural History, University of Iowa
Location: Meet at Hawkeye Fields parking lot in Coralville.
Free and open to the public
Contact: David Brenzel (319) 335-0482

Tuesday, August 31, noon
Brown Bag Presentation: "Archaeology for Lunch," recent events in Iowa archaeology and a new video on "Modern Methods in Iowa Archaeology," Lynn M. Alex, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa.
Host: Iowa City Public Library
Location: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A, 123 South Linn Street
Free and open to the public
Contact: Maureen Delaney (319) 356-5200 (extension 171)

IOWA FALLS

Saturday, August 14, 9 a.m.
Multiple events: tour of Calkins Nature Center exhibits, artifact identification, video on Hardin County archaeology, guided tour of Smith Mound Group and Daisy Long Memorial Park (location of Benson's Mill and recent excavations). Bring artifacts for identification. Tom Chadderdon, Louis Berger & Associates, Cedar Rapids.
Host: Hardin County Conservation Board
Location: Calkins Nature Center, 3.5 miles south of Iowa Falls. From the west, take Hwy. 941 to Iowa Falls, turn south at the National Guard Armory, follow signs.
Free and open to the public. A 17-passenger bus will be provided for the tour.
Contact: Duane Rieken (515) 648-4361 Advance registration requested

MARQUETTE

August 6- 27
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Location: Effigy Mounds National Monument Visitor Center, 51 Hwy. 76, Harpers Ferry (3 miles north of Marquette, Iowa)
Free and open to the public.
Contact: Effigy Mounds National Monument Visitor Center for all programs (319) 873-3491

Friday, August 6, 7:30 p.m.
Presentation: "The Animal Resources Used by Prehistoric People," James Theler, Department of Archaeology, University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse.

Friday, August 13, 7:30 p.m.
Ancient Mounds presentation: sponsored by the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa. Thousands of prehistoric mounds once existed throughout Iowa, including the well-known Effigy Mounds of northeast Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Most of these sites were the sacred cemeteries of early Native Indian peoples. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Effigy Mounds National Monument, the National Park Service and the Office of the State Archaeologist are co-sponsoring presentations on the history of mounds, focusing on the changing ways that archaeologists consider ancient burials and monuments. William Green, State Archaeologist of Iowa and Robert Birmingham, State Archaeologist of Wisconsin, will discuss this research and the history of mound exploration in the Upper Mississippi Valley area.

Saturday, August 14, all day beginning at 9 a.m.
Effigy Mounds National Monument 50th Anniversary Celebration and Symposium: speakers, music, and special programming. Invited guests include Governor Vilsack and Iowa congressmen. Keynote address by Tom Morain, Director, State Historical Society of Iowa.
Symposium Presentations:
"The History of the Winnebago People and Their Relationship to the Mounds," David L. Smith, Historian and Cultural Preservation Officer, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.
"Ellison Orr, Effigy Mounds, and the Archaeology of Northeast Iowa," William Green, Iowa State Archaeologist.
"Effigy Mounds: Ideology on the Earth," Robert Birmingham, Wisconsin State Archaeologist
"The Making of a Monument," Jill York O’Bright, Historian, National Park Service.
"Preserving the History of the Coulee Region," Michael Douglass, Director, Villa Louis Historic Site, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

Friday, August 20, 7:30 p.m.
Presentation: "Museums, Artifacts, and American Indians: Issues of Ownership of Cultural Objects and Human Remains," by Lori Stanley, Department of Anthropology, Luther College.

Friday, August 27, 7:30 p.m.
Presentation: "The Battle of Bad Axe," by Ernie Boszhardt, Regional Archaeologist, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

MISSOURI VALLEY

August 1-31: 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. daily
Exhibit of cargo excavated from the Steamboat Bertrand sunk in the Missouri River in 1865 en route to Montana mining communities.
Host: Steamboat Bertrand Museum
Location: Visitor Center, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley, Iowa
Admission: $3.00 per vehicle or federal pass card
Contact: (712) 642-4121

MONTROSE

Saturday, August 28, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Guided tour: tour of southeast Iowa sites led by Anton Till, archaeologist. Includes stops at Montrose cemetery site; Wever Oneota sites; Burlington Crapo Park and Blackhawk Cave (lunch stop); Malchow Mounds at Kingston; Hopewell mounds and visitor center, Toolesboro; prehistoric sites at Lake Odessa. Dress for walking.
Host: Southeast Iowa Chapter, Iowa Archeological Society
Location: Begin at Linger-Longer Park, Montrose, Intersection of Hwy. 61 and Great Mississippi River Road
Free and open to the public. (lunch provided by the SE Chapter, IAS)
Contact: Bill Anderson (319) 456-3911 or Anton Till (515) 655-7500

OSKALOOSA AREA

Friday, August 20, 6:30 p.m.
Presentation: "Prehistory of the Cedar Bluffs Preserve," and interpretation of finds from the 1999 archaeological survey; artifacts on display. Pete Eyheralde, naturalist.
Host: Mahaska County Conservation Board
Location: Conservation Center, Russell Wildlife Area, 5 miles north of Oskaloosa, 1 mile east on gravel 200th St.
Free and open to the public
Contact: Pete Eyheralde (515) 673-9327

STEAMBOAT ROCK

Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m.
New video: "Iowa River Greenbelt and the People of the River." Natural history and archaeology of the Iowa River Greenbelt. Video available for purchase.
Host: Boat Club, Steamboat Rock
Location: Boat Club, Steamboat Rock
Free and open to the public (refreshments provided)
Contact: Jon Heitland (515) 242-5041

STRAWBERRY POINT

Monday, August 23, 7 p.m.
"Artifact Road Show": Bring prehistoric native artifacts and historic items to the museum where Marlin Ingalls, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, will identify items, help determine their age and origin, and put them into historic context (no appraisals).
Host: Wilder Memorial Museum
Location: 23 West Mission, Strawberry Point
Free and open to the public
Contact: Kay Ryan (319) 933-4615

SWISHER

August 1-31, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Curtis Hill Indian Museum: largest privately owned museum of native artifacts in Iowa.
Host: Curtis Hill Museum
Location: 1612 NE Curtis Bridge Road, three miles south of Shueyville.
Donations accepted.
Contact: George Zalesky (319) 848-4323 for appointment and information.

MYSTERY OF HISTORY

"The Mystery of History," written by Laurie Robinson, Johnson County Heritage Museum, is distributed to Iowa newspapers by the Office of the State Archaeologist at the University of Iowa. This feature is being provided for use in August during Iowa Archaeology Month a collaborative effort by the Office of the State Archaeologist, National Park Service, State Historical Society of Iowa, Association of Iowa Archaeologists, Marshalltown Trowel Company, and many other partners.

The items featured here are from the collections of the Office of the State Archaeologist. Photos of each item are available from the Office of the State Archaeologist.

To request photos or to learn more about Iowa Archaeology Month and activities in your area, and for further information on traveling exhibits, outreach programs, literature, and archaeological sites and museums to visit in Iowa, contact Lynn M. Alex, Public Archaeology Coordinator, Office of the State Archaeologist (319) 384-0561; lynn-alex@uiowa.edu. Or, log on to the Office of the State Archaeologist Web page at: http://www.uiowa.edu/~osa

The Mystery of History #1: Tiny shell artifact contributes clues to ancient fishing in Southwest Iowa

More than 800 years ago, a young Native American gathered his tools-a pointed bone awl, flint knife and graver, and a sandstone abrader. From a rubbish pit near his lodge, he picked out a half clamshell. With tools and raw material in hand, he sat in the sun near his clan’s cooking fire; and set to work carving the clamshell. Soon the image of a fish began to emerge from the rough shell. He took extra time with this carving, incising lines to represent the fish’s scales and backbone, using the awl to hollow out the 'eye,' and smoothing the edges of the little creature with the abrader. When he finished, the tiny opalescent carving was only three inches long, but rich with detail.

Was that tiny fish effigy created as a good luck charm? Did the anonymous artisan tie his little fish on a string of sinew and wear it as an ornament? Or, could this remnant of an ancient culture have been used the same way we use similar pieces today - as a fishing lure?

Archaeology can't answer those questions with certainty. But archaeological excavations have solved some of the mysteries surrounding the people who lived in western Iowa close to a millennium ago.

In excavations near Glenwood in southwestern Iowa, archaeologists have uncovered fish bones - catfish, suckers, sunfish, drum - in the garbage pits and lodges of these early people. It’s clear that fish was an important protein source for the Glenwood Culture, part of a balanced diet that included many wild species as well as garden produce. The tribes who inhabited Iowa’s prehistory cast their fishing lines and nets in the creeks meandering into what we now call the Missouri River-and into the Missouri itself as well. It’s not unlikely that the beautiful piece shown here was, indeed, used as a lure to catch the fish, which supplied dietary protein.

From the river and the creeks, the Glenwood people also harvested mussel shells. They ate the mussels, too, thriftily reusing the shells to make beads, scoops, spoons, and corn shellers or scrapers. The little fish shown here is unique, though, in its elegant detail.

And how did this little fish come to rest in the earth, where it waited almost 800 years for rediscovery? Was it thrown away because of the broken edge at its upper left? Or did the long-dead artisan who created this beautiful piece drop it accidentally? Perhaps he searched for it a while before he gathered tools and clamshell to craft another one.

There are many mysteries surrounding the Glenwood Culture that we'll never solve. But this tiny opalescent fish remains to tell a part of their story-and ours.

To learn more about the prehistoric people of southwest Iowa visit Glenwood August 21 and 22 for a tour of Glenwood culture earthlodges and a visit to the reconstructed lodge and museum as part of Iowa Archaeology Month 1999.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Archaeologists uncovered this 3-inch long fish made from a clamshell near Glenwood in Mills County, Iowa. A similar item from northwest Iowa is on exhibit at the UI Museum of Natural History.

The Mystery of History #2: Silver Ring Made its Way from France to an Iowa Cornfield 300 Years Ago

Almost 300 years ago, a black-robed French Jesuit missionary probably selected this tiny silver ring from his small store of material goods; and dropped it into the outstretched hand of a Native American.

Was the ring a token of the Native American’s conversion to the missionary’s religion? Was it proffered in trade for food or assistance? Or was it, simply, a gift given in affection and respect?

Archaeology can't provide the answers to these questions, of course. But years of archaeological excavations in Iowa, historical research, and analysis of excavation findings have cleared up some of the mysteries about this ring and others found at several archaeological sites in Iowa.

Called Jesuit rings, the decorated finger rings are associated with the missionaries who came to the North American Great Lakes region from France in the 1600s. Filled with religious zeal, the French missionaries traveled overland and in canoes to seek out and convert Native Americans to the Roman Catholic faith. Many of these French Catholic missionaries were Jesuits, an order of priests who specialize in missions and education.

We know the Jesuits used rings and other tokens in their ministry, because they wrote about it. Father Bruyas, an early missionary, wrote in 1670 that if his pupils could repeat on Sunday what he had taught them during the week, they were rewarded by a gift of beads or brass rings.

Eventually, "Jesuit" rings seem to have become trade items, though– useful in the barter system by which the invading Europeans interacted economically with the Native American tribes. And so, a ring that originated in the Great Lakes region might have found its way from mission to tribe to tribe until it came to belong to a native Iowa resident, perhaps an ancestor of the Ioway or Oto tribes, who lived along the Little Sioux River in what is now northwestern Iowa. And there the ring was, finally, consigned to the earth in the late 1600s. Did the Native American man, woman or child who lost this little silver artifact realize it was missing? Did they mourn its loss, searching for it diligently, until hope was gone?

Three centuries would pass before the ring would reappear.

Finally, during a 1978 archaeological excavation, this Jesuit ring emerged, twinkling, from the earth in Dickinson County, Iowa, where it had rested for nearly 300 years. Although most Jesuit rings are brass, this one is silver: No tarnish had blackened its face; and the letters "IHS," were clearly discernible. Only 3/8 inch in diameter, the ring is unusually tiny. It would not fit the finger of anybody who was working on the ‘dig’ that day.

Was it, truly, lost by its owner? Was so tiny a ring made for a child's hand? Did the Native American man, woman, or child who last owned this tiny ring value it for its religious significance?

There are many mysteries surrounding the early interactions between missionaries and Native Americans that we’ll never solve. But this tiny silver ring remains to tell a part of their story-and ours.

To learn more about the prehistoric people of northwest, Iowa visit the Sanford Museum in Cherokee and attend the Ancient Mounds symposium presented there on August 15 at 2:00 P.M as part of Iowa Archaeology Month, 1999.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Archaeologists discovered this tiny silver ring in an excavation at an Oneota Culture site near Milford in Dickinson County, Iowa. The letters IHS stand for the Latin words Isus Hominis Salvator, "Jesus, Savior of Mankind." This ring is on exhibit at the UI Museum of Natural History.

The Mystery of History #3: Clay pipe is lost and the mystery of an Iowa fur trader begins

More than 150 years ago, the fur trader John Gilbert stepped outside his log cabin in the early morning mist to light his pipe. His hands were shaking with cold, his grip failed, and he dropped his pipe. It fell into a pit, where months before Gilbert had dug out clay to use in filling the cracks between the logs of his crude cabin. The pipe’s white clay stem broke into several pieces. Cursing, Gilbert left the fragments on the ground and headed for the storeroom where there were more pipes and more tobacco. He needed a smoke. Luckily, pipes were plentiful at Gilbert’s trade cabin on the Iowa River, and, useful for bartering with the Native Americans for furs.

Later that day, Gilbert cleaned out his fireplace, throwing the ashes into the pit where his broken pipe rested. Later, the rains came; wet leaves drifted over the ashes and the pipe fragments, and soon the white pieces were covered by decaying organic matter. At last, the pipe remnants, like the other artifacts of Gilbert’s cabin site, were safely buried in the earth.

They would not be uncovered again for almost a century and a half.

In 1996 and 1997, during excavations along the Iowa River in Johnson County, archaeologists explored the site of John Gilbert’s trading post. It was the first-ever excavation of a trading post site in Iowa.

Gilbert had set up his trading business in 1835, under the auspices of the American Fur Company. He located that first trading house-he would later build a second one-along the Iowa River in what is now Johnson County, near the villages of the Meskwaki Chiefs Powesheik and Wacoshashe. Gilbert’s crudely built trading post is long gone, of course. But written reports tell us that the post had a storehouse, a trading house, outside storage cribs, and a cellar. The buildings must have been crude, indeed, as excavations found no window glass, or building foundations.

What did the excavations yield? More than 10,000 recovered artifacts emerged to illuminate the story of John Gilbert’s daily life in rich detail. Three-quarters of these artifacts were charcoal, pieces of log chinking, or bone. Of the remaining 2500 artifacts, many were remnants of the trade goods Gilbert traded to the Meskwakis for furs.

The trade goods found included fourteen varieties of beads, 61 gun-related items, a plain brass ring, a wire earring, a strike-a-light, a compass needle, a piece of fabric, fragments of fur and burned leather. And significantly, more than 230 pipe fragments tell us that, to Gilbert, tobacco pipes were plentiful, and an important inventory item.

Tobacco, of course, was a plant native to North America. Native Americans had shared it with the first European settlers hundreds of years before John Gilbert. Like many things American, though, tobacco was transported back across the ocean to be cultivated in Europe. And by the 1830s, Native (Americans preferred this higher-quality imported tobacco to that growing in this country. The imported tobacco was smoked in pipes by the fur traders and the Native Americans alike. Many such pipes were broken; and were thrown away on the earth's surface, to be rediscovered years later.

Luckily for us, these long-forgotten ceramic pipe pieces have a feature that is the delight of archaeologists. Because of technological and decorative changes, which took place in the manufacturing of clay pipes, they can be dated pretty accurately. The pipe fragments found at Gilbert’s trading house help to identify this site in southern Johnson County, as the location of Gilbert's cabin; and the first Euro-American residence in that part of Iowa.

Was John Gilbert a successful fur trader? Was his life as full of hardship as we might imagine? We know that he died only a few short years after he established his first post on the Iowa River. There are many mysteries surrounding the early contacts between fur-traders and Native Americans that we’ll never solve. But John Gilbert’s pipe fragments remain to tell a part of his story-and ours.

To learn more about the early fur trade period of Iowa history take part in the test excavation of a trading post site in Iowa County as part of Iowa Archaeology Month, 1999. Contact the Office of the State Archaeologist for more information.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Archaeologists from the Office of the State Archaeologist uncovered this fragment of a clay pipe at the site of John Gilbert’s 1830s fur-trading post in rural Johnson County. A modern replica of a clay pipe is pictured for comparison. These items are featured in a special display at the UI Museum of Natural History through Iowa Archaeology Month.

The Mystery of History #4: A timeless treasure left in an Iowa rockshelter

At the end of the first millennium A. D., a Native American man or woman crafted the mythical animal shown here from a large mussel shell. Using stone or bone tools, the artisan worked the image of a snake into the shiny material of the shell's curved interior. At one end, the snake’s rattles are clearly visible. The body coils realistically back upon itself as if the snake is about to strike.

Surprisingly, there’s a very unsnakelike head at the body’s other end, with clearly discernible ears and large rounded eyes. To finish, the unknown artist punched or drilled two holes just below the animal head. The holes probably allowed the ornament to be strung on a thong and worn over the breast.

But who wore this lively broach? Did it signify leadership among the clan or family group? And what meaning did this half-snake, half-mammal have for the people who carved this beautiful ornament?

Archaeology can't answer these questions with any certainty. But archaeologists have delved into some of the mysteries surrounding the people of Iowa’s prehistory.

Excavations at Hadfields Cave provided fascinating information about these early Iowans. Accessible only on foot, Hadfields cave lies at the top of a slope along a deep gully, which empties into the nearby Maquoketa River in a heavily wooded area of Jones County. The cave itself is made up of three rooms, each connected to the next by passages only a little smaller than the rooms themselves. The largest room, just inside the cave's entrance, is roughly 100 feet by 40 feet. The cave's floor is flat, the walls and ceiling weather-smoothed and fire-blackened.

Area residents had been visiting the cave for almost 100 years before the excavations began in the 1970s, picking up artifacts from the surface and sometimes digging randomly as well. Unknowingly, these amateur explorers destroyed some of the cave’s earliest elements. In spite of these disturbances, archaeologists found evidence of 81 distinct places where human activity had clearly take place. Hearths and small pits were gently uncovered, documented, and explored. And when these 'features' were recorded, the archaeologists took up the emerging artifacts.

Among the artifacts were hundreds of bone, shell, and stone tools. There were tools for drilling and punching, scraping and scouring, cutting, grinding, and working stone. When the evidence from the cave 'features' is added to that of the artifacts, a picture of prehistoric life in Iowa begins to emerge.

In Hadfields Cave, early Iowans gathered for shelter. Safe there from the elements, they built fires, cooked meals and did their daily work. In one area, a group chipped stones into projectile points and tools. Near a firepit, a small band scraped animal skins to ready them for use as clothing or coverings. In the light from the cave entrance, others shaped clay pots or dried food for the coming winter.

For hundreds of years from approximately 400 - 700 A.D., Hadfields Cave also used in small bands of people visited Hadfields Cave, probably staying for extended periods of time. Was Hadfields cave also used in the summer? Did the same people reoccupy the site year after year? Did several family groups use the cave as a rendezvous point?

And how did this rattlesnake broach come to rest in the earth for so many years? In some ways it resembles the symbols found on artifacts from later sites like Cahokia in East St. Louis, Illinois, where a population of some 10,000 made up the largest prehistoric community in North America. Was the shell medallion from Hadfields hidden in the cave for safekeeping at this later time? Or forgotten when its owner failed to return to the cave one season?

There are many mysteries surrounding Iowa’s Woodland peoples and their daily lives that we’ll never solve. But this lively broach remains to tell a part of their story-and ours.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Archaeologists discovered this 6-inch long ornament carved from a shell at an excavation site called Hadfields Cave in Jones County, Iowa. This item is on exhibit at the UI Museum of Natural History.