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Release: March 26, 1999

South Dakota archaeologist to speak about sacred Native American places

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa School of Religion continues its spring lecture series with two public presentations Thursday, April 1 by archaeologist Brian Molyneaux, who will speak about sacred places in nature. Molyneaux will speak about Devil's Tower, a gigantic column of basaltic lava in Wyoming, which has been venerated by native people. "The Devil's Tower: A Sacred Place," will be held in Room W151 of the Pappajohn Business Administration Building at 7:30 p.m. He will also join George Nickelsburg, a UI professor of religion, and Allen Roberts, a UI professor of anthropology and African-American World Studies, for a symposium titled "When Sacredness Is Embodied in Place," at 12:30 p.m. on the third floor of Gilmore Hall.

Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Molyneaux is the director of Archaeology Laboratory at the University of South Dakota. His research interests include landscape and culture, prehistoric art, sacred sites and landscapes and his major fieldwork currently involves the archaeology of Devils Tower National Monument. In the last 20 years, he has lectured widely on archaeology, landscape and art (rock art and sacred sites) to archaeological and historical societies as well as school and university groups in Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

Nickelsburg said Molyneaux's visit to the UI helps to highlight the School of Religion's 1998-99 photo exhibition, "Holy Places: A Comparative View."

The exhibit seeks to identify some of the holy places around the world and demonstrate the similarities and differences among places considered holy by various groups of people. One of the photos on display pictures the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

Nickelsburg and Roberts collaborated on this project to create a display that includes American Indian, Buddhist, Canaanite, Christian, Dogon, Druid, ancient Egyptian, ancient Greek, Hindu, Islamic, Mayan, Mormon, and Muslim holy places.

"Holy Places" will be on display through July 1 on the third floor of Gilmore Hall and is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact the UI School of Religion at (319) 335-2164 or send an email to Nickelsburg at