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Release: Aug. 17, 2000

Iowa celebrates Archaeology Month in September

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Throughout the month of September, Iowans can reconnect with 13,000 years of human history in the state as the Office of the State Archaeologist presents Iowa Archaeology Month. Events are scheduled all over Iowa during September to give residents a chance to learn about the ancient history of the places in which they make their homes.

In a new twist this year, the poster promoting Iowa Archaeology Month activities is the result of a statewide design contest for elementary school children. Sandra Lagos, a seventh grader at West Middle School in Sioux City, drew an excavation scene to win the contest. She will receive a cash award and will be invited to the state capitol when Iowa Governor Vilsack signs the Iowa Archaeology Month proclamation. Her school will receive a copy of the publication "Iowa's Archaeological Past," (University of Iowa Press, 2000.) The poster can be seen online at

Lynn Alex, public archaeology coordinator for the Office of the State Archaeologist, said this year's Iowa Archaeology Month celebration will include two new features, "Time Capsules from the Past," and "'How Did They Do That?' Understanding Science Through Ancient Technologies."

With support from a Humanities Iowa and National Endowment for the Humanities grant, the Office of the State Archaeologist created "time capsules" including materials that represent Iowa 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 and 12,000 years ago. Each capsule contains representative items designed to illustrate the natural world, ways of life, important technologies, critical concerns, and new achievements at each of these millennial transitions.

A grant from the Iowa Academy of Sciences provides support for 10 "How Did They Do That?" presentations. Each presentation features expert artisans who will recreate and use chipped and ground stone tools, spears and arrows, and implements of bone, shell or pottery demonstrating the physics, chemistry, and engineering principles relevant to each technology.

The Iowa Archeological Society, State Historical Society of Iowa, National Park Service, Association of Iowa Archaeologists, Rockwell Collins, and Marshalltown Trowel Company provided additional support for Iowa Archaeology Month.

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. More information is available at

Iowa Archaeology Month events are being held in Ames, Anamosa, Bonaparte, Boone, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Centerville, Cherokee, Davenport, Decorah, Des Moines, Dubuque, Independence, Iowa City, Marion, Marquette, Marshalltown, Missouri Valley, New London, Oskaloosa, Red Oak, Sioux City, Toolesboro, and Washington. A complete calendar of events is available online at