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Release: Aug 28, 2001

Archaeology Month encourages Iowans to go 'Hunting and Gathering for Iowa's Past'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Whether it's listening to lectures about ancient peoples or participating in fieldwork, Iowans of all ages can learn about their state's archaeological history this September during Iowa Archaeology Month.

Iowa Archaeology Month highlights archaeological resources and focuses attention to the state's rich archaeological history. This year's theme, "Hunting and Gathering for Iowa's Past," is a metaphor for what real-life archaeologists do and also refers to what past peoples and tribes in the state had to do to survive.

Lynn Alex, public archaeology coordinator with the Office of the State Archaeologist, said that the month-long celebration is not just for the professional or academic communities. "This program brings together the professional community and the lay person," she said. "Many people don't realize that this state is so rich in archaeological history."

Currently, there are 20,000 recorded archaeological sites in Iowa. This program strives to promote greater public awareness of Iowa's archaeological heritage, improve public appreciation for the role of archaeological research in learning about the human past, and increase public participation in and support for archaeological research and conservation.

Many organizations, both public and private, are involved with archaeology month programming. Libraries, conservation boards, museums, and many other organizations host a variety of events to promote archaeology lectures, exhibits, videos, and hands-on fieldwork. Most events are free, but some have a minimal fee.

Archaeology Month activities are designed for people of all ages, although some events, such as lectures and videos, are more appropriate for the adult population. There are also several events throughout the month that are geared specifically towards children.

Alex said the wide variety of activities includes discussions about Fort Des Moines II and Ft. Atkinson, the nineteenth century community of Bowen's Prairie in Jones County, edible plant walks, a Lewis and Clark Native American perspective presentation, book displays, and lectures about prehistoric diets as gleaned from animal and plant remains. Additional topics include underwater archaeology at Lake Okoboji , Meskwaki tribal history and culture, and African-American sites archaeology.

Iowa Archaeology Month activities are supported in part by a $3,000 grant from Humanities Iowa, a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Iowa Archaeology Month is a collaborative effort of the Office of the State Archaeologist, Iowa Archaeological Society, State Historical Society of Iowa, Humanities Iowa, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and many other partners.

For more information about Iowa Archaeology Month, contact Lynn Alex at (319) 384-0561 or or visit the IAM website at:

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, Arnolds Park, Bloomfield, Bonaparte, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Chariton, Cherokee, Davenport, Decorah, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fairfield, Fort Atkinson, Harpers Ferry, Independence, Iowa City, Madrid, Maquoketa, Missouri Valley, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Muscatine, Osage, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Red Oak, Rockford, Sioux City, Tama, and Wapello. Other communities may still offer to host events.

A complete calendar of events is available online at: