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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 24, 2003

UI Archaeologists Invite Iowans Into Lab

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University of Iowa archaeologists will continue a series of laboratory weekends throughout March at the Office of the State Archaeologist, 700 S. Clinton St., Iowa City. The events are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday March 1 and Saturday March 8, and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. the weekends of March 15-16 and March 22-23. They are free and open to the public and no experience is necessary.

Participants will assist with the processing and analysis of artifacts collected from a nineteenth century pottery factory in Van Buren County excavated in August and September.

Lynn M. Alex, public archaeology coordinator, and Maria Schroeder, a research assistant, both with the Office of the State Archaeologist at the UI, will lead the sessions. Anyone interested in attending should contact Lynn Alex at 319-384-0561 or Lab weekends will run through May 2003.

The work thus far has produced stoneware and kiln furniture from the factory as well as some enigmatic low fired clay crosses whose purpose is as yet unknown (see photo). Anyone with information about the function of these items is asked to contact Schroeder or Alex. Participants have greatly assisted the analysis of the collection and are now pursuing research that will further contribute to the project as a whole. How the stoneware was being used has inspired inquiry into early cookery, recipes, and food processing.

A research unit at the UI, the Office of the State Archaeologist coordinates public involvement in archaeology statewide through such means as teacher workshops, school and conservation center programs, and support of the Iowa Archeological Society. The office also maintains a database of more than 21,000 archaeological sites in Iowa along with related photos and research material.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, Program: Lynn Alex, 319-384-0561,

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: Photos and/or graphics for this article may be found at