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University of Iowa News Release

July 14, 2005

State Archaeologist Hosts Field School At Fort Atkinson July 31-Aug. 6

Amateur archaeologists, history buffs and even the casually curious will want to join in a week-long field school centered on Fort Atkinson and area archaeology and history July 31-Aug. 6. Participants in the program, organized and sponsored by the University of Iowa-Office of the State Archaeologist (UI-OSA), will explore Fort Atkinson and nearby sites in Winneshiek County.

The program includes hands-on study of Upper Mississippi River Valley archaeology, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Meskwaki and Siouan interaction with one another and with the U.S. military and Indian Subagent, museum exhibit evaluation and early frontier settlement of northeast Iowa. Specialists in archaeology, history, architectural history, Native studies and education will lead the week's activities.

The 2005 project will include geophysical mapping at Ft. Atkinson State Preserve and the purported location of the fort cemetery; evaluation of existing exhibits at the Ft. Atkinson Museum; archival research and site recording of a previously unrecorded 1840s Euroamerican site; and curriculum development. Participants will be given hands-on training by professional archaeologists, historians, architectural historians and educators who have collaborated in drafting this project. Fort Atkinson, now part of an Iowa State Preserve, and related sites were important components of the Neutral Ground landscape, a U.S. Government-established buffer zone created to control indigenous regional populations in the 1840s.

The cost of the field school is $250. Educators may receive three credit hours ($75 per credit) through Area Educational Agency 1. There are no prerequisites for the course, which is open to adults and students over the age of 14 accompanied by an adult. Participants must find their own local accommodations, and transport themselves to the class location each morning. Vans will take participants on field trips. Lunches, snacks, and course materials are provided.

Instructors for the class include: Lynn M. Alex, director of education and outreach, University of Iowa-Office of the State Archaeologist; William Whittaker, project archaeologist, UI-OSA; Shirley J. Schermer, Burials Program Director, UI-OSA; Leah D. Rogers, archaeologist and architectural historian, Tallgrass Historians, L.C., Iowa City, Iowa; Rebecca Conard, professor of public history, Middle Tennessee State University; and Al Becker, retired public school teacher and member of the Ft. Atkinson Historic Preservation Commission and Winneshiek County Historical Society.

The project is supported by grants from the Iowa State Preserves Advisory Board and the Resource Enhancement and Protection/Historical Resource Development Program (REAP/HRDP), funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act (REAP), passed by the Iowa General Assembly in 1989.

A research unit at the University of Iowa, 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.

To learn more or express your interest in the field school please contact: Lynn M. Alex, director of education and outreach, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, 700 Clinton Street Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242;; 319-384-0561.

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 M. Alex, 319-384-0561,