Archaeological Guide to Iowa Book Tour

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Date(s) - June 24, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Prairie Heritage Center

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Iowa’s unique archaeological history comes alive this summer, as the authors of a newly released book, “The Archaeological Guide to Iowa”, tour the state, bridging the past to the present.

William Whittaker, Lynn Alex, and Mary De La Garza of the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) created a one-of-a-kind guidebook on 68 important archaeological sites across Iowa, for people who want to experience Iowa’s archaeological heritage first hand. Iowa has the reputation of being one big cornfield, so it might be a surprise to learn that Iowa boasts a rich crop of recorded archaeological sites as well – more than 28,000 at last count. Some are spectacular, such as the one hundred mounds at Sny Magill in Effigy Mounds National Monument, while others consist of old abandoned farmsteads or small scatters of prehistoric flakes and heated rocks. Untold numbers are completely gone or badly disturbed—destroyed by plowing, erosion, or development.

Sites of every type, from every time period, and in every corner of the state are featured in this presentation, with a special emphasis on archaeological sites in your community. Learn about Iowa’s cultural history timeline and what archaeology can tell us. Examine authentic and replica artifacts from all periods of Iowa’s past. Gain an author’s insight into creating, “The Archaeological Guide to Iowa,” visit with the authors, and purchase a signed copy of the book.

A free book tour presentation event will be held at the Prairie Heritage Center, 4931 Yellow Ave, on Wednesday, June 24 beginning at 7:00 p.m. Take part in this opportunity to learn about local archaeology as well as history from around the state.  This tour is sponsored by the University of Iowa Office of Outreach and Engagement.

For more information, contact the O’Brien County Conservation Board at 712-295-7200.

Optional Presenter Bios:

William E. Whittaker is a research archaeologist at the OSA. The author of many scholarly articles on Iowa archaeology and history, he is also the editor of Frontier Forts of Iowa (Iowa, 2009) and the Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society. Thousands of his photographs of the remains of small Iowa towns have been published online by the Iowa Digital Library and the University of Iowa’s Digital Studio for the Public Humanities.

Lynn M. Alex retired in 2013 as the education and outreach program director at the OSA. During her long career in archaeology, she worked in sites near and far, from North American Plains to the European Arctic. In addition to book chapters, articles, and reviews, she has authored two books, Exploring Iowa’s Past and Iowa’s Archaeological Past (Iowa, 2000). She is a current member of the Iowa State Preserves Advisory Board. She resides in Iowa City, Iowa.

Mary C. De La Garza is a program director at the OSA. She develops applications that assist with archaeological research and manages all research data. Previously she was the systems administrator at Mercy Housing in Denver, Colorado. As a public affairs officer with the U. S. Navy in the 1980s and 1990s, she traveled the world, landed in Iowa, and is now its happy captive. She has a passion for archaeology and geology and wishes every little girl had a backyard full of dirt to dig in. She makes her home in Long Grove, Iowa.

Elizabeth Reetz is the Education and Outreach Director at the OSA, filling in the shoes of the much esteemed Lynn Alex after her retirement. She has worked extensively in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as in the Great Basin Desert, coastal Washington state, and Ireland. Her background is in both archaeology and environmental education, and she worked as an archaeologist and naturalist in the Superior National Forest and BWCA before joining the staff at OSA. Throughout the year, look for her giving presentations on archaeology across the state to schools and communities.