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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release April 3, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

History for Lunch: Bicentennial history of Fort Madison

Lecture series features Bill Whittaker from the Office of State Archaeologist April 15

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Society of Iowa’s popular “History for Lunch” lecture series continues this month with archaeologist Bill Whittaker, who will discuss the history of Fort Madison, one of Iowa’s most significant historic sites.

History for Lunch will be at Noon, Wednesday, April 15, 2009, at SHSI’s Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue (Iowa and Gilbert streets) in Iowa City. The lecture is free and the public is encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch. Call 319-335-3911 for more information.

Fort Madison was constructed 200 years ago during the winter of 1808-1809. It is the first U.S. military fort in the Upper Mississippi, and the only true battlefield in Iowa, where Black Hawk first fought against the U.S. Army, the only true War of 1812 battle fought west of the Mississippi River, and the probable location of the first military cemetery in the region.

Whittaker will illustrate the history and archaeology of Fort Madison with watercolors created by Franklin Sindelar and David Session, and color slides from 1965 excavations. Currently, the future of the site is uncertain, and Whittaker will discuss current preservation efforts.

Whittaker is a staff archaeologist at the University of Iowa’s Office of the State Archaeologist. He has been a professional archaeologist for more than 15 years. He has an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, and is the editor of a forthcoming volume about the frontier forts of Iowa.

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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