Experience "Life in the Ice Age" at the State Historical Museum
 

For immediate release September 15, 2004

 

 

Sarah Oltrogge, (515) 281-4011

Des Moines, Iowa—Get down and dirty at the State Historical Museum of Iowa Sept. 19 and Oct. 3 with special programs sponsored by the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) and the local chapter of the Iowa Archaeological Society (IAS). All activities are free and open to the public.

A full afternoon of special programs will be held Sunday, Sept. 19 at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines. This year’s theme is "Life in the Ice Age."

Beginning at 1 p.m. in the Auditorium will be "An AUKward Proposal: A Theory of European Origins for Early People in North America," presented by Dr. Bruce Bradley, adjunct lecturer of Exeter University in the U.K., and adjunct professor at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

From 2-3 p.m. will be everything archaeological in the Museum’s Heritage Classrooms. The public is welcome to view the private collections of IAS members and ask them questions about their finds, and what the process is for uncovering fossils. The public is also encouraged to bring in found items for identification. Following, from 3-4 p.m., will be a flintknapping demonstration by Dr. Bradley and members of the IAS. Flintknapping is the making of flaked or chipped stone tools. This technology was used in historic times to manufacture gun flints and in prehistoric times to make spear and dart points, arrow heads, knives, scrapers, blades, gravers, perforators, and many other tools.

All afternoon from 1-4 p.m. children are welcome to create their own prehistoric art and cave drawings in the Museum’s atrium.

A second day of programming sponsored by the OSA and the State Historical Society will continue on Sunday, Oct. 3 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. At 1 p.m. in the Auditorium will be "Giant Ground Sloth Excavation in Southwest Iowa: Megalonyx Mania," a discussion presented by Holmes Semken and David Brenzel of the Department of Geoscience and Museum of Natural History at the University of Iowa. The discovery was made in the summer of 2002 near the town of Shenandoah. Semken immediately recognized them as the remains of a giant sloth, a furry, plant-eating mammal that weighed 2-3 tons and lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, a time when glaciers covered much of Iowa, until becoming extinct some 9,500 years ago.

At 2:30 p.m., curator Bill Johnson will give a gallery talk on the biggest Historical Museum exhibit in decades: Mammoth: Witness to Change. In the shadow of a 12’ tall, 20’ long mammoth skeleton, Johnson will discuss the Mammoths’ role as the climate of the Ice Age changed and man became the dominant predator.

At 3 p.m., Sarah Macht, museum education coordinator, will read Mammoth-related stories on the Grand Staircase in the atrium.

And all afternoon from 1-4 p.m. children are also welcome to create their own prehistoric and cave drawings in the Museum’s atrium.

Iowa Archaeology Month is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit www.uiowa.edu/~osa or call 515-242-5193.

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