Sarah Oltrogge, (515)
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
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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