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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Dig this!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jason Titcomb (foreground, right), archaeologist for the Sanford Museum, is pictured conducting an Archaeologist Lab School back in 2007. He is seen working on a section of wooly mammoth tusk being preserved. Joe Beals (background, left) is experienced in preserving such discoveries. Titcomb is one of the featured speakers at this weekend's Iowa Archeological Society annual spring meeting. File photo
Sanford Museum and Prairie Heritage Center to host IAS

The Iowa Archaeological Society (IAS) will be holding its annual spring meeting this year in northwest Iowa.

This year's meeting centers on the Mill Creek Native American Culture, and will take a historical look at past research, as well as current studies that incorporate the latest technologies available to archaeologists. This looks to be a great meeting that includes historic site tours.

If this exciting program was not enough, even more good news, registration is free. In order to help the Museum plan its facility set up, please let the Museum know by email or phone if you will be attending: email sanfordmuseum@iowatelecom.net, or telephone 712-225-3922. If you forget to contact them, that's not a problem, just remember to attend the meeting.

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a welcome reception at 7:30 p.m. at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee.

The IAS has invited the public to join them at the Museum to view exhibits, telescope observations, and view special displays, including a complete sloth pelvis, Stiles catlinite tablets, and more. Special presentation by Museum Archeologist Jason Titcomb will be presented. Titcomb's presentation is entitled "Sanford Museum Research Program."

On Saturday, the first IAS meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at the Prairie Heritage Center (PHC), located 4 1/2 miles southeast of Sutherland on Iowa Hwy 10 or 3 1/2 miles northwest of Peterson on Hwy 10, then 1 mile north on Yellow Avenue. Watch for the "brown" Conservation signs directing you. The center is located on the west side of the road on a bluff overlooking the river valley.

Once again the public is invited to participate in Saturday's program entitled "Mill Creek Culture Research: Past and Present." Registration is at 9 a.m. and the Flint knapping pit will be open with artifact displays.

At 10 a.m. there will be a reception to welcome the public to the PHC and to see the Mill Creek research.

At 10:15 a.m. Michael Perry, Office of the State Archeologist, will present "Pioneers of O'Brien County Archaeology: Charles Keyes and Ellison Orr at Waterman Creek." A short review of the first documented investigations of Mill Creek sites along Waterman Creek, including maps, photographs and artifacts will also be conducted.

At 10:45 a.m. Dale Henning, Research Associate will present "Past Climates and the Archaeology of Northwest Iowa." It was in the early 1960's that archaeologists began seriously exploring the relationships between past climatic shifts and cultural changes. These explorations resulted in a series of research projects developed through the Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin. This will outline the basic assumptions, the goals, the methods employed and the results, some of which have shaped archaeological and paleoclimatic research in the Plains and Midwest over the past five decades.

At 11:15 a.m. Joseph Tiffany of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, will present the "Research at Chan-ya-ta: a Mill Creek Village in Buena Vista County." Results of the 1974 excavations at the Chan-ya-ta site are reviewed in light of Van Voorhis' earlier work and current research on climate and settlement models of the Mill Creek culture.

At 11:45 a.m. the IAS will hold its Business Meeting.

For lunch, food will be for sale on site or you're invited to bring your own sack lunch.

At 1 p.m. William Whittaker of the Office of the State Archaeologist, will present the program "New Insights into the Mill Creek Kimball Village Site." The Kimball Village site is a large Late Prehistoric Mill Creek site near Sioux City. It was partially excavated in the 1930s and 1960s, but these excavations focused on the features at the base of the site, and paid little attention to the soils and possible features within the seven feet of fill above the base. Auger testing, soil coring, and remote sensing in 2009 revealed that there is a great deal of stratigrapic complexity to the site, and the site appears to have been built up during repeated occupations.

At 1:30 p.m. Melody Pope of the Office of the State Archaeologist will present the program "A Study of Stone Endscraper Use at Chan-ya-ta, 13BV1." Well-made unofficial end scrapers are a key diagnostic stone tool of many late prehistoric and historic period lithic industries throughout North America and the Late Prehistoric Mill Creek culture is no exception. Researchers have shown that endscraper technologies were critical to emerging mercantile, trade, and labor relations among many different indigenous economies in North America. This presentation offers new information on scraper technologies at the Mill Creek Chan-ya-ta site.

A short brake in the day's activities will be held at 2 p.m.

At 2:15 p.m. Stephen Lensink of the Office of the State Archaeologist will present the program "Mill Creek Research on the Waterman." Fortifications seem to be a hallmark of Little Sioux phase Mill Creek villages. Five such sites in O'Brien County were already documented in the nineteenth century. He will report on research at two of the northernmost sites on Waterman Creek and recent investigations at an associated ridged-field site.

At 2:45 p.m., Jason Titcomb, Sanford Museum Archaeologist will present "Recent Magnetometer Survey Work on Mill Creek Sites and Demonstration." Learn about recent survey work using non-invasive geophysical equipment at Chan-ya-ta and other sites. An explanation and demonstration of the magnetometer will follow the presentation at a local site.

On Sunday, at 9 a.m. the public is again invited to meet at Prairie Heritage Center for a tour of Mill Creek Sites led by several archaeologists along the Little Sioux and Waterman watersheds. Get a chance to see Mill Creek sites with great preservation and protection while visiting sites that are under threat. The tour is expected to last until 11:30 a.m.

Sponsors of these events are Sanford Museum and Planetarium and the Northwest Chapter of Iowa Archeological Society. For more information, call the Sanford Museum at 712-225-3922.

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