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The mission of the Office of the State Archaeologist is to develop, disseminate, and preserve knowledge of Iowa's human past through Midwestern and Plains archaeological research, scientific discovery, public stewardship, service, and education.

An aerial photo of a large excavation block with archaeological tools scattered about

31,700 +

archaeological sites as of FY23

ancient pottery vessels displayed on a shelf

300 +

infrastructure projects
completed annually

A man in a neon yellow shirt digging a hole in a field

4 Million +

Objects in Curation


photo collage

OSA Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report

Friday, November 3, 2023
One student crouched in an excavation unit, one laying on his stomach next to the unit

Updates from the 2023 Iowa Lakeside Laboratory Archaeological Field School

Tuesday, August 29, 2023


"A New Place for the Ndee: Appearance of the Plains Apache" - Matthew E. Hill, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Iowa

Monday, March 4, 2024 5:30pm
Art Building West
In the early 13th century, Athapaskan speakers from Canada entered the Great Basin and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains creating opportunities for later ancestral Apache groups to move into the southern and central Great Plains. These groups were the ancestors of modern Plains and Lipan Apache people who figured so prominently in Great Plains ethnohistoric records in the 1500s to 1800s. In this talk Dr. Hill will summarize our current understanding of the archaeological record for...

"Gardens of Commemoration: From Rome to America" - Victoria Austen, Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Humanities and Classics, Carleton College

Monday, March 25, 2024 5:00pm
Art Building West
Throughout history, gardens have come to be understood as a powerful setting in which societies embed a series of beliefs, myths, and fictions. A garden may well be a physical place, but it also has the potential to transcend its physicality through the actions that take place there and the meanings these actions produce. However, as John Dixon Hunt (2004) has argued, we tend to be drawn more towards origin stories of gardens, focusing on the initiation of sites and the original designs or...
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