State Archaeologist of Iowa logo

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.

FAQ & Common Inquiries

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to some of the Office of the State Archaeologist's most common inquiries.

Artifact Identification

Assistance, guidance, and resources regarding the identification of archaeological artifacts from Iowa.
A student takes notes on an old foundation in the woods

Education and Interpretation

OSA offers statewide public programs, resources, and opportunities for people of all ages to understand and appreciate Iowa’s archaeological heritage and preserve it for the future. We also offer consultation services for exhibits, interpretive media, curricula, and program development.
photo of a student taking notes with a tray of artifacts sorted in front of her

Volunteer, Intern, Learn

Learn about volunteer, internship, or student research opportunities at the OSA.
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


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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


Save the Date: OWLS (Older, Wiser Livelier Souls) Archaeology Summer Paddle Event promotional image

Save the Date: OWLS (Older, Wiser Livelier Souls) Archaeology Summer Paddle Event

Tuesday, August 6, 2024 9:00am
Jones County Conservation
Jones County Conservation Board is hosting an archaeology paddle trip for a summer OWLS (Older, Wiser Livelier Souls) program. Press release with details forthcoming! Advance registration will be required.
OSA at the 108th Annual Meskwaki Powwow promotional image

OSA at the 108th Annual Meskwaki Powwow

Friday, August 9 to Saturday, August 10, 2024 (all day)
OSA educators will be joining the Meskwaki Cultural Center and Museum staff in the History Exhibit tent at the 108th Annual Meskwaki Powwow! Learn about archaeology and OSA's Tribal partnerships. Chat to archaeologists and try some hands-on games and activities!
Crops of Ancient Iowa promotional image

Crops of Ancient Iowa

Tuesday, August 13, 2024 6:30am
Swisher Public Library
Visit the Swisher Public Library for a free public presentation, Crops of Ancient Iowa, on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 6:30 pm.
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Support the OSA

There are many ways to show your support for the OSA and its nationally-recognized outreach initiatives.