The University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) serves the people of Iowa as the statutorily mandated repository for the State's archaeological collections according to Iowa Administrative Code 685, Chapters 7 and 8. The OSA curates collections from contract- or grant-funded projects and private donations. Through cooperative curation agreements, the OSA curates collections for federal and state agencies.

moveable shelving in a curation repository
ground stone tools on a shelf
archival document boxes on a shelf

OSA's facility includes three extensive repository areas that house over four million archaeological objects from about 14,000 sites in Iowa, as well as collections from state and federal agencies. These collections are accessible to researchers and students, as well as for loans for teaching and educational exhibits. 

Objects curated at OSA include chipped stone tools, ground stone, ancient pottery, modified bone and shell, and Historic Indian and Euro-American artifacts. Our accessions span all archaeological time periods in Iowa: Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, Late Prehistoric, and Historic.

Among several named collections is the Keyes Collection, reposed at OSA on behalf of the State Historical Society of Iowa. This collection includes several hundred of the earliest recorded sites from the Iowa landscape including prominent villages, associated mounds, and rock shelters. 

Repatriation in compliance with NAGPRA is an ongoing activity that OSA prioritizes.

For More Information

on accessing repository materials for research or education, contact the Research Collections Director