Community Lectures

The programs below are one-hour lectures, perfect for community programming at libraries, nature centers, local museums, retirement communities, special interest groups such as rotary clubs, and more. Choosing an option from our program menus below helps to keep our costs at a minimum. We are happy to customize programs or develop new ones for additional fees. 

Please review our flat-rate map under Educational Services for the cost of a one-hour program in your community. 

Click here to request an archaeology presentation for your community

 

If you know someone willing to make a contribution contribute to help us defray the costs of visiting communities across the state, please let them know they can make a tax-deductible, charitable donation! Options for providing support are:

Program Catalog

Ancient Technology in Iowa: How Did They Do That? 
flintknapping
Ancient technology was incredibly innovative. Learn about flint knapping, pottery making, bone tools, unique uses for plants, and more.
A Walk Back Through Time Iowa has a unique archaeological past! This presentation provides a general overview of Iowa's 13,000 years of prehistory and history, as known through archaeological study. This program can be accompanied by a display of a sample of real and replica artifacts from relevant time periods.
Crops of Ancient Iowa/ Iowa's First Farmers
Watercolor of a Native American Woman Cultivating with a Hoe
Archaeological evidence for Iowa's first domesticated plants stretches back about 4000 years. What were people growing and where? Some of their staple crops might surprise you! This program can be accompanied by a display of a sample of real and replica artifacts from relevant time periods.
Cycles of the Seasons: Meskwaki Then and Now

Meskwaki trace their origins far to the east in present-day Quebec. Over the centuries they moved westward and entered the Iowa/Illinois region in the 17th century.  Based on archaeological research, ethnographic studies, and research by Meskwaki historians this program presents what we know about the Meskwaki traditional lifestyle and the Meskwaki in Iowa today.

Note: When possible, we encourage you to seek out speakers and first-hand resources from Iowa's descendant tribal communities. The information we present has been developed over the years based on archaeological information and communications with our tribal partners. We are grateful for their partnership!

First Nations: Those Who have Gone Before

Mahaska the Younger
A look at the indigenous cultures of Iowa with a special focus on the Ioway and Meskwaki and their contributions to our understanding of Iowa's past.


Note: When possible, we encourage you to seek out speakers and first-hand resources from Iowa's descendant tribal communities. The information we present has been developed over the years based on archaeological information and communications with our tribal partners. We are grateful for their partnership!

From Garbage to Culture: How Do We Know? Archaeologists learn about past lifeways from what was lost, tossed, and left behind. Follow an archaeological excavation from the recovery of artifacts to final understanding of what those artifacts mean about the people and cultures associated with them. This program can be accompanied by a display of a sample of real and replica artifacts from relevant time periods.
Ice Age Iowa
Map of Iowa detailing the Pleistocene Glacial Advance
People began moving into Iowa over 13,000 years ago at the end of the last “ice age”. This was a time of giant land mammals, ice, and extreme cold temperatures. Learn about what Iowa was like during this period and how people adapted to the conditions. This program can be accompanied by a display of a sample of real and replica artifacts from relevant time periods.
I Know What They Ate  From analyzing plant and animal remains to isotope analysis of teeth and bones and detailed study of ethnographic accounts, archaeologists have a variety of techniques for learning about food ways of people of the past. Learn about some of these approaches and what we currently understand about what people were eating in the prehistoric past.
Traditional Native American Toys and Games
bone and pin game
The majority of the artifacts recovered in archaeological excavations tell us about what people ate and how they obtained it.  Some less common artifacts, however, are clues to the other dimensions of people’s lives, such as entertainment. We know that men, women, and children have always enjoyed the challenge and fun of playing games. Learn about some traditional toys and games, and even try some out.
Where Did They Live? Building Earthlodges and Wickiups  Everyone needs shelter. In Iowa, the most common traditional shelters were either large earthlodge structures or mat-covered wickiups. This program takes a look at both archaeological and ethnographic information to discuss these house types and how they were constructed. This program can be divided to focus on one or the other traditional structures. 
The Woodland Period: Diversification and Expanding Contact Learn about the Woodland Period, about 2,500 to 1,000 years ago, when agriculture, mound building, and wide-spread trade networks took off. This program can be accompanied by a display of a sample of real and replica artifacts from relevant time periods.