OSA at Hardin County Archaeology Day

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Calkins Nature Center
18335 135th Street, Iowa Falls, IA 50126

OSA archaeologists Cherie Haury-Artz and Veronica Mraz will be participating in Hardin County Archaeology Day on February 22. Cherie and Veronica will assist with artifact identification and flint knapping, and present on ancient technology.

Information from Hardin County Conservation:

Join us on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 from 10 am to 2 pm at Calkins' Nature Area for our first annual Hardin County Archaeology Day! There are many events this day, which we will lay out below for you:

Flint Knapping Classes and Demonstrations

Join us in the classroom at Calkins' at 10 am to learn how arrowheads, spearheads, knives, and various other stone tools were made thousands of years ago. The points will be created using traditional Native American flint knapping tools, an art that has been all but lost over the last few hundred years. There are still a few folks out there that can masterfully flint knap and we are lucky enough to have one for this day! Matt Graesch of the Iowa DNR will be on site to show you various flint knapping techniques and you can even work alongside him to try and make your very own points! Tools and other materials will be provided to the first 15 people that arrive for the demo. This class is scheduled for 10-11 am, but be fully prepared for it to go longer as flint knapping can be time consuming (as Matt will show you).

Guided Tours of Ulch Collection

As many Hardin County community members know, Calkins' Nature Area recently expanded its main facility with the addition of the Ulch Collection. Jeff Ulch of Clemons, IA, graciously donated 10,000+ artifacts ALL of which were collected in Hardin and Marshall counties. Yes, ALL of them. Those artifacts have been professionally identified, cataloged, and are now on site for you to view. Jeff will be in the Calkins' museum to guide you through his collection and explain some of the stories behind his rare and unusual pieces. A stag moose skull that had its antlers removed by sawing and chopping tools, clovis points, a one of a kind diorite ax head, oneota pottery and nearly complete paleo pots, a musk ox skull dating back 22,000 years (carbon dated), and nearly complete bison skeletons are just a few of the things that will greet you at the nature center. Jeff did something with his collection that many artifact collectors skip over as well. He recorded where EVERY point or artifact was found. This attention to detail makes Jeff's collection one of the best documented in all of Iowa. Trust us, it's worth coming to view. Tours will be every hour starting at 10 am. Both Jeff and Calkins' interpreter, Davis Horton, will be there to guide you through both sections of the museum (one half is Native American focused, the other is Native Ecosystem focused).

Bring Your Artifacts

We are also going to have professional archaeologists from the Office of the State Archaeologist on site to help ID your finds. This portion will be for people that do not often collect artifacts, but have found interesting pieces in fields, creeks, or on riverbanks that they just need help identifying. We often have farmers that till up ax heads or Native American projectile points. WE WANT TO SEE THOSE, and help you identify your artifacts of course. For those that are collectors, please feel free to bring in a few things just to share with other people attending the event. We will not have booths or tables available so please limit the number of things you bring with you. This activity will last the entire day (10 am to 2 pm) so bring in your pieces whenever you'd like. Artifact ID and sharing spaces will be set up inside the Great Room in the nature center's main facility. 

Atlatl and Spear Throwing

At Calkins' Nature Area, we like to complete our Native American programs with practical application. So, we will have homemade atlatls and spears for you to try out to see how great of a hunter you would have been a few thousand years ago. This station will be run by Calkins' staff members and the targets will be set up in the prairie just east of the nature center. After you're done visiting the collection and sharing your artifacts, go try your hand at some target practice throwing at 2D bison targets.

Calkins Nature Center Archaeology Day Poster
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Chris Barber in advance at 641-648-9878 or CBarber@hardincountyia.gov.