Geoarchaeology in Iowa

By Joe Alan Artz, with technical assistance from Patti Streicher


Iowa archaeologists find artifacts and features buried at varying depths beneath the ground surface. Whether working on flood plains and terraces in stream valleys, or on ridges and hills in the uplands, archaeologists must pay careful attention to the earth materials (sediments and soils) within which they find archaeological remains. The sediments themselves often hold important clues to the age, state of preservation, and prehistoric environments of the archaeological sites they contain. Research conducted at the interface of archaeology and the earth sciences is referred to as geoarchaeology.