Volunteer Laboratory Opportunity for the UI School of Music (13JH1436) Site!

Post Date: 

Friday, May 22, 2015

by Daniel Horgen, University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist

​(NOTE: This volunteer opportunity is not current)

What is going on?

A limited number of volunteers are welcome to assist with laboratory work from archaeological site 13JH1436 which was identified during the demolition and construction for the new UI School of Music. The site includes one foundation of a cabin that contains pre-1850 artifacts and three sealed features, a well and two privies (outhouses). One privy contains pre-1870s artifacts; another is contemporary with the cabin and contains pre-1850 artifacts. The well contains artifacts from the turn of the last century. The recovered features and artifacts will answer questions about what life looked like to the early residents of Iowa City including Euroamerican pioneers, early UI students, and a variety of tenants who lived on the block spanning the first three decades of the 20th century.

What you will do:

  • You do not need any prior experience or special skills to volunteer. You do need enthusiasm, an eagerness to learn, and a willingness to get dirty and perhaps a little wet. 
  • You may rotate through different tasks, like washing artifacts, operating a flotation machine, inventorying or labeling artifacts, or using a microscope to pick out tiny seeds. You will receive instruction about how to do these things. 
  • If you cannot physically do a certain task, such as looking under the microscope, just tell the archaeologist and we will find something else for you to do.
  • Parents, if you bring your children, please talk to them beforehand about how it is important to work in a scientific way—meaning, following the precise instructions that you are given. Children must be accompanied by a responsible chaperone.

Laboratory information:

  • Meet at the Office of the State Archaeologist at 700 South Clinton Street, Iowa City. If it is your first day volunteering, ask at the front desk for Dan or Anson.
  • There are a few parking meters in front of the building, but there is cheaper meter parking along Clinton Street a block south of the OSA. On-street free parking is found several blocks away to the east. 
  • Working hours are typically 9 AM to 4 PM, with lunch on your own.
  • If you bring a lunch; the OSA has a refrigerator and microwave. Or, there are many restaurants within walking distance.
  • Wear clothes that can get somewhat dirty. 
  • There is always the possibility that the working schedule will change. We will email you with as much advance notice as possible if there is an expected cancelation or work delay.

Contact information:

  • Contact Dan Horgen of the OSA. Email is the preferred contact method: daniel-horgen@uiowa.edu, but if you don’t have an email account, call him at 319-384-2192. 
  • Volunteers must sign a waiver of liability. A parent or guardian must sign a waiver for children. The most common problem associated with archaeological laboratory work is cutting yourself on artifact.

Please sign up for available slots using SignUpGenius


OSA lab volunteers

Volunteers working on processing artifacts from the Hubbard Park site.