Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Donald Gaff


Excavations (Archaeology)--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Greenhouses--Iowa--Cedar Falls--History;


An archaeological excavation was carried out in November of 2013 on the block of 13th and Tremont Streets in the city of Cedar Falls, Blackhawk County, Iowa. The site examined was home to a late nineteenth century boiler house that powered several greenhouses on the property. Greenhouses occupy a distinctive industrial niche and have rarely been studied using an archaeological approach. The goals in excavating at the boiler house site were to determine what formation processes led to the creation of the stratigraphy as initially observed by the property owner, and what the layers and artifacts recovered from them tell us about the site’s history of use. Schiffer (1987) distinguishes between two kinds of formation processes: cultural and noncultural. In cultural transformation processes, human behavior causes modification of the archaeological record, while non-cultural transformation processes are “any and all events and processes of the natural environment that impinge upon artifacts and archaeological deposits (1987: 7).” It is hoped that through a detailed stratigraphic analysis of the boiler house site, an understanding can be gained of both of these formation processes at work. An excavation such as that described henceforth is thus important, not only in widening understanding of the industrial history of Cedar Falls, but in contributing unique discoveries to the burgeoning field and existing scientific literature of historical archaeology.

Year of Submission



Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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