Document Type

General Interest Article


Iowa Archeology, History of Iowa Archeology, Anthropology in Iowa


This paper traces the development of archeology in Iowa through three distinct periods. Workers during the period of Pioneer Investigations, 1870-1920, were preoccupied with the problem of the identity of the "Mound Builders." Through their activities they stimulated public awareness and interest and fostered the growth of scientific investigations. During the Keyes-Orr Period, 1921- 1950, Charles R. Keyes and his associates, working through the Iowa Archeological Survey, amassed a sizable amount of data and named various archeological cultures across the state. By the close of the Keyes-Orr Period, archeology emerged as a respected, disciplined and important pursuit in Iowa. The founding of the Iowa Archeological Society in 1951 marked the onset of the Contemporary Period, 1951-1975. The Society served as a catalyst for amateur-professional interaction as research programs sprang up at various colleges, universities and museums across the state. Since the 1960's there has been a gradual change in research strategy toward the "new" archeology with its emphasis on the hypothetico-deductive approach. This paper concludes with some thoughts on the future of Iowa archeology with particular reference to the need for developing a state-wide plan aimed at coordinating research, preserving sites and artifacts and involving the general public.

Publication Date

June 1975

Journal Title

Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science




1 pt. 2

First Page


Last Page



©1975 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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