Day of Archaeology 2011 coincides with the last two days of Iowa’s Archaeology On-the-Road outreach event. For the fourth year, the Office of the State Archaeologist University of Iowa, organized a cycling and outreach team to ride and interact with the 20,000+ cyclists and community members taking part in the “Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa”, a.k.a. RAGBRAI. Traversing more than 440 miles west to east across the state, Team Archaeology spread the word of Iowa’s prehistoric and historic heritage and the importance of reporting, recording, and preserving sites.
Team Archaeology 2011 included four cyclists and support personnel who established an outreach booth at communities along the route. The outreach exhibit displayed information about Iowa archaeology and history and illustrated specific archaeological and historic discoveries across the state. Team members shared information about current research and answered questions.
On Friday, July 29—Day of Archaeology—Team Archaeology was in the community of Homestead, in the Amana Colonies of eastern Iowa. The seven Amana Colonies, established beginning in 1855, represent one of America’s longest-lived communal societies. Archaeological excavation at an early historic trading post will take place here in the fall.
A specially designed cycling shirt, wristband (embedded with the project web site address), and an informational booklet, “Iowa Archaeology on the Road,” were centerpieces of this year’s event. The booklet and wristband were distributed for free at the outreach exhibit and remain available via the project web site: http://www.uiowa.edu/~osa/teamarcheo.html
While a lot of fun for the Team, this event’s enduring goal is to encourage a greater awareness, understanding, and protection of the state’s archaeological and historic heritage.