Iowa has more than eighteen thousand archaeological sites, and research in the past few decades has transformed our knowledge of the state's human past. Drawing on the discoveries of many avocational and professional scientists, Lynn Alex describes Iowa's unique archaeological record as well as the challenges faced by today's researchers, armed with innovative techniques for the discovery and recovery of archaeological remains and increasingly refined frameworks for interpretation.
The core of this bookwhich includes many historic photographs and maps as well as numerous new maps and drawings and a generous selection of color photosexplores in detail what archaeologists have learned from studying the state's material remains and their contexts. Examining the projectile points, potsherds, and patterns that make up the archaeological record, Alex describes the nature of the earliest settlements in Iowa, the development of farming cultures, the role of the environment and environmental change, geomorphology and the burial of sites, interaction among native societies, tribal affiliation of early historic groups, and the arrival and impact of Euro-Americans. In a final chapter, she examines the question of stewardship and the protection of Iowa's many archaeological resources.