Sign up for e-News Donate
Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Events

In the field.

 

Updated November 10, 2020

  • MVAC 2021 events are on hold.
      • Schedule of Events will be updated throughout the year.
  • Information about regional archaeology events sponsored by other organizations can be found by visiting MVAC’s Facebook page.

What type are you interested in?

All|Lectures|Youth|Adult/Family|Teachers

What time period?

Lecture - The Rise and "Expansion" of Tiwanaku Civilization in the Bolivian Andes

Thursday, February 13, 2014
7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Port O'Call
Lecture

Dr. Tim McAndrewsTim McAndrews is a widely recognized expert on the enigmatic Tiwanaku civilization, which emerged at an extreme elevation in the beautiful, though harsh, South American Andes. Join us as he discusses his research on Tiwanaku expansion out of the Lake Titicaca Basin and into the distant region of Cochabamba, Bolivia, nearly 1500 years ago. After a decade of research, McAndrews is turning traditional interpretations of Tiwanaku expansion upside down and argues that it was local chieftains, not Tiwanaku kings, who directed the influx of Tiwanaku culture into the Cochabamba region. Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean for more information.

Speaker: Dr. Timothy McAndrews, Professor, Department of Sociology/Archaeology, UW-L; MVAC Director

Lithic Materials Workshop

Friday, February 28, 2014
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Friday 1-5 pm, Saturday 9 am - 3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, rooms 337 & 339
Adult/Family

Projectile PointThis two-day event will feature informal presentations and displays, roundtable discussions, a lithic materials exchange, and lots of opportunities to talk. There is no registration fee. The entire event is open to archaeologists, flintknappers, collectors, students, and anyone else interested in regional lithics issues. For more information and updates, see our Web page at http://www.uwlax.edu/mvac/Lithic.htm

 

Lecture - Howard Carter and the Search for Tutankhamen

Tuesday, March 04, 2014
7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Port O'Call
Lecture

Dr. Dave AndersonIn November of 1922, Howard Carter made one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries of all time––the tomb of Tutankhamen.  This discovery was not random chance, but rather the culmination of years of research and training.  This lecture will explore the career of Howard Carter, from his initial trip to Egypt as a 17-year-old artist through the discovery and excavation of Tutankhamen’s tomb.  Carter’s work will be placed within the greater context of the history of the exploration of the Valley of the Kings and the development of the discipline of archaeology in Egypt.  Finally, several controversies surrounding Carter’s work in the tomb will be discussed.  Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mailJean for more information.

SpeakerDr. David A. Anderson, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology/Archaeology, UW-L; MVAC Research Associate

Artifact Show

Saturday, March 08, 2014
10am - 5pm at Valley View Mall, La Crosse, WI
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Artifact Show 2014Come to Valley View Mall and see artifacts representing the area’s long history. Local collectors will display their personal collections, and MVAC staff will bring artifacts recovered from local excavations. Archaeologists will be on hand to answer questions. Bring in your own artifacts for help in their identification. Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean if you would like to display your artifacts.

Lecture - From Under the Streets to Front-Page News: Archaeological Excavations of an Ancient Village in Onalaska

Monday, March 24, 2014
7:00 pm at Onalaska Public Library, Meeting Rooms
Lecture

ExcavationIn 2012 highway construction in downtown Onalaska made national news when remains of a late pre-Contact Oneota village and cemetery site were uncovered under a busy city street.  The scale of the finds was a surprise-and a major challenge.  Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center Projects Director Katherine Stevenson will discuss the project, and how cooperation and communication between agencies, the City of Onalaska, contractors, tribal representatives, and archaeologists was the key to a successful outcome.

SpeakerDr. Katherine Stevenson, MVAC Projects Director

 

Lecture - India's Oldest Stone Inscriptions

Thursday, April 10, 2014
7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Port O'Call
Lecture

Heather WalderAround 250 B.C., Ashoka Maurya was a dynamic ruler whose influence extended throughout most parts of modern-day South Asia. Archaeologists have uncovered inscriptions on rocks and pillars that are said to mark the boundaries of his empire. This lecture presents information on a group of inscriptions in the South Indian state of Karnataka, as well as the results of an experimental project to replicate an “Ashokan Edict.” Detailed investigation of inscription-carving technologies reveals information about ancient landscapes and imperial control. Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean for more information.

SpeakerHeather Walder, Associate Lecturer, Department of Sociology/Archaeology, UW-L; MVAC Research Associate; PhD Candidate, UW–Madison

Lecture - Archaeology under the Streets

Friday, April 18, 2014
8:00 pm at Hamline University, St. Paul, MN (Anderson Hall, room 111)
Lecture

ExcavationAt the Minnesota Archeological Society Annual Dinner Meeting MVAC archaeologists Dr. Kathy Stevenson and Dr. Connie Arzigian will share their incredible discoveries under the main street of Onalaska, Wisconsin.  Highway construction contractors and the entire town rallied around an Oneota Village uncovered below Hwy 35 in 2012.  Beneath an old railroad track, over 500 pit features with outstanding preservation of faunal remains were found.  There may be a decade of laboratory analysis ahead, but Kathy and Connie will tell their incredible story and bring some of the artifacts to view.  For more information visit the Minnesota Archaeological Society's website at:http://mnarchsociety.org/index.html.

Speaker: Dr. Katherine Stevenson, MVAC Projects Director and Dr. Connie Arzigian, MVAC Senior Research Associate; A

Wisconsin Archaeology Month

Thursday, May 01, 2014
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

A variety of activities will be offered throughout the state during May to introduce the public to Wisconsin’s long and rich cultural past. For a complete list of activities check out the Wisconsin Historical Society’s web site athttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/hpweek/index.asp.

Volunteer Field Survey Opportunity for MVAC Members

Saturday, May 03, 2014
8:30 am - 4 pm at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Archaeology Center and Laboratories
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Volunteer Field Survey 2014MVAC will celebrate Wisconsin Archaeology Month by involving volunteers in surveys of local fields to find unreported archaeological sites. The day will begin with an introduction at the archaeology laboratory, followed by helping with an actual field survey. Participants will end the day back at the lab to wash the artifacts recovered and learn more about their history. The number of participants is limited, so register early. Children may participate if accompanied by an adult. Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean to register.

Fee: Free admission for MVAC members. 

Advanced registration required!

Hike - Restored Oak Savanna Hike

Saturday, June 07, 2014
9:30 am at E 4297 Upper Newton Road west of Viroqua, Wisconsin
Adult/Family

Bad Axe River ValleyExplore a property that has been managed to restore the land to the vegetation at the time of European settlement in the 1700s. Seeing remnant oaks on the hill, landowners Jim Theler and Suzanne Harris started removing non-native and invasive plants and trees on the top of the hill after purchasing the property in 2003. Once they had removed a pine plantation, a lot of ironwood, juniper and shrubs, they started a program of prescribed burns. Soon the remnant seeds in the soil sprouted, re-establishing a savanna and prairie understory. The oak and hardwood savanna was maintained by Native Americans with regular burning. Both Jim and Suzanne are archeologists, and their digs on the property have proven that rock shelters near the top of the hill have been used for human habitation over the last several thousand years. The site, called Cade Mound, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Click here for directions and more information.

Tombs and Temples of the Americas - grades 4-6

Monday, June 23, 2014
9 am - 3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

Discover the unique cultures of the Maya, Inca, and Aztecs of Mesoamerica and South America. These early Americans built spectacular buildings, and had a written language and complex warrior rituals. Hands-on activities will include writing hieroglyphics, making a mask, and more! Cancellations prior to June 6 will receive a full refund minus a $40 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 6.

Age: Students entering grades 4-6
Fee: $80
Note: Bring a lunch, drink, snacks and water bottle.
Program Number: 84-43

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6504
Online registration at:  http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/youth/archaeology.html

For information on activity content please contact:
MVAC's Public Outreach Program at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean.

Public Archaeology Field Schools (3 day experience) - adults and high school students

Monday, June 23, 2014
June 23, 2014: 9 am–5 pm; June 24–25, 2014: 7 am–3:30 pm at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Archaeology Center and Laboratories
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

ExcavationThis multi-day field and lab experience is a well-rounded opportunity for those who want to learn about the process of archaeology. Work alongside professional archaeologists on an actual archaeological excavation and survey work. Lab work may include washing and sorting ceramics, stone tools, and other remains. An experimental archaeology component may explore making stone tools and using an atlatl (spearthrower). Optional lab hours and local field trips will be available after regular field school hours. No previous experience is necessary.

This experience is open to high school students through adults. Fee includes a one-year MVAC membership. Supervised dorm facilities are available for high school students at an additional cost of $225 for 3 days and $335 for 5 days. Cancellation prior to May 23 will receive a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after May 23.

Fee: $350
Program Number: 84-44

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6504
Online registration at:  http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/youth/archaeology.html

For information on activity content please contact:
MVAC's Public Outreach Program at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean.

Public Archaeology Field Schools (5 day experience) - adults and high school students

Monday, June 23, 2014
June 23, 2014: 9 am–5 pm; June 24–27, 2014: 7 am–3:30 pm at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Archaeology Center and Laboratories
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

ExcavationThis multi-day field and lab experience is a well-rounded opportunity for those who want to learn about the process of archaeology. Work alongside professional archaeologists on an actual archaeological excavation and survey work. Lab work may include washing and sorting ceramics, stone tools, and other remains. An experimental archaeology component may explore making stone tools and using an atlatl (spearthrower). Optional lab hours and local field trips will be available after regular field school hours. No previous experience is necessary.

This experience is open to high school students through adults. Fee includes a one-year MVAC membership. Supervised dorm facilities are available for high school students at an additional cost of $225 for 3 days and $335 for 5 days. Cancellation prior to May 23 will receive a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after May 23.

Fee: $500
Program Number: 84-45

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6504
Online registration at:  http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/youth/archaeology.html

For information on activity content please contact:
MVAC's Public Outreach Program at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean.

 

Introduction to Archaeology - grades 5-9

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
9 am–3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

Explore MVAC’s Archaeology Lab and work with artifacts recovered from area excavations as an introduction to the science of archaeology. Discover how the first Native Americans in Wisconsin survived using the area’s natural resources. Students must take this class in order to attend the Middle School Field Experience. Cancellations prior to June 6 will receive a full refund minus a $40 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 6.

Age: Students entering grades 5-9
Fee: $80
Note: Bring a lunch, drink, snacks, and a water bottle.
Program Number: 84-41

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6504
Online registration at:  http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/youth/archaeology.html

For information on activity content please contact:
MVAC's Public Outreach Program at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean.

Middle School Field Experience – grades 5-9

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
9 am–3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

Take your excitement for archaeology into the field! Students who have taken the Introduction to Archaeology class in the past can join a La Crosse area project. Participants will work alongside professional archaeologists in the field. Activities may include shovel testing or small-scale excavations. Weather may require alternate activities. Cancellations prior to June 6 will receive a full refund minus an $80 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 6.

Age: Students entering grades 5-9
Fee:
$200 (includes travel fee)
Note: Bring a lunch, drink, snacks, water bottle, insect repellent, sun screen. Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes that can get dirty.
Program Number: 84-42

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6504
Online registration at:  http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/youth/archaeology.html

For information on activity content please contact:
MVAC's Public Outreach Program at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean.

Open House - MVAC Archaeology Field School

Thursday, June 26, 2014
10 am - 2 pm at Skumsrud Heritage Farm
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

ScreeningSee what the MVAC Public Field School participants have been doing this summer! Stop by on Thursday, June 26 between 10 am and 2 pm at the Skumsrud Heritage Farm to see the ongoing fieldwork, and collections of materials that have been recovered in the past. In case of rain, we'll be inside working with the collections.  The Skumsrud Heritage Farm is located 1/2 mile west of Coon Valley, WI on Hwy 14/61.  Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean for more information.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Teachers

Monday, July 14, 2014
at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Teachers

Exploring the Past: Archaeology in the Upper Mississippi River Valley

July 14 through August 1, 2014

View more information

Archaeology Program

Saturday, July 26, 2014
1:00 pm at Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge Visitor Center
Adult/Family, Lecture, Youth

Dr. Connie Arzigian of the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse will lead a one hour program in which people of all ages may explore artifacts and replicas from four different time periods of Wisconsin’s prehistory and will use these pieces to create stories of the past. This hands-on, family-friendly program investigates how others interacted with this landscape before us. The program will be held inside the Visitor Center. For more information, contact the La Crosse District Office at 608-779-2399.

Speaker: Dr. Connie Arzigian, MVAC Senior Research Associate; Associate Professor, Department of Sociology/Archaeology, UW-L

Lecture - Mississippi Pearls

Tuesday, September 09, 2014
7:00 pm at Vernon County Museum
Lecture

Dr. James Theler will talk about the pre-historic uses of Upper Mississippi River mussels by American Indians, and the historic uses of these mussels by the shell button industry and the cultured pearl industry. Read more:https://www.facebook.com/events/1494949274076910/?ref=22.

Speaker: Dr. James Theler, MVAC Senior Research Associate; Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Sociology/Archaeology

Lecture - Freshwater Mussels of the Upper Mississippi River

Thursday, September 11, 2014
6:30 pm at St. Mary's University, Winona, MN
Lecture

Historic uses of freshwater mussels of the Upper Mississippi – Archaeological recovery of mussels, biogeographic implications, historic pearl rushes, the shell button industry, and cultured pearls will be discussed.

Speaker: Dr. James Theler, MVAC Senior Research Associate; Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Sociology/Archaeology

Lecture - Megalithic Cemeteries of the Turkana Basin

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Port O'Call
Lecture

Dr. GrilloApproximately 5,000 years ago, the first group of cattle herders in eastern Africa moved into the Turkana Basin of northwestern Kenya. This group built large megalithic “pillar sites” at several places surrounding Lake Turkana, and these pillar sites have intrigued archaeologists for nearly fifty years. New excavations reveal that many of these sites were large communal cemeteries. This talk will detail these exciting results, and will conclude with discussion about the enduring legacy of the pillar-site builders.  Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.

SpeakerDr. Katherine Grillo, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology/Archaeology, UW-L; MVAC Research Associate

Archaeology Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014
10 am - noon at Whitewater State Park
Adult/Family, Youth

Dr. Constance Arzigian will lead an activity for kids where they can discover how early Native people lived by examining artifacts from four different time periods, dating as far back as the end of the ice age. For more information visit: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/calendar.html.

Presenter: Dr. Connie Arzigian, MVAC Senior Research Associate; Associate Lecturer, Dept. of Sociology/Archaeology

Lecture - The Archaeology of Silver Mound

Wednesday, October 08, 2014
6:30 pm at Jackson County Bank's Community Room, Black River Falls, WI
Lecture

The archaeology of Silver Mound: Breaking rocks for 13,000 years. People have been visiting Silver Mound, near Hixton, WI, since the end of the ice age. What has been drawing them there? From how far away did they travel? What did they do there? How do we know all this? Learn about this important site and see a display of some of the materials that have been found there, including some of the oldest artifacts in the state.

Speaker: Dr. Connie Arzigian, MVAC Senior Research Associate; Lecturer, Dept. of Sociology/Archaeology

Lecture - Who Was Here First? Exploring the Peopling of the Americas

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Port O'Call
Lecture

Dr. Jessi HalliganFor most of the twentieth century, scientists were sure they knew how and when the Americas were first colonized. We thought that the first people entered the New World during the last Ice Age (around 14,000 years ago) using the Bering Land Bridge that connected Asia to Alaska. They then followed mammoths and other big game into North America through an “ice-free corridor” between the enormous glaciers that covered most of Canada. Once they emerged south of the glaciers, they rapidly spread south and east to cover the entire continent by 13,000 years ago.  Over the past decade, new research has provided challenges to every portion of this narrative, indicating that the story of the peopling of the Americas is both much more complex and much more interesting than we originally thought. This talk will present some of the archaeological data that have challenged this theory and will discuss why we still do not know exactly what happened, even after a century of research.  Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.

SpeakerDr. Jessi Halligan, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology/Archaeology, UW-L; MVAC Research Associate

International Archaeology Day

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center is a Collaborating Organization for the Archaeological Institute of America’s International Archaeology Day on Saturday, October 18, 2015.  MVAC’s International Archaeology Day event will be Dr. Jessi Halligan’s lecture on Tuesday, October 14.   For more information about the day visit: http://www.archaeological.org/archaeologyday.

Lecture - Archaeology in Wisconsin

Monday, November 10, 2014
6:00 pm at Hatch Public Library, Mauston, WI
Lecture

Constance Arzigian. Photo by Pa Moua-Yang. University Communications.Dr. Constance Arzigian from the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center will be at the Hatch Public Library in Mauston, WI to share information and artifacts related to archaeology in Wisconsin.  Learn what archaeologists do in Wisconsin, see and hold real Native American artifacts from our region of the State, find out what to do if you find a bone in your yard, and ask questions.

Lecture - 13 Millennia in 30 Years: An Archaeologist's Take on Coulee Country and Beyond

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Social 6 pm, Awards 6:30 pm, Lecture 7 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Port O'Call
Lecture

Dr. James ThelerDr. James Theler, Professor Emeritus, UW-L Department of Sociology and Archaeology, has spent over thirty years studying past peoples and past environments of the Midwest, and has a wealth of experience in the Coulee Region. His entertaining talk will offer an insider’s perspective on regional research and fascinating archaeological discoveries throughout this time. Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.

Speaker: Dr. James Theler, MVAC Senior Research Associate; Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Sociology/Archaeology