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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.

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Lecture - Booting Up Humanity

Thursday, February 19, 2015
7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Valhalla
Lecture

Dr. John HawksThe origin of our species was surprisingly complex. We have within us the genes of ancient Africans, Neandertals, and a mysterious population known as the Denisovans. Only a relative handful of genetic changes mark humans today as different from these ancient people. So how did the characteristics of modern humans, including complex social systems, symbolic thought, and language, evolve? New discoveries point in a surprising direction: Modern humans used a diversity of genes in a common social environment to bootstrap themselves to humanity. With the origin of modern human behavior, cultural evolution began to direct our genetic evolution, with rapid and unprecedented results.   

Professor John Hawks is an expert on human evolution and genetics, best known for his work demonstrating the recent rapid evolution of humans within the past 10,000 years and for exploring the contribution of ancient Neandertals to the ancestry of people living today. He has done fieldwork in Africa, Asia, and Europe, combining skeletal evidence from fossils with new information from genetics to uncover how humans evolved. His weblog is one of the top international resources on human evolution and genetics.  Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.

SpeakerDr. John Hawks, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UW–Madison

Artifact Show

Saturday, March 14, 2015
10am - 5pm at Valley View Mall, La Crosse, WI
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Artifact ShowCome 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 - Pre-European People on Brice Prairie: 13,000 years of Adaptation from Big Game Hunters to the Region's First Farmers

Saturday, March 21, 2015
10:30 am at Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
Lecture

Mastodon bones. Stone tools. Engraved pottery. What do these items have in common? These artifacts provide a glimpse into the lives of early peoples in the Brice Prairie area, weaving a story of what attracted people to this area, how they utilized the land, and how their lives compare to ours today. An illustrated talk by Dr. Connie Arzigian, archaeologist at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, will discuss how people lived in this area, used the local resources, and how their way of life changed over time. Examples of different tools and pottery will be on display. This program will be best enjoyed by teens and adults.  For more information, contact the La Crosse District Office at (608) 779-2399 or visit the Visitor Center, located at N5727 County Road Z, Onalaska, WI.

Lecture - The Attacking Ocean

Thursday, April 02, 2015
7:00 pm at Graff Main Hall, Auditorium
Lecture

Dr. Brian FaganThe Attacking OceanDr. Fagan will be talking about his latest book, The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present and Future of Rising Sea Levels, which focuses on rising global sea levels, showing how societies of the past adapted to rising waters and how the rising sea levels of today impact the lives of millions of city dwellers and farmers around the world.

Brian Fagan is a leading authority on the complex relationship between the environment, climate change and human society. Fagan has 46 books under his belt, including eight college textbooks familiar to two generations of archaeology students. For audiences ranging from business executives to high school students, his works position today’s highly publicized climate crisis in a crucial historical context and describes how humans have adapted to environmental changes over the eons.

Speaker: Dr. Brian Fagan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara

Wisconsin Archaeology Month

Friday, May 01, 2015
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 at: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=N:4294963828-4294963805&dsRecordDetails=R:CS4131.

Volunteer Field Survey Opportunity for MVAC Members

Saturday, May 02, 2015
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. (Rain Date - Saturday, May 9, 2015) Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean to register.

Fee: Free admission for MVAC members. 

Advance registration required!

Lecture - Prehistoric Wisconsin: Living with the Seasons

Tuesday, May 05, 2015
7:00 pm at Vernon County Historical Society, Viroqua, WI
Lecture

Constance Arzigian, Senior Research Associate at the Mississippi Valley Archeology Center, UW-La Crosse, will describe how archeologists determine during what seasons a site was occupied, what people were hunting and gathering, and how these things changed in southwestern Wisconsin over the last 10,000 years. 

The public is invited to this free program. If you have recently found arrowheads or similar artifacts and would like to ask Dr. Arzigian about them, you are welcome to bring them to the program. Weather cancellations are announced on WVRQ radio and on the Facebook page of the Vernon County Historical Society.  For additional information contact the Vernon County Historical Society.

Egypt - grades 4-6

Monday, July 20, 2015
9 am - 3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

Learn about mummies, pyramids, and the people who lived in Egypt at the time of the pharaohs! Hands-on activities will include making a mummy case and mask, and writing a message in hieroglyphics. Cancellations prior to July 3 will receive a full refund minus a $40 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after July 3.

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/active-programs/Archaeology-Workshops/

 

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, July 20, 2015
July 20, 2015: 9 am–5 pm; July 21–22, 2015: 7 am–3:30 pm at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Cartwright Center, room 259
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Field SchoolThis 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 June 19 will receive a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 19.

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/active-programs/Archaeology-Workshops/

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, July 20, 2015
July 20, 2015: 9 am–5 pm; July 21–24, 2015: 7 am–3:30 pm at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Cartwright Center, room 259
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Field SchoolThis 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 June 19 will receive a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 19.

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/active-programs/Archaeology-Workshops/

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

Lecture - Under City Streets: Urban Archaeology in La Crosse

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
12:15 pm at Riverside Museum
Lecture

La Crosse County Historical Society - History in a Bag: Brown Bag Lunch Series Speaker - Kathy Stevenson, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at UW-L. Location: Riverside Museum at 401 E. Veterans Memorial Drive, La Crosse, WI.  For more information contact 608-782-1980.

Introduction to Archaeology - grades 5-9

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
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 July 3 will receive a full refund minus a $40 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after July 3.

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/active-programs/Archaeology-Workshops/

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, July 22, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
9 am–3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

Middle School Field ExperienceTake your excitement for archaeology into the field! Students who have taken MVAC's 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 July 3 will receive a full refund minus an $80 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after July 3.

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.
Prerequisite: MVAC's Introduction to Archaeology class
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/active-programs/Archaeology-Workshops/

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, July 23, 2015
10 am - 2 pm at Norskedalen Heritage Farm (Skumsrud)
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Field SchoolSee what the MVAC Public Field School participants have been doing! Stop by on Thursday, July 23 between 10 am and 2 pm at the Norskedalen Heritage Farm (Skumsrud) 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 Norskedalen Heritage Farm (Skumsrud) 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.

Archaeology Festival

Saturday, September 12, 2015
10 am - 4 pm at Whitewater State Park
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

atlatlW-300x238MVAC’s Connie Arzigian will be demonstrating the atlatl at the Whitewater River Valley Archaeology Festival between noon and 2 pm. Come and practice you skills with the atlatl.  The festival will celebrate the unique human history of the Whitewater River. Throughout the day there will be special speakers and presenters offering a variety of programs and activities for all ages to enjoy. Some activities will include CCC and German POW Camp walks, tours of Beaver Cemetery, archery and atlatl throwing stations, pioneer games for kids, and Smokey Bear at the Elba Fire Tower.

Directions: Located 3 miles south of Elba on State Highway 74.

More Information: call 507-932-3007.

Archaeological Tour

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
5:00 pm at La Crosse, South Side Neighborhood Center
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Visit local archaeological sites and see where over 12,000 years of Native American occupation took place. The tour will start at the South Side Neighborhood Center, which is in the heart of a large village complex that thrived 350 to 700 years ago, and proceed to other archaeological sites in the area. Some of the sites include the Sanford Archaeological District, a Native American farming village that thrived from 1300 to the 1600’s. The tour will also include the mounds at Myrick Park, which are at least 1,000 years old. Tour is led by Wendy Holtz-Leith, Senior Research Archaeologist from MVAC. The tour will begin at the South Side Neighborhood Center. Parts of the tour require walking. Contact City of La Crosse Parks, Recreation & Forestry for more information. (Registration Deadline: Friday, September 11, 2015) Cost per participant: $4

Open House at MVAC – Introducing the New Department of Archaeology & Anthropology

Thursday, September 24, 2015
3:30 - 5:30 pm at UWL Archaeology Center and Laboratories Building
Adult/Family

Lab

The Open House will celebrate the new Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, the only department of its kind anywhere in the United States.  Department faculty and Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center staff will be there to greet visitors. Attendees will be able to view the laboratory and see material recovered during archaeological research activities in the area.  The Open House will include a cash bar and light refreshments.

Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.

International Archaeology Day

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center is a Collaborating Organization for the Archaeological Institute of America’s International Archaeology Day on Saturday, October 17, 2015.  MVAC’s International Archaeology Day event will be Dr. Renee Friedman’s lecture on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.   For more information about the day visit: http://www.archaeological.org/archaeologyday.

The City of the Falcon: Egypt’s First Capital and Royal Cemetery at Hierakonpolis

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
7:00 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Graff Main Hall, Auditorium
Lecture

Slide 1Hierakonpolis is famous as the home of the Narmer palette, recording the unification of Egypt at the beginning of the First Dynasty, 3100 B.C. But 500 years earlier, this site was already one of the largest urban centers along the Nile. On-going excavations are revealing the tombs of regional kings who expressed their power in the size of their graves, and, most interestingly, with a royal menagerie of carefully buried exotic wild animals such as elephants, leopards, and troops of baboons to take to the afterlife. The menagerie gives us a glimpse of the reality behind many artistic symbols of power from this early period.

Plundered over the millennia, until recently the actual nature of the Hierakonpolis royal burials could only be assumed, but in March 2014 the discovery of a nearly intact tomb provided a tantalizing glimpse at the complex rituals that must have surrounded the burial of these early rulers.  Even more remarkable, evidence of restoration of this tomb’s structure during the First Dynasty indicates the continued memory of, and respect paid to, the early Predynastic rulers some 500 or even 1000 years later.

Dr. Renée Friedman is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in Egyptian Archaeology (1994) and has worked at many sites throughout Egypt since 1980. With special interest in the Predynastic, Egypt’s formative period (4000-3100BC), in 1983 she joined the team working at Hierakonpolis, the largest site of the predynastic period still extant and accessible anywhere in the Nile Valley, and went on to become the director of the Hierakonpolis Expedition in 1996. She has carried out excavations every season since that time, leading to the remarkable discoveries of breweries, temples and the elite cemetery where the early rulers of the site were buried along with an intriguing array of wild animals.  Renee is currently the Heagy Research Curator of Early Egypt at the British Museum and the author of many scholarly and popular articles about all aspects of the site of Hierakonpolis.

Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.

Annual Awards & Lecture - Jim Gallagher's Favorite Archaeological Places in Ireland

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Social 6 pm, Awards 6:30 pm, Lecture 7 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Port O'Call
Lecture

Jim GallagherIreland is a country incredibly rich in well preserved and spectacular archeological sites and artifacts.   Jim Gallagher has traveled to Ireland over 20 times including most recently in June of 2015.  He has hiked hundreds of miles along the island's many walking routes and visited most of the important archaeological sites.  His talk will explain the colorful history of ancient cultures on the islands and show you lots of great photos of sites ranging from spectacular burial chambers to precipitous mountain-top forts.   He'll show artifacts ranging from Iron Age bog bodies to spectacular golden treasures.  In addition he will share with you some stories and scenic photos from his many hikes. 

Jim is Professor Emeritus in the UW-L Archaeology Department where he taught a course on the Archaeology of Ireland.  He is also a retired MVAC Executive Director.  For 15 years he organized and led hiking tours in Ireland from La Crosse.

Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail for more information.