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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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Changing Landscapes and pre-European Native Americans in the Driftless Area: A Brief Overview

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
7:00 pm at Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table, Viroqua Public Market

MVAC’s Dr. James Theler, will be giving a presentation for the Valley Stewardship Network as a part of their Conservation on Tap Series at  the Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table, Viroqua Public Market, 219 South Main St, Viroqua, Wisconsin 54665. For additional information call 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

Artifact Show

Saturday, March 07, 2020
10 am - 5 pm at Valley View Mall, La Crosse, WI
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Artifact Show 2019Come 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.

Artifact Show 2019

CANCELLED - Lecture - The UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project: Bringing Missing Service Members Home

Thursday, March 26, 2020
7:30 pm at UWL Student Union, room 3310
Lecture

Gregg JamisonDue to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our March 26, 2020 lecture with Gregg Jamison.  We will be rescheduling for a date to be determined in the future. 

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

Since 2016, the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project has been working in Partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to identify, recover, and repatriate the remains of service members lost during WWII.  The project combines archaeological, forensic, and historical research methods to conduct recovery missions in western Europe.  This multi-disciplinary approach provides students and volunteers with valuable fieldwork, service, and leadership experiences, and helps fulfill our Nation's promise to bring all of our missing service members home.  In this presentation Dr. Gregg Jamison will discuss his experiences serving as the lead archaeologist on the project, including reflections on methods, challenges, successes, and some of the project's future goals.

Dr. Gregg Jamison is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha.  He is the lead archaeologist on the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project. 

Link to read more about the project.

UW MIA Project 2019 Team

Wisconsin Archaeology Month

Friday, May 01, 2020
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

ExcavationA 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.

CANCELLED - Volunteer Field Survey Opportunity for MVAC Members

Saturday, May 02, 2020
8:30 am - 4 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Archaeology Center and Laboratories
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

Field SurveyDue to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our May 2 (and rain date on May 9), Volunteer Field Survey.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

MVAC 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, 2020. Advance registration required!  Call MVAC at 608-785-8454 or e-mail Jean to register.

Fee: Free admission for MVAC members.

CANCELLED - Youth Outdoor Fest

Saturday, July 11, 2020
10 am - 2 pm at Veterans Freedom Park, La Crosse, WI
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

MVAC’s Connie Arzigian will be at the event sharing some Native American artifacts and games, as well as information on Archaeology as a career, and on the Archaeological Studies program at UWL. Link to more information.

CANCELLED - Experimental Archaeology - grades 4-6

Monday, July 13, 2020
9 am - 3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

Due to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our July 13, Experimental Archaeology class.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

Learn how stone tools were made and how Native Americans used them. Take a nature hike through the marsh to explore food, shelter, and tools Wisconsin’s first people could have used. Try playing the chunky game and making pottery. Cancellations prior to June 29 will receive a full refund minus a $40 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 29.

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

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6500
Online registration at: https://www.uwlax.edu/ex/archaeology-workshops/

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

Link to MVAC youth scholarship information.  (PDF)

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

Monday, July 13, 2020
July 13, 2020: 9 am–5 pm; July 14–15, 2020: 7 am–3:30 pm at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Student Union, room 3110
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

ExcavationDue to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our July 13-15, Public Archaeology Field School - 3 day experience.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

This 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 15 will receive a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 15.

Fee: $350

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6500
Online registration at:  https://www.uwlax.edu/ex/archaeology-workshops/

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

Link to MVAC youth scholarship information.  (PDF)

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

Monday, July 13, 2020
July 13, 2020: 9 am–5 pm; July 14–17, 2020: 7 am–3:30 pm at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Student Union, room 3110
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

ExcavationDue to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our July 13-17, Public Archaeology Field School - 5 day experience.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

This 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 15 will receive a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 15.

Fee: $500

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6500
Online registration at:  https://www.uwlax.edu/ex/archaeology-workshops/

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

Link to MVAC youth scholarship information. (PDF)

CANCELLED - Introduction to Archaeology - grades 5-9

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
9 am–3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

Due to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our July 14, Introduction to Archaeology class.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

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. This program takes place in the classroom.  It does not include excavation activities. Cancellations prior to June 29 will receive a full refund minus a $40 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 29.

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

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6500
Online registration at: https://www.uwlax.edu/ex/archaeology-workshops/ 

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

Link to MVAC youth scholarship information.  (PDF)

CANCELLED - Middle School Field Experience – grades 5-9

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Thursday, July 16, 2020
9 am–3 pm at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Wimberly Hall, room 312
Youth

ExcavationDue to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our July 15-16, Middle School Field Experience.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

Take 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 June 29 will receive a full refund minus an $80 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations after June 29.

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

For registration information please contact the:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Office of Continuing Education and Extension
608-785-6500
Online registration at:  https://www.uwlax.edu/ex/archaeology-workshops/

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

Link to MVAC youth scholarship information. (PDF)

CANCELLED - Open House - MVAC Archaeology Field School

Thursday, July 16, 2020
10 am - 2 pm at TBD
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

ExcavationDue to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our July 16, Open House – MVAC Archaeology Field School.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

See what the MVAC Public Field School participants are doing this summer! Stop by on Thursday, July 16, between 10 am and 2 pm. Check back for more information.

Historic Indian Agency House – Archaeology Dig

Saturday, July 18, 2020
Sunday, July 19, 2020
10 am - 4 pm at The Historic Indian Agency House, Portage, WI
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

The Historic Indian Agency House is in hot pursuit of the hottest place on the hillside this summer: the 1830s agency blacksmith shop. An archaeological excavation which had originally been scheduled for June has now been rescheduled to take place July 18-19 and 25-26 from 10 am to 4 pm each day. Dr. Constance Arzigian, a research archaeologist with the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center and a senior lecturer in archaeology and anthropology at UW-LaCrosse, will lead the dig in July.

The public is invited to participate right alongside the archaeologists. Live blacksmithing demonstrations are also being planned for those weekends for spectators to enjoy. Adults and children ages five and up with the direct supervision of a responsible adult are welcomed to try their hand at a variety of tasks from digging to screening and more. Participants will be guided through a 15-minute “Archaeology Boot Camp” to prepare them before they roll up their sleeves to help excavate the site’s buried history.

A Historic Indian Agency House membership is required to participate in the dig. Memberships may be purchased ahead of time or at the door. The cost is $15 for an individual or $36 for a family. Memberships also include free admission to all on-site events during the 2020 season and a free tour which may be taken either in person or in a live virtual format. The public may spectate for free. However, since social distancing will be observed during the event, those with memberships will take precedence if visitor numbers must be limited at any given time.

Adam Novey, Executive Director and Curator of the Historic Indian Agency House, suggests keeping an eye on the Agency House’s “Archaeology at the Agency” web page for details and updates, especially as the pandemic presents challenges and requires flexibility and understanding on the part of everyone: www.agencyhouse.org/archaeology-2020.

Prehistoric Archaeology

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
6:30 pm at The Historic Indian Agency House, Portage, WI
Lecture

MVAC's Connie Arzigian will present on the critical thinking involved in prehistoric archaeology. When studying an era before written records, skilled interpretation is required. Dr. Arzigian will explore how archaeologists interpret artifacts to arrive at their conclusions.  Free admission. Link to more information.

Historic Indian Agency House – Archaeology Dig

Saturday, July 25, 2020
Sunday, July 26, 2020
10 am - 4 pm at The Historic Indian Agency House, Portage, WI
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

The Historic Indian Agency House is in hot pursuit of the hottest place on the hillside this summer: the 1830s agency blacksmith shop. An archaeological excavation which had originally been scheduled for June has now been rescheduled to take place July 18-19 and 25-26 from 10 am to 4 pm each day. Dr. Constance Arzigian, a research archaeologist with the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center and a senior lecturer in archaeology and anthropology at UW-LaCrosse, will lead the dig in July.

The public is invited to participate right alongside the archaeologists. Live blacksmithing demonstrations are also being planned for those weekends for spectators to enjoy. Adults and children ages five and up with the direct supervision of a responsible adult are welcomed to try their hand at a variety of tasks from digging to screening and more. Participants will be guided through a 15-minute “Archaeology Boot Camp” to prepare them before they roll up their sleeves to help excavate the site’s buried history.

A Historic Indian Agency House membership is required to participate in the dig. Memberships may be purchased ahead of time or at the door. The cost is $15 for an individual or $36 for a family. Memberships also include free admission to all on-site events during the 2020 season and a free tour which may be taken either in person or in a live virtual format. The public may spectate for free. However, since social distancing will be observed during the event, those with memberships will take precedence if visitor numbers must be limited at any given time.

Adam Novey, Executive Director and Curator of the Historic Indian Agency House, suggests keeping an eye on the Agency House’s “Archaeology at the Agency” web page for details and updates, especially as the pandemic presents challenges and requires flexibility and understanding on the part of everyone: www.agencyhouse.org/archaeology-2020.

International Archaeology Day

Saturday, October 17, 2020
Adult/Family, Teachers, Youth

International Archaeology Day LogoMississippi Valley Archaeology Center is a Collaborating Organization for the Archaeological Institute of America’s International Archaeology Day on Saturday, October 17, 2020.  Link to more information about the day.

CANCELLED - Annual Awards and Lecture - The Kensington Runestone and Golf Balls on the Moon

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Social 6:30 pm, Awards 7 pm, Lecture 7:30 pm at UWL Student Union, room 3310
Lecture

Scott AnfinsonDue to the rapidly developing Coronavirus situation, we have cancelled our October 29, 2020 - Annual Awards and Lecture - The Kensington Runestone and Golf Balls on the Moon.

Please check this web page and MVAC's Facebook page for updates on upcoming MVAC events.

In 1898 Olaf Ohman, a Swedish immigrant farmer, claimed he discovered a stone covered with Norse runic letters on his farm near Kensington, Minnesota.  His discovery didn’t get much attention until Hjalmar Holand, a Wisconsin historian interested in Scandinavian immigration, promoted it as an authentic relic dating to 1362. Throughout the 20th century, support for the Kensington Runestone’s authenticity waxed and waned. In the early 21st century, the Runestone found new champions in Scott Wolter, the president of a cement testing company in Minneapolis, and Richard Nielson, a Texas engineer. The authenticity of the Kensington stone continues to be debated, although interest in the stone has once again waned as Wolter has moved on to reality TV stardom and Nielson has died. Arguments for and against the Kensington Runestone will be presented in the contexts of archaeology, history, linguistics, geography, pseudoscience, common sense, and Scandinavian humor.

Scott Anfinson is the former Minnesota State Archaeologist and author of several archaeology publications.

Kensington Runestone