University of Iowa

The Office of the State Archaeologist

Discovery Trunks

Discovery Trunks are traveling teaching trunks, containing objects, artifacts, books, DVDs, activities, and lesson plans, and are ideal for educators who want hands-on materials and lessons that fit core teaching goals about Iowa's cultural and natural history. Trunks help develop student's scientific, cultural, and historical literacy. The trunk program has been developed by the Pentacrest Museums (Old Capitol Museum and Museum of Natural History), Office of the State Archaeologist, and Paleontology Repository.

Facility Tours

The OSA welcomes both individuals and school groups to take a personalized tour of our on-campus facility to see archaeology research and lab work in action, tour the repositories, learn about archaeological field and lab equipment, and explore our comparative and teaching collections. Most tours take approximately 30 minutes and should be scheduled in advance. The OSA is open Monday through Friday, 8:00-4:30, year-round excluding University holidays.


Students from across Iowa, including the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and Cornell College, have assisted with projects at the OSA that align with course goals in other University departments or fulfill requirements for independent study. Such opportunities are available for academic credit. Internships are open to both undergraduate and graduate-level students, as well as recent graduates, of all majors. The OSA also supports opportunities for undergraduate research in conjunction with the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) at the University of Iowa.

Bringing Archaeology to the Public

The Office of the State Archaeologist Education and Outreach program has available pamphlets, brochures, texts, exhibits, and publications for those interested in Iowa's archaeological heritage. Staff members can provide community presentations on a variety of archaeological topics, as well as tours of the OSA lab and collections.

Exploring Iowa Archaeology in the K-12 Classroom

The Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) education staff visits classrooms statewide to deliver lessons and activities that are interdisciplinary, inquiry-based, hands-on, and customizable for all grade levels based on current classroom content and teacher needs. All activities are place-based and emphasize what is special about the archaeological, cultural, and environmental history of Iowa and the school’s own community. This program received one of the Governor's inaugural five STEM Advisory Council Seal of Approvals in March 2015.