The AIA Iowa Society Lecture Program: X-Rays and Archaeology: Tracing the Origin of Mill Creek Pottery Using Chemistry

Presentation by Dr. Cindy Strong, Professor of Chemistry, Cornell College

The chemical composition of fragments of pottery can help determine whether or not the fragments were produced from a common clay source. Using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, we studied a set of potter fragments from the Mill Creek culture in western Iowa that date to 1100-1250 AD. Working with archaeologists at the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist, we can combine chemical and archaeological information to better understand the origin of the pottery fragments and extent of trade between the Mill Creek people and other cultures.

The Archaeological Institute of American (AIA) Iowa Society Lecture Program is a joint initiative of  the Office of the State Archaeologist, the University of Iowa Departments of Anthropology, Classics, Religion, Art and Art History, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, and the Iowa Academy of Science.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Mark Anderson in advance at


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