Dairy on the Prairie

Overview of trunk contents

Historic archaeology in Jones County tells the story of pioneer Iowa, particularly the rise of the dairy industry from the farm to the factory. Although we know a lot about this time period from history and written records, historic archaeology is still a very important supplemental tool for piecing together what we know about our historic past. While maps, deeds, newspapers, and census records may indicate the history of pioneer families, their professions, and their land transactions, archaeological clues help us to learn about the nature of their everyday lives, standard of living, and interactions with the outside world. 

Contents of this Discovery Trunk include a sampling of the material culture of eastern Iowa pioneers between the 1830s and 1870s including: building and construction materials, household materials, glass and ceramics, plant and animal remains, and dairy items. Students love to explore the authentic historical artifacts from an archaeological excavation in Jones County. This trunk is also commonly used as a table-top exhibit to engage audiences in conversations about Iowa's pioneer and farming history. Because objects such as the milking stool and butter churn do not fit in the trunk, this exhibit cannot be shipped.

Reserve this trunk!

Note: As of July 1, 2016, there is a $25 service fee for all trunks borrowed from the Office of the State Archaeologist. This service fees covers staff time to maintain the traveling trunk program, including processing requests, preparing trunks for shipping, inventorying and replacing items, and making upgrades to trunk contents and lessons.

Historic Button
Historic Clay Pipe
Historic Glass Bottles


Old Capitol Museum

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