OSA Brown Bag: Anticipating Features: Gradiometer Surveys at the Dixon Site in Northwest Iowa


Friday, March 2, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Clinton Street Building

Data recovery excavations were conducted during 2016-2017 at the Dixon site (13WD8), a large Oneota village located along the Little Sioux River in northwest Iowa. The University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist contracted Megan Stroh, archaeologist at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium, to conduct geophysical surveys before initiation of Phase III excavations. A Geoscan Research FM256 fluxgate gradiometer was employed at three different mitigation locations under both pre and post top soil stripped conditions. Maps created from the survey data revealed both historic and prehistoric anomalies, including numerous potential prehistoric features. Excavations showed that a high percent of anticipated prehistoric anomalies were positively identified prehistoric features. This research proved invaluable for the excavators in recognizing historic disturbance, anticipating potential prehistoric features, and estimating excavation time for those prehistoric features and the surrounding areas. This research provides an excellent example of the efficacy of gradiometer survey in the loess derived soils of northwestern Iowa.

Presenters: Megan Stroh Messerole works as the archaeologist for the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and English from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and a Master of Science Degree in Cultural Resource Management from St. Cloud State University.  Her research focuses include North Lake Superior Archaic Period, Northwest Iowa archaeology, stone tools, and gradiometer applications at archaeological sites.

OSA Research Archaeologist, Mark Anderson, has been a professional archaeologist for over 30 years working in the Lake Superior basin, Northern Great Plains, and Upper Midwest. He specializes in Cultural Resource Management archaeology, lithic research, GIS/GPS, a variety of remote sensing methods, and ancient technology research. He has conducted several hundred research projects across Iowa, coordinating with landowners and supervising crews in the process of successful research completion.

Brown Bags at the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) is a semi-regular  series where OSA staff and guests share their research over the noon hour. Topics include individuals’ areas of interest, work in the field, developments in archaeology and architectural history throughout Iowa and the Midwest. Guest speakers whose expertise is in other areas pertaining to archaeology or ethnohistory may be invited throughout the year as well. For more information please go to http://archaeology.uiowa.edu/

These presentations are free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to  engage in discussion and exchange following the presentation. 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 the Office of the State Archaeologist in advance at (319) 384-0732.


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