In 2014, Marion County Conservation Board ranger Mike Kalkwarf was conducting a routine shoreline inspection when he noted large skeletal elements along the eroding shoreline of Lake Red Rock, Marion County, Iowa. Kalkwarf relayed his discovery to Red Rock U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) personnel who in turn contacted Jim Ross, Chief—MVR Environmental Compliance Section USACE-RPEDN-Rock Island. Ross arranged with John Doershuk, State Archaeologist and Director of the OSA, to make a site visit on a frozen November 2014 day to assess the situation. Upon recognizing that these skeletal elements likely represented a proboscidean of some kind, a follow up site visit was made in early June 2015. This time multiple skeletal elements were noted, GPS points recorded, photographs taken, and an initial geomorphological assessment was made. These and two additional visits set a research plan in motion that culminated in a University of Iowa Internal Funding Initiative award through the Office of the Vice President of Research and Economic Development. This grant provided the OSA with the resources for a two-week field recovery and roughly a one-year window for research exploring potential ancient human-proboscidean interactions at Lake Red Rock.
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. Mark has conducted several hundred-research projects across Iowa, coordinating with landowners and supervising crews in the process of successful research completion. He has always participated in education outreach presenting numerous public presentations, interacting with dozen of individuals every year, and working with the public at large in interpreting and understanding Iowa’s rich cultural heritage. This was the first proboscidean Mark has ever excavated and with any luck, it will not be the last.
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 ethno history 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.