Archaeological Collections

Explore our Archaeology Collections - A newly developed online searchable database supported in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa Historical Resource Development Program.

The archaeological collections contain well over 500,000 prehistoric and historic artifacts. First started in 1969 with the acquisition of the Gavin Sampson Collection, the archaeological collections have been augmented over the last 40 years through donation and field research. While the collections represent the full range of human occupation in Iowa, Oneota and Woodland Tradition (500 BC to 1700 AD) materials are the most prevalent.

The collections are comprised of two main components:

  • Acquired Private Collections (approximately 37,000 artifacts)
    • Gavin Sampson Collection—collected from over 130 sites in Northeast Iowa and hundreds of locations across the Midwest
    • Henry P. Field Collection—collected from various locations in Allamakee County, Iowa as well as purchased or traded materials from across the United States
    • Robert Stoddard Collection—collected from sites in Allamakee County, IA and western Wisconsin
  • Field Research and Contract Excavation Collections (over 500,000 artifacts)
    • Excavations at Cerro Gordo, Panama
    • Contract excavations conducted for various agencies and businesses across Iowa
    • Field School and research excavations