Ancient Remains in Iowa

It’s not every day that ancient remains emerge in the United States, but in January 2011, sewer construction workers made a rare discovery in Des Moines, Iowa. A human body from the past was uncovered and archeologists believe that the remains could date as far back as 7,000 years. In this article, you will learn more about the findings.

While working on the southeast side of Des Moines, the remains of a human body came to light. As archeologists began taking a closer look, they believed that the bones dated back to the Middle Archaic period. The remains were found in a place that scientists feel was a location where early Iowans gathered to harvest, cook, and ate clams thousands of years ago. All the signs of a Stone Age clambake have been found, such as the remains of ancient ash and charcoal.

Although all of the studies are incomplete, researchers feel that the Iowa site is one of the earliest and best examples of an Archaic site. However, the exact location has not been revealed in an effort to keep looters away from the site. An archeologist from the state says that the site is quite unique for not only Iowa, but also for the Midwest. The find it considered one of the earliest that has been excavated in the state.

There is no doubt that the rest of the nation will be curious as to what will unfold at the site. The director of programs for the Archaeological Institute of America, Ben Thomas, says that it hasn’t been easy understanding the lives of the first people of the Americas. The information that comes with this find will help a great deal in filling in the gaps of the unknown.

Archeologists are pleased with the find and are excited about what they will learn as the start digging deeper into the state’s ancient past. However, not everyone is happy with the discovery.

The remains mean that the sewer project originally slated for the area will be delayed. The archeological dig will cost the Wastewater Reclamation Authority an estimated $1.5 million or more because of these delays that will last for at least six months. The delays also include missing the deadline that had been set with state and federal officials. A request for an extension can lead to thousands of dollars in fines.

The National Historic Preservation Act in Iowa that dates back to 1966 requires that projects that use federal money must assess the impact of a project that is on an archeological or historic site. If any artifacts are found, then they are placed in a repository with the state archeologist. They are most likely put on display for the public to see.