The Luther College anthropology program is getting some help for its project to further document and conserve some of the remaining Effigy Mounds in Northeast Iowa. The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded a $26,987 grant to Luther's anthropology program to pay for buying high accuracy GPS survey equipment which will be used to conduct a remote-sensing investigation of the Capoli effigy mounds site.
Luther anthropology professor Colin Betts says the equipment will be used to create a highly-detailed map of the mounds, including topographical maps and three images of sub-surface characteristics. Once completed, the research will document the internal structure of effigy mounds and the details of their construction, identify the presence of associated archaeological features located in the vicinity of the mounds that may have been associated with their construction and assess the internal and external integrity of the mounds.
Working with Luther students Anna Luber and Linh Luong, Betts earlier this summer conducted initial data collection at the site. The majority of the data collection is scheduled for next spring and summer. Once the mapping is completed, the work will be presented to other professional archaeologists and publicly through presentations.
"Effigy mounds are valuable, rare and fragile resources and represent the most visible and evocative elements of Iowa's prehistoric cultural resources. Few other elements of our cultural heritage offer the ability for the general public to more directly interact with and contemplate the legacy of the state's original inhabitants, while at the same time highlighting the value and challenges involved in the conservation of that heritage," said Betts.