Ancient Iowa Mill Creek Culture revealed

The Mill Creek culture in northern Iowa produced highly decorated pottery, religious artifacts, musical instruments and a widespread trading network reaching as far south as the Gulf Coast and Florida. Tobacco has been found at the site. There were major earth moving projects and lodges that had been burned down and rebuilt. They were also some of the first corn growers in Iowa. Mill Creek people may have emigrated to Iowa from the Dakotas. Pottery has been found at the site that is of a design used in Arkansas and Louisiana. New research is exploring this site more in-depth:

Perhaps a thousand years ago, a child left behind a smoothed-stone toy top, lost in the layers of dirt and time, to never spin it again.

That child was a part of a sophisticated little society of people who once lived in a bustling village north of Alta. These people, known as the Mill Creek Culture, left suddenly and mysteriously, leaving behind everything from a bear-jaw tool to tiny clay effigies creatively shaped in their hands to seemingly honor creatures like turtles, owls and wolves with which they shared the landscape.

Centuries later, the village scene is invisible to the untrained eye, looking like any other rolling fragment of northwest Iowa grassland – from the surface. But below the topsoil lies secrets that may be the key to understanding some of the first human residents of this area. A new high-technology tool is beginning to unlock some of those secrets.

After a lengthy fundraising effort, the Sanford Museum’s archeology department has obtained a fluxgate gradiometer – the first of its kind ever to ever be used in Iowa.

Read the full article here: “Technology uncovers prehistoric evidence

Gary C. Daniels

Gary C. Daniels is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated television, video and multimedia writer and producer. He has a M.A. degree in Communications from Georgia State University in Atlanta, a B.F.A. degree in TV Production from the Savannah College of Art and Design and an A.A. degree in Art from the College of Coastal Georgia. He has appeared on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and History Channel. His History Channel appearance became the highest-rated episode in the network's history. He has a passion for Native American history and art. He is the founder and publisher of