- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - After workers discovered antique artifacts earlier this year in an Iowa City park, state archeologists are conducting excavations at the site in hopes of learning more about some early settlers.

In January, contractors doing flood mitigation work at Hubbard Park near the University of Iowa campus found the relics that included marbles, coins and bone fragments.

The objects were found in soil that archeologists traced back to an 1851 flood, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported (https://icp-c.com/1yMdXSh).

“The people who lived on this block were very low-income people,” said state archaeologist Cindy Peterson. “They left pretty much no records except for land transfers, so things that they left behind, it tells the story of Iowa City’s lower-income folks around statehood time.”

Peterson led an excavation at the park’s northeast corner that began Oct. 13 and is expected to continue until Friday.

State archaeologist Bill Whittaker will supervise another excavation Monday through Nov. 21 in the central southwestern portion of the park.

“We have a rough idea where houses are, but we haven’t previously excavated there, so it’s a little more exploratory,” he said.

Residential settlements likely started in the early 1840s but were torn down sometime later to make way for Hubbard Park in 1926, according to Whittaker.

West Branch resident Angela Ward, 55, helped out with the digging, sifting through soil in search of more items on Oct. 24.

“I think that one of the really cool things is that they’re trying to find out about regular people,” said Ward, an education adviser at the University of Iowa. “I think that’s neat that they want to know about everybody.”

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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