The Luther College Anthropology Program manages three collections of material culture: archaeological, ethnographic, and numismatic.
The Archaeological Collections are comprised of over 50,000 cataloged lots, representing close to 1 million objects and over 300 historic and prehistoric sites. The majority of collections originate from locations in Northeast Iowa, particularly Allamakee, Winneshiek, Clayton, Fayette, and Jones counties.
Our archaeological collections are focused on the prehistoric and historic peoples of Northeast Iowa, details over 8,000 years of human history in the Upper Midwest. Our collections 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.
These materials include material culture from Alaska Inuit, South African Zulu, and Asian and Native American materials donated to the college in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also available for viewing are more recent acquisitions, including an extensive collection of Hmong textiles from the 1970s-1980s.
The Numismatic Collections include historic and international currency, as well as unique tokens, medals, and other small collectibles donated to the college in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.