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Anthropology Collections

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Luther College Collections

Luther College is the home of five distinct collections which provide students and faculty with access to original materials for instructional and research purposes. Together, the Luther College Archives, Anthropology Collections, Fine Arts Collection, Geology Collection, and the Hoslett Museum of Natural History contain well over a million items, ranging from rare eggs to fine art, ancient fossils to arrowheads, and insects to college memorabilia. The collections' supervisors work closely with the college's Museum Studies Program to provide on-site study, work, and research experiences.

Luther College Anthropology Collections

The Luther College Anthropology Program manages three collections of material culture: archaeological, ethnographic, and numismatic. The ethnographic collections are comprised of over 1,000 objects collected from around the world. Our archaeological collections, primarily focused on the prehistoric and historic peoples of Northeast Iowa, details over 8,000 years of human history in the Upper Midwest. Finally, the numismatic collection consists of an assortment of coins and notes from around the globe. Luther's Ethnographic and Archaeological collections contain a wealth of cultural and historical information that can be used in numerous ways to educate as well as fascinate those who would otherwise not have a chance to experience and appreciate such diverse cultures.

The archaeological and ethnographic collections are supported in part by an endowed fund established for the purpose of managing and maintaining a material culture resource in perpetuity. The management and preservation of our collections is intended to provide the Luther College faculty, students, and outside professionals with a useful resource for scholarly research. The collections are also made available to surrounding communities to be used in outreach programs, exhibits, and other educational forums to facilitate appreciation and understanding of Iowa's and the world's rich heritage. The collections are administered by faculty member and director Dr. Colin Betts and managed by the laboratory and collections manager Dr. Destiny Crider.

  • Archaeological Collections

    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 the collections originate from locations in Northeast Iowa, particularly Allamakee, Winneshiek, Clayton, Fayette, and Jones counties.
  • Ethnographic Collections

    The Ethnographic Collections, currently numbering 996 objects, has been collected from locations around the world. The collection is particularly rich in Native American objects as well as material from Alaska, South Africa, and Asia.
  • Numismatic Collections

    The Numismatic Collections are comprised of over 700 Ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish coins as well as over 600 historic coins, notes, tokens, and medals from the United States and other countries.
  • Student Exhibits

    Each semester students prepare small exhibit displays located in different buildings across campus. These exhibits feature objects from the Anthropology Lab collections and are focused on differing themes of culture, history, and archaeology.