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Weis Earth Science Museum Celebrates 'Wisconsin Historic Preservation and Archaeology Month'

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Dr. Thomas Pleger, associate professor of anthropology and archaeology at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, will give a presentation entitled, “The Old Copper Industry: The Origins of Prehistoric Metal Technology in Eastern North America” on May 9, at 7:00 p.m. in room #1229 on the UWFox campus.

The presentation is part of “Wisconsin Historic Preservation and Archaeology Month,” a statewide celebration of our history and heritage during May. The presentation is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Weis Earth Science Museum, which is located on the UWFox campus.

Dr. Thomas Pleger, associate professor of anthropology and archaeologyDr. Pleger, who additionally serves as the associate dean at UWFox, provides an overview of what archaeologists have learned about the subsistence, social organization, and trade of these ancient peoples, who were the first to experiment with metal fabrication.

Nearly pure copper was discovered in the Western Great Lakes and, through experimentation, Great Lakes Archaic Indians learned to hot and cold hammer the copper to produce a variety of projectile points, woodworking tools, harpoons, fishhooks, and jewelry. These tools were used for everyday subsistence activities and traded to cultures outside of the region for exotic materials. Archaeologists refer to these peoples, distinguished for their manufacturing of tools between 4000 B.C.E. and 1000 B.C.E., as the Old Copper complex or industry.

Dr. Pleger is also an adjunct research archaeologist with the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at UW-La Crosse. He has directed three archaeological field school research projects for the University of Wisconsin Colleges and conducted numerous research projects in Wisconsin and adjacent states. He has received numerous awards for his teaching and research.

Posted 4/24/2006