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Museum program will look at 2009 Sand Creek archeology survey

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The third and final program in a lecture series this spring at Kauffman Museum will look at a 2009 archeology survey along Sand Creek in North Newton.

Dr. David T. Hughes, associate professor of archeology at Wichita State University will present “Sand Creek: Prehistoric Archeology, Small Towns and Big Effects” Sunday, April 15, at 3:30 p.m. in the museum auditorium. The program is free and open to the public.

The three lectures given this spring in conjunction with the special exhibition at Kauffman Museum, “In the Fields of Time: The Impact of Two Kansas Boys on American Archeology,” have been supported by a mini-grant from the Kansas Humanities Council.

Hughes coordinated the 2009 Sand Creek Survey commissioned by the City of North Newton, in which WSU students surveyed sites that archeologists Emil Haury and Waldo Wedel, North Newton natives and the subjects of the Kauffman Museum special exhibition, had recorded as being rich with archeological evidence.

The survey team found traces of farms and communities from almost 1,000 years ago. Among the evidence was a bi-face tool, a bison leg bone, a notched rib bone, a pottery shard, a projectile point, a knife and a scraper. These remains of early Kansans related to the culture Wedel defined as the Great Bend Aspect, later known as the Wichita tribe.

“First Americans left signs that they hunted and camped along Sand Creek in Newton,” said Rachel Pannabecker, Kauffman Museum director. “Settlers in the 1870s as well as amateur and professional archeologists of today have found and saved these traces of the past.

“Settlement and farming have changed the land along Sand Creek, making it harder to find remains of the past. Yet beneath the plow zone, there may be much more we can learn about those who came before us. Archeologists are committed to finding traces of the past that are part of our national heritage.”

“The prehistoric archaeology of Sand Creek, together with the strong local commitment to education, helped shape the interests and lives of Emil Haury and Waldo Wedel,” Hughes said. “Our recently completed archeological survey of Sand Creek provides some background for appreciating the early careers of these two and may serve [to] encourage others to better appreciate the cultural and historical world around them.”

“In the Fields of Time” continues at Kauffman Museum through May 20.

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the museum, which also includes admission to the current special exhibit as well as the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6. For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its website,

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