Water Screening Discoveries

This is only one small part of the work our archeologists do. If you want to learn more about their work to explore Nebraska’s deep past, come see our newest exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum!


What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of archeology? Was it washing piles of dirt through a screen? If not, let us tell you about water screening. It’s one of the messier parts of discovering our history.

It’s fairly easy to identify and pick out the large objects when excavating a site. But not all artifacts are big enough to be easily noticed right away. Water screening is for those smaller artifacts, allowing archeologists to find things that would otherwise go undiscovered.

Of course, not everything that comes up in the screen is important. Below, we have some roots and limestone that were screened from dirt excavated at our volunteer dig at Courthouse Rock in September.


But with persistence, attention to detail, and a decent amount of mud-stained clothes, the important things can come to light. Below, we have bone fragments and flakes from stone tool making, also screened from dirt excavated at our volunteer dig at Courthouse Rock in September.

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About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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