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U.S. Silica Donates Archaeological Collection to University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

September 27, 2012

Sparta, WI – Representatives from U.S. Silica donated thousands of historical artifacts this week to the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center (MVAC) on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.  The artifacts were excavated from U.S. Silica’s property in Sparta and date from 3500 BC to 1200 AD.

“We’re happy to make this contribution to the University,” said Larry McKibbin, Plant Manager, U.S. Silica Sparta.  “There are a lot of pieces here and it was important for us to transfer them all together where they can be viewed by the public and also used for research for years to come.” 

The excavated artifacts consist primarily of remnants from making stone tools, but also include stone tools themselves—knives and spear points—and a number of fragments of prehistoric ceramics.  U.S. Silica took extra precautions to safeguard the pieces by enlisting third-party excavation experts, Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group, to ensure their proper removal and documentation.    

By donating them to MVAC, researchers can work with the artifacts to uncover details about the region’s rich cultural history.  Because a number of the University’s archaeological graduates go on to become professional researchers, the pieces will provide long-term opportunities during the course of their archaeological careers. 

“This donation will add significant value to our collection and to the community as a whole,” said Joseph A. Tiffany, Executive Director, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center.  “Because U.S. Silica took such care to maintain the integrity of the artifacts, students and professional researchers alike can perform specialized studies to discover everything from what kinds of animals were hunted to how the people of centuries past lived.” 

Beyond serving as research materials, the artifacts will be on display in University exhibits for the public’s interpretation and review.  They will also be available for loan to other museums and research facilities.  During the removal process, U.S. Silica invited several Sparta-area middle school teachers to the dig site, where they learned about the excavation process and got an up-close look at the prehistoric materials. 

For more information about US Silica visit


U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation, is the second largest domestic producer of commercial silica, a specialized mineral that is a critical input into the oil and gas proppants end market. The company also processes ground and unground silica sand for a variety of industrial and specialty products end markets such as glass, fiberglass, foundry molds, municipal filtration and recreational uses. During its 100-plus year history, US Silica Holdings, Inc. has developed core competencies in mining, processing, logistics and materials science that enable it to produce and cost-effectively deliver over 200 products to customers across these end markets. U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is headquartered in Frederick, MD.


U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.

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