The Iowa State University Archaeological Laboratory (ISUAL) was established in 1964 as a result of contracted archaeological work with the National Park Service in the Red Rock Reservoir along the Des Moines River south of the City of Des Moines. ISUAL conducts sponsored and original research in Iowa archaeology. The sponsored work is done in accordance with established guidelines of the Association of Iowa Archaeologists and the Historic Preservation Bureau of the State Historical Society of Iowa.
The ISUAL laboratory facilities are located in both East Hall and the Industrial Education II building on the ISU Campus. These facilities include a teaching laboratory, two research laboratories, and a seed flotation laboratory. The teaching laboratory is utilized during classes offered by the Anthropology Department. The two research laboratories are used primarily for sponsored and original research conducted by ISUAL, as well as for Department of Anthropology graduate student research.
ISUAL also serves as a designated federal repository for federal collections and supporting documentation made under contract with agencies such as the National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Also included in the repository are items from Anthropology Department-sponsored field schools, donations, teaching collections for the Anthropology Department, and specimens on loan to ISUAL.