The Verona Area Historical Society
Verona, Wisconsin
"Celebrating the story of Hometown U.S.A."

Check out our ongoing cemetery restoration project: Bringing Their Stones Home

Next VAHS Events: All events are free and open to the public!

*Saturday 1/20/17, 10:00am: "A Hundred Thousand Years, Give or Take", with guests John Hawks.  Verona Senior Center.

What does Verona, Wisconsin have in common with the bottom of a remote South African cave?  The answer is professor John Hawks!  This Verona resident spends part of the year teaching in the UW's Anthropology department, and the other part about as far away in space and time as one could get:  8,600 miles and 300,000 years, give or take.
    John has taught Anthropology at the UW for about 15 years.  Part of his work involves traveling and studying sites related to the study of human evolution and our early ancestors.  In 2013, he and a team of colleagues gained worldwide attention for their work discovering and studying a large collection of bones deep in a South African cave referred to as the "Rising Star" Cave.  This discovery has the potential to change and inform our future understanding of human evolution.
    Come and enjoy discovering how one of our Verona neighbors is traveling and doing work recognized by the scientific community around the world.  John will talk about his experiences and give us some insights into the exciting study of human evolution.

(Pictured:  A collection of  bones from the newly discovered "Homo naledi" species from the Rising Star Cave.  Photo from the Lee Roger Berger Research Team. )

*Saturday 2/10/17, 10:00am:  "Shovels Full of Surprises", with guests Rich Schmidt.  Verona Senior Center.

    Have you ever had that moment where you look around, maybe at the ground beneath your feet or off into the horizon, and wondered what used to be here a hundred years ago?  Did a team of oxen pull a pioneer's wagon across your front yard?  Did Native Americans hunt or camp where your garden is today?  Did pioneer families farm, settle, or build right where you stand?

What if the answer was only a shovel away?

Our guest Rich Schmidt came to Verona in 2005 after living near Belleville for 20 year.  He bought and moved into a fifty year old house on about four acres near highway PB that, like most neighborhoods in Verona, was once farmland eventually subdivided into residential plots.  Over the first few Summers as he mowed his lawn he noticed a small notch in his otherwise dry yard where cat tails grew thick and the mower's wheels would stick if he got too close.  After several years of this, curiosity got the best of Rich and he grabbed his shovel and started digging.  Almost immediately below the ground were two old wooden timbers with matching half-circle arcs carved in to them along with pieces of a cast iron reciprocating pump (the kind farmers would attach to windmills).  This is how it all started...

Rich will share stories and discoveries made by him and his sons - who turned backyard archaeology into a family hobby!  In the years following they would unearth many surprises that give unique glimpses into Verona life in the 1800s.  Graduate students from the University of Wisconsin and archaeologists from the Wisconsin Historical Society have also visited his property and gotten some experience in the field - Rich's field.

Warning:  The Verona Area Historical Society warns that attending this talk may lead to uncontrollable urges to dig holes in one's own yard.

About the Verona Area Historical Society:

President - Jesse Charles
Vice President - Art Cresson
Secretary - Ruth Jensen
Treasurer - Beverly Beyers
Board:  Lisa Olmsted

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