Iosepa: Utah's Pacific Islander Pioneers Through an Archaeologist's Eyes

Benjamin Pykles


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About the Lecture

From 1889 to 1917, Latter-day Saint converts from Polynesia settled in Iosepa, a remote desert colony in Utah’s Skull Valley. Archaeological investigations at the town site have revealed how these pioneers from the Pacific sought to make the desert "blossom as the rose" by drawing upon their traditional cultures and their newfound faith.

Benjamin Pykles graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in anthropology and a Ph.D. in anthropology with an emphasis in historical archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  He worked as an Assistant Professor of anthropology at State University of New York at Potsdam for five years before joining the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  During his time as a professor in New York, Pykles researched and conducted archaeological excavations at Iosepa, a turn-of-the century Mormon Pacific Islander colony in Skull Valley, Utah.  His book Excavating Nauvoo: The Mormons and the Rise of Historical Archaeology in America won the Best First Book Award from the Mormon History Association in 2011.

This event was part of the 2013 Men and Women of Faith lecture series sponsored by the Church History Library.  Lectures are held the second Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, 50 North West Temple.  Validated parking is available at the Conference Center. 

For more information please call 1-801-240-2272.