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Happy Anthropology Day!

Happy Anthropology Day!

To celebrate Anthropology Day, we decided to share a little bit about what each of us typically does during a day or what a good day as an anthropologist looks like! Dr. Stacey Camp:As an academic, my work varies from day to day, month to […]

Anthropology Day 2018 – What do we study?

Anthropology Day 2018 – What do we study?

Today is World Anthropology Day, sponsored by the American Anthropological Association.  This year we have decided to highlight the non-CAP research our director(s) and fellows conduct. Lynne Goldstein On this World Anthropology Day, I am doing archaeology, but differently than I have done it in […]

Meet the 2017 CAP Fellows and Undergraduate Interns

Meet the 2017 CAP Fellows and Undergraduate Interns

The 2017-2018 school year has just begun here at MSU.  Several large changes are in store at CAP this year, including the pending retirement of CAP director Lynne Goldstein and the addition of associate professor Stacey Camp. We’re excited to continue working on several ongoing projects and begin new and exciting research projects. So please meet the 2017-2018 CAP graduate fellows and undergraduate interns!

CAP Graduate Fellows

Lisa Bright
Lisa Bright

Lisa Bright: Lisa is a 4th year Anthropology Ph.D. student.  This year Lisa will continue as Campus Archaeologist for her third, and final year.  Her dissertation research focuses on focuses on the paleopathology and nutritional status of a historic paupers cemetery in San Jose, California. This year Lisa will be working with other fellows on their projects, supervising three undergraduate internships, and working to complete reports and process artifacts from this summer.

 

Susan Kooiman
Susan Kooiman

Susan Kooiman:  Susan is a 5th year Anthropology Ph.D. student, returning for her third year as a CAP fellow. Her dissertation research focuses on pottery use, cooking practices, and diet of precontact Indigenous groups in the Upper Great Lakes of North America. This year, she and Autumn Beyer will be continuing their project documenting foodways on campus during the Early Period (1855-1870) of MSU’s history. This includes expanding their research and disseminating the results of the project through publication, conference presentations, and other outreach opportunities.

Autumn Painter
Autumn Painter

Autumn (Beyer) Painter: Autumn is a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology. Her research focuses on prehistoric foodways through the analysis of animal bones in the Midwestern United States. This is her second year as a CAP fellow, and she and Susan Kooiman will be continue to work together on their project researching food on MSU’s historic campus.

 

Jeff Painter
Jeff Painter

Jeff Painter: Jeff Painter is a fourth year Ph.D. student at Michigan State University who is returning for his second year as a Campus Archaeology Fellow. He is a prehistoric archaeologist focused on foodways, ceramics, and migration in the late prehistoric Midwest. For CAP, he continues his focus on foodways and ceramics, investigating the diversity of dining patterns through time on MSU’s historic campus.

 

Mari Isa
Mari Isa

Mari Isa: Mari is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Anthropology. For her dissertation research, she studies the biological and biomechanical factors that contribute to bone fractures. Her other research interests include the potential social and biological impacts of malaria in Late Roman/Early Medieval Tuscany. Mari is returning for her second year as a CAP fellow. This year she is excited to be working on various projects including creating new digital media for msu.seum to highlight recent projects by CAP fellows and interns on topics such as sustainability, foodways, and gender.

Jack Biggs
Jack Biggs

Jack Biggs: Jack is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology with a focus in bioarchaeology of the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica.  Specifically, he is interested in human growth and development and how infants, children, and adolescents interacted within society and how social constructions of age affected their experience of the physical and social world around them.  He conducted some summer field work for CAP in 2016 putting in test units at various locations across campus, including Station Terrace and Beal’s Laboratory.  This is his first year as a full CAP fellow and is very excited to be a part of the team.

Undergraduate Interns

Kaleigh Perry
Kaleigh Perry

Kaleigh Perry: My name is Kaleigh Perry, and I am a senior at MSU this year. This past summer, I participated in the CAP Field School and now I have been blessed with the opportunity to be an intern for CAP for the school year. Whereas my interests mostly lie in Forensics, specifically taphonomy – the science of understanding what happens to an organism as it decomposes – the Field School has peaked my interest in Archaeology. Now that I have some field experience, I am excited to get more experience working in a lab and doing research.

Cooper Duda
Cooper Duda

Cooper Duda: My name is Cooper Duda andI’m starting my junior year here at MSU.  I have a twin brother, Devin, who just transferred here for Criminal Justice.  I participated in the CAP Field School this summer, which helped me become more interested in archaeology.  Although I do enjoy archaeology and Cultural Resource Management, I plan on going into Forensic Anthropology for graduate school.

Desiree Quinn
Desiree Quinn

Desiree Quinn: Hi, my name is Desiree Quinn and I’m a junior Anthropology major. I’m interested in studying bioarchaeology and environmental anthropology/archaeology. After attending the CAP field school this summer, I became certain that archaeology is the field for me and I am excited to learn more about the research side of archaeology this year!

 

Big Changes Coming in MSU Campus Archaeology’s Future

Big Changes Coming in MSU Campus Archaeology’s Future

The 2017-18 academic year will be a momentous one for MSU Campus Archaeology. We are now an established entity in the University with our own budget and clear goals, but as of May 2018, I (Lynne Goldstein) will be retiring from MSU, and the MSU […]

MSU Campus Archaeology, The Future, and Day of Archaeology

MSU Campus Archaeology, The Future, and Day of Archaeology

By Lynne Goldstein I am also posting this on the Day of Archaeology website. I was not going to personally post today for Day of Archaeology (#dayofarch) since our field season ended a few weeks ago, and I am getting ready for surgery (hip replacement). […]

Meet the 2017 Field School Students

Meet the 2017 Field School Students

This week kicked off our 2017 field school.  Students will be investigation an area in the Abbot median that contained Station Terrace.  Take a moment to meet this summer’s field school students.  They will be posting weekly blogs during the field school.

2017 CAP Field School Students

Desiree Quinn: Hi! My name is Desiree Quinn and I’m a junior studying anthropology at Michigan State University. Like many others, I first became interested in anthropology after watching the show Bones. (I know that most anthropologists are cringing at my mention of Bones, sorry!) Since then, I’ve grown to love everything about anthropology which has made it difficult for me to pinpoint an area of focus. I have many research interests including bioarchaeology, environmental anthropology, museum studies, and biological anthropology. I’m hoping that this field school, after having some hands-on experience, will help me to narrow down that list.

I’m really excited to see how archaeology can be used in ways that I hadn’t considered. In particular, I’m really looking forward to learning about public archaeology because I think it’s really important for science to be accessible to the public. I also like that this field school gives me the unique opportunity to learn more about my university and I can’t wait to be an archaeologist!

Jerica Aponte: Hello, my name is Jerica. This is my first semester at Michigan State University as a transfer student. I think that getting involved in this field school is the perfect way to get started on this new journey.

Why Anthropology? Is the question that everyone asks me. Well, let me tell you a little about myself. I was born in Puerto Rico, but at the age of seven, my parents became missionaries. This gave me the opportunity to live in countries such as Belize, Peru, and Costa Rica, and I also got to travel to other countries. Getting to see firsthand, not only how much diversity there is, but also compare the similarity between people, sparked my interest in cultures and people.

Even though I am not a student seeking an Archaeology degree, I have learned that Anthropology is a holistic field. All of its different areas, such as: Archaeology, Linguistics, Cultural, and Applied Anthropology, work hand in hand in order to better understand the whole. My interest is in the cultural aspect of anthropology, and one way of understanding the social culture (abstract concepts and ideas) is by studying the physical culture (concrete representation of ideas.) This is why I have decided to participate in the Campus Archaeology Research.

This hands-on experience will help me apply knowledge that I have previously gained in my classes and it will also be a learning experience for me. Something that I am looking forward to is learning more about the roots and foundation of MSU. Learning about the history of the school that I am attending will allow me to appreciate it more. So, even though I like the cultural aspect of anthropology, archaeology helps me visualize how our ancestors lived and functioned in their different spaces.

I am looking forward to this enriching experience and I hope to make many discoveries alongside my classmates. Stay tuned for more updates.

Kaleigh Perry: My name is Kaleigh, I am a junior at Michigan State University, and will be participating in the 2017 MSU Campus Archaeology Field School this summer. I entered MSU as a Chemistry major, but quickly switched my major to Anthropology since I discovered I am more interested in how past people lived than I am in chemical reactions. I am specifically interested in pursuing a career in Forensic Anthropology (dealing with contemporary human remains) or Bioarchaeology (examining archaeological or historically significant human remains) because I find that bones of the deceased can tell fascinating stories about how people lived and died, thereby increasing our knowledge about past ways of life, technology, and cultures that may have become extinct.

I applied for the MSU Field School for two main reasons. First, excavations can be an important part in the Anthropological research process, and for this reason, I want to learn how to properly partake in an excavation. Secondly, by participating in the Field School, I hope to learn something new about the beautiful campus I have been fortunate enough to call home for the past three years.

I am looking forward to seeing what the next month holds.

Cooper Duda: I’m Cooper Duda and am going into my junior year here at MSU.  I come from Commerce Township, Michigan; which is about an hour away.  I have a younger twin brother that is transferring to MSU in the fall.  My freshman year I lived in Wilson Hall and now I live off campus with some friends.

I became interested in Anthropology and Archaeology when I decided I no longer liked my first major, which was Chemical Engineering, and decided to change to something I would actually enjoy and like to do as a career.  I have always been interested by history and how things have been changed to become how they are now.  The more I learn about the more I am happy with the fact that I changed my major, but I am still unsure if I want to go into a sub-discipline of Archaeology or Physical Anthropology because both are really intriguing to me.

Josh Eads: Hello, folks. My name is Josh Eads. I’m currently an anthropology major at Michigan State University. After the Fall semester of 2017, I’ll graduate and head off to do Cultural Resource Management to start off my career in anthropology. For those of you who don’t know what cultural resource management is, basically it is the process of surveying an area for artifacts related to culture and history, such as American Indian burial grounds or arrow-heads, and saving them from total annihilation.

Initially, my major was physics, but after realizing that physics can be a complete nightmare, I decided to switch to anthropology and archaeology. For anyone who knows Kate Meyers Emery, she’s the one that I will always say “thanks” to for introducing me to the wonders of archaeology.

With CAP 2017, I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty, literally, and engaging in some good old-fashioned excavation. I look forward to getting the chance to learn about the history of Michigan State University and East Lansing. GO GREEN!

Alex Samons: I’m Alex Samons. I’m a senior anthropology student at Michigan State University now but I’ll be starting to study at a school in England in the coming fall for my master’s degree in Osteoarchaeology.

Osteoarchaeology is, very simply, the study of very old human bones recovered from archaeological contexts. In the UK, osteoarchaeology is considered a field of its own within the larger field of archaeology (which is considered a separate field from anthropology) although here in the US it is considered a form of bioarcheology (an subset of anthropology that focuses on the biological remains of humans and their ancestors).

2017 Anthropology Day Videos

2017 Anthropology Day Videos

Yesterday was the American Anthropological Associations Anthropology Day.  Campus Archaeology participated by posting a series of short videos showcasing some of the projects and outreach we had conducted over the past week.  Here are the permanent links to those videos: CAP Fauna with Autumn Beyer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8tmhEvouXY […]

2017 Campus Archaeology Field School

2017 Campus Archaeology Field School

Announcing the 2017 Campus Archaeology Field School! We are pleased to once again offer our on-campus field school.  This five week field school will take place May 30th – June 30th, 2017.  The class takes places Monday through Friday from 9am – 4pm. Students enroll […]

Privy Seed Germination Experiment: Introduction to Intern Becca Albert’s Project

Privy Seed Germination Experiment: Introduction to Intern Becca Albert’s Project

Hi, I’m Becca Albert, and I’m a CAP undergrad intern this semester.  I participated in the 2015 field school, volunteered in the CAP lab last year, and worked on the field crew last summer. My internship project for this semester includes testing to see whether seeds found in the West Circle privy in June 2015 will germinate. These seeds were identified as raspberry seeds (id courtesy of Dr. Katie Egan-Bruhy) it will be difficult to determine what species they are until they grow (if they grow!) The privy is dated to campus’s Phase I (1855-1870), with diagnostic artifacts dating to the 1860’s and 1870’s. University archival records of the Board of Trustee meeting minutes from 1875 indicate that Beal ordered around 300 raspberry bushes to be planted on campus. Whether these were for botanical experiments or for food sources is unknown, however it is unlikely that these weren’t used as a food source, as foraging for berries in the area and farming was a great contributor of food for the students. Financial records from Saint’s Rest also indicate that the boarding hall was purchasing upwards of 130 quarts of berries a week during the summer. Again, no specific species is indicated, but this does provide archival evidence of berry consumption. These seeds were found in association with a flower pot, so although these could have been digested, these could also have been the product of a failed botanical experiment.

Seed from the privy under magnification. Image source: Amy Michael
Seed from the privy under magnification. Image source: Amy Michael

The seeds I am using for my experiment were first separated from 10 grams of night soil by hand and then weighed. The total weight of all the seeds was 0.2 grams, so not a very hefty sample size. These seeds were evaluated under a stereomicroscope to make sure what we picked out were actually seeds, and were counted. The total number of seeds from this sample was 174 seeds – that’s about .001 of a gram for each seed. To test whether these seeds germinate, we will be using two experimental methods. The first method is a simpler experiment, like one that you might try as an elementary school experiment – this follows some of the thinking for an experiment I tried with Lima beans in third grade! Several seeds will be placed in between some damp paper towels, which will then be placed on a plate, and sealed into a plastic bag. This bag will then be placed somewhere warm, like on top of a refrigerator, and will be checked periodically to see whether some of the seeds germinate. The sealed plastic bag will allow the moisture and humidity inside the bag to stay constant, however after a week or so, these paper towels will be replaced with new moist paper towels both to prevent mold, germinated seeds from attaching to the paper towel, and to increase the humidity inside the bag periodically. These methods are adapted from this article from the SFGate Home Guides Website, however many modes of basic seed germination follow steps similar to these.

Man digging up seeds for viability experiment, likely H. T. Darlington. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.
Man digging up seeds for viability experiment, likely H. T. Darlington. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

The second method is one that is more scientifically rigorous, and includes following methods that are used in Beal’s famous seed longevity experiment. Beal’s experiment essentially asks the question of how long can a seed lie dormant before it cannot germinate. This experiment is in its 137th year, with the next experiment occurring in 2020. The previous testing year for the Beal seed experiment reported three species as germinating, with around a 46% success rate for one species, a 2% success rate from a second species, and a 4% success rate for the third species (Telewski 2002). CAP is working under the assumption that the privy was likely damaged in the 1876 fire that destroyed Saints Rest, making these seeds 3 years older than the Beal seeds.

My experiment includes placing approximately 50 seeds in a growth chamber for a specified day/night cycle, humidity, and temperature. The seeds themselves are placed in a pre-determined soil mixture and kept in damp soil. The seeds will be checked periodically to see if germination occurred, and to keep the soil damp. Following the methods used for Beal’s experiment will not provide an opportunity to test their methods, but is also an homage to the man who provided a lot MSU’s more interesting early history.

Several scientists around the world have been able to germinate seeds from prehistoric contexts (Sallon 2008, Yashina 2012). Archaeologists in the United States have found seeds in historic privy excavations however, germination experiments have not been attempted because they are generally larger assemblages with a variety of species and a greater importance has been placed on determining the species present (Trigg 2011, Meyers 2011, Beaudry 2010, Dudek 1998). If these seeds germinate, it would be an interesting addition to the germination of seeds well past their prime.

Stay tuned for updates as the experiment progresses!

Resources:

MSU Archives & Historical Collections:
– Madison Kuhn Collection Volume 82, Folder 11, Box 2531, Collection IA 17.107 (Records for July 1870).
– UA 1 State Board of Agriculture/Board of Trustee Records. Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes Notes: 1875

Meyers, Ciana Faye, 2011. The Marketplace of Boston: Macrobotanical Remains from Faneuil Hall. Thesis.

Beaudry, M. C, 2010. Privy to the feast: eighty to supper tonight. Table Settings: The Material Culture and Social Context of Dining in the Old and New Worlds AD, pp. 1700-1900.

Dudek, Martin G., Lawrence Kaplan, and Marie Mansfield King, 1998. Botanical Remains from a Seventeenth-Century Privy at the Cross Street Back Lot Site. Historical Archaeology, pp. 63-71.

Meyers, Ciana Faye, 2011. The Marketplace of Boston: Macrobotanical Remains from Faneuil Hall. Thesis.

Sallon, Sarah, Elaine Solowey, Yuval Cohen, Raia Korchinsky, Markus Egli, Ivan Woodhatch, Orit Simchoni, and Modechai Kislev, 2008. Germination, Genetics, and Growth of an Ancient Date Seed. Science 5882(320), pp. 1464.

Telewski, FW and JAD Zeevaart, 2002. The 120-yr period for Dr. Beal’s seed viability experiment. American Journal of Botany, 89(8), pp. 1285-1288.

Trigg, Heather, Susan Jacobucci, and Marisa D. Patalano, 2011. Parasitological and Macrobotanical Analyses of a Late 18th Century Privy, Portsmouth New Hampshire.

Yashina, Svetlana, Stanislav Gubin, Stanislav Maksimovich, Alexandra Yashina, Edith Gakhova, and David Gilichinsky, 2012. Regeneration of whole fertile plants from 30,000 y-old fruit tissue buried in Siberian permafrost. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(10) pp. 4008-4013.

How to Germinate with Paper Towels. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/germinate-paper-towels-22813.html

 

Mabel, Take a Bow: Piecing Together the Biography of a Doll

Mabel, Take a Bow: Piecing Together the Biography of a Doll

If you follow us on Twitter, read this post about 3D printing, or if you came to the Apparitions and Archaeology tour last fall, you may have heard about Mabel, the undisputed star of 2015 CAP excavations. During the excavation of the historic privy on […]