Thank you Autumn Painter, outgoing Campus Archaeologist: As we say goodbye to outgoing Campus Archaeologist Autumn Painter who, in her two years in the position, continued CAP’s legacy of creative outreach, education, and mitigation while also profoundly shaping the future of the program, we welcome …
To celebrate world anthropology day, the current CAP graduate fellows wanted to share how they became interested in anthropology, and some current or favorite projects they are involved in! Grace: As a first-year PhD student moving to a new state and school, I initially came …
This year we have two undergraduate interns working in the Campus Archaeology Program lab. These two students both attended the summer 2019 archaeological field school. Below you can read a little more about them!
Reid Ellefson-Frank is an undergraduate student at MSU working towards a degree in archaeology. He grew up visiting Lynne Goldstein’s field schools and public outreach archaeology events. A decade later he finds himself inside the Campus Archaeology Program that ran the events he enjoyed as a child. He is primarily interested in the archaeology of the destruction of buildings, both on the boarder between Wales and England, and in Eastern Europe in Jewish villages that experienced pogroms. He is accompanied by his service dog Llywelyn, who remains constantly disappointed that he is not allowed to chew on any of the bones found during excavation or being catalogued in the lab.
Alexis (Lexi) Cupp is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Department of Anthropology with a minor in environmental health and environmental sustainability studies. In the summer of 2019, she partook in the Campus Archaeology Field school where she developed an interest in Archaeology and the history of Michigan State’s campus. This is her first year participating in the Campus Archaeology internship program. She looks forward to engaging with the public through the haunted tour of MSU and is excited to showcase her research at various symposiums. She enjoys learning about history and hopes to incorporate her knowledge of the environment and society to examine the relationships between humans and their environment spatiotemporally.
Benjamin Akey: Benjamin (they/them/theirs) is a first-year doctoral student and graduate research assistant studying historical archaeology. They received their BA in Anthropology from University of California Santa Cruz in 2018, where they focused on the performance and negotiation of class and ethnic identities through patterns …
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.
On this World Anthropology Day, I am doing archaeology, but differently than I have done it in the past. I am going to retire this year – I still plan to do archaeology, but will no longer be teaching or digging. This shift in focus means that I have a lot of things to wrap up, as well as new projects to plan – it is important to organize our data and information so that others can carry on and go in new directions. For Campus Archaeology, I am trying to make sure that I leave new Director Stacey Camp with a program that is well organized, with few loose ends. For other projects, I am trying to accomplish much the same outcome. When we think about doing archaeology, we often think about the active parts – digging, analyzing artifacts, organizing data. All of those parts are critical, but the part that takes the longest is synthesizing, interpreting, and writing. When done well, these tasks are perhaps the most rewarding, if not always as much fun as digging and looking at cool artifacts. As you can see in the posts below, all of us at MSU Campus Archaeology are spending World Anthropology Day doing anthropology in very different ways. However, given that we are in Michigan, none of us are outside digging today.
My career in archaeology started when I enrolled in an archaeological field school as an undergraduate. The field school was in Ireland, and it was my first opportunity to travel abroad. There, I learned basic archaeological skills, such as how to excavate a unit, how to identify and date historic artifacts, and how to operate a transit used to map archaeological sites. I was fascinated by Ireland’s rich but contested history, and wanted to find a way to get back there after the field school ended. I applied for a competitive grant and received it, which allowed me to spend three months traveling around Ireland to analyze and interpret the presentation of Ireland’s prehistory at heritage sites and museums. It was a formative moment in my career, one that took me out of my comfort zone and gave me the chance to experience what it was like to do independent research in a foreign country. Since then, I have continued to examine sites with nuanced, dark pasts, ones that tell stories of racism and inequality so often ignored in the history books. My current research looks at the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and I hoping to expand this project to look at how individuals of Japanese heritage were treated in other countries during World War II.
My research focuses on the health and nutrition of individuals buried in a later 19th/early 20th century indigent cemetery in San Jose, California. This cemetery is associated with the county hospital, and construction of a new hospital building in 2011 necessitated the exhumation of over 1,000 individuals in the path of the construction. This cemetery presents a rare opportunity to study the lives of individuals in Santa Clara County during this time period as few large historic cemeteries have been excavated in the United States. The information that can be gained from the study of this collection will inform social scientists on the health, social status, demographic makeup, and medical practices encountered by this population. Specifically, the people buried at this cemetery were members of lower socio-economic communities, represented by many different ethic backgrounds. My dissertation research examines the impact of public health policy, and issues of institutional/structural violence on the health outcomes of these individuals.
My research revolves around how humans interact with food and the ceramic vessels they crafted to cook, serve, and store food. Food is a biological need but is also inherently social, tied closely to our daily routines and cultural traditions. Pottery was crafted by people for the purposes of cooking, storage, and serving, both for in the home and in public contexts. The shape and other physical properties of vessels provide insight into which function a vessel was made to serve, while alterations to pottery vessels provides clues to how people used them. Both food choice and ceramic vessel form and style indicate social relationships and are subject to change over time in response to environmental, social, and/or political changes.
I study diet and pottery use of pre-European contact Indigenous groups in the Upper Great Lakes of North America. Specifically, I am looking for possible changes in food and cooking habits through time at the Cloudman site in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which was occupied from AD 100 to AD 1600. My dissertation explores these topics through burned food residue patterns (which can indicate cooking styles) and examination of food residues for microscopic plant remains and chemical signatures of plants and animals. Ultimately, I hope to understand the how and why the occupants of the Cloudman site made subsistence decisions in the context of environmental and social factors.
Happy World Anthropology Day! My name is Autumn Painter and I study foodways in the prehistoric Midwest. My current research looks at the Morton Village site, located in west-central Illinois. This site was occupied contemporaneously by both local Mississippian people and Oneota migrants, and is an excellent case study to learn about subsistence strategies, social interaction, and food sharing. I specifically focus on analyzing animal (faunal) remains to answer my research questions.
My name is Jeff Painter and my research examines migration and social interaction in the late prehistoric Midwest. Specifically, I focus on Morton Village, located in west-central Illinois, as a case study. This site was occupied contemporaneously by both local Mississippian people and Oneota migrants, and was an excellent example of post-migration social interaction. At this site, as well as at a comparative Oneota site in Wisconsin and another Mississippian site from west-central Illinois, I examine cooking practices and the context of cooking to examine how food practices changed due to migration and the role these practices played in negotiating life in this multi-ethnic community.
My name is Jack Biggs and I am a 4th year anthropology graduate student at Michigan State University. I am a physical anthropologist and bioarchaeologist and my research interests are human growth and development and the impacts that the outside world has on these processes. Specifically, I focus on ancient Maya social constructs of infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and how factors such as diet, social structure, and the ecosystem interplay to eventually create a fully realized member of adult Maya society. I am currently on staff for the Central Belize Archaeological Survey (CBAS) where I co-direct excavations at mortuary rockshelters in the Caves Branch River Valley in Central Belize.
My research applies elements of anthropology and engineering to help explain trauma in the human skeleton. Both extrinsic factors—related to forces placed on the body—and intrinsic factors—characteristics of the body that are subject to human variation—contribute to how bones break. My research uses engineering experiments, computer modeling, and anthropological knowledge of human variation in the skeleton to better understand how these factors interact to generate fracture patterns. Understanding how bones break is critical to interpreting patterns of skeletal trauma as accurately as possible.
Unlike historical records or witness accounts, skeletal injuries provide direct evidence of traumatic events. Skeletal trauma observed in archaeological remains can be placed within a cultural context to explore human behaviors across time and space. In forensic contexts, skeletal trauma provides key evidence in reconstructing specific events responsible for injuries. This is important in individual cases involving violent deaths, and in the context of investigating human rights violations.
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 …
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 …
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). All of our student workers are off doing other things, so our lab is pretty quiet right now. Field work is also on hold since construction projects are in their final phases, in an attempt to be completed before school begins. However, when I realized that this was the last Day of Archaeology, I felt compelled to write something since I am also coming to the end of a project.
I created and direct the Michigan State University Campus Archaeology Program (MSU CAP), and as of May 2018, I will be retiring from the University (although not from archaeology). The job of directing and administering MSU CAP will go to Dr. Stacey Camp, who has just arrived in East Lansing so that we can overlap for a year. MSU CAP is in very capable hands, and I am confident that the program will not only survive, but thrive. We will do a blog post welcoming and more completely introducing Stacey later in August.
Historic archaeology in general, and campus archaeology in particular, were never my primary research interests. But career paths are rarely straight, and I have found that one does best taking advantage of opportunities along the way. Given this, I have conducted excavations of several large and small historic cemeteries across the U.S., and I created this campus program, which is primarily (although not exclusively) focused on historic sites.
I thought that a campus-focused program would be good for a number of reasons (beyond being able to sleep in my own bed each night), but found that there were even more reasons than I had anticipated. Here are a few of them:
- Doing archaeology on campus raises awareness of archaeology and the fact that sites are everywhere, and that campus histories do not tell the complete story. We see ourselves as educating a large community (students, faculty staff, alumni, the general public) on the importance and value of archaeology.
- Students and staff are more likely to get involved and excited when the sites being excavated are something they can directly relate to, and developing an appreciation for and learning more about the history of the campus is good for everyone.
- Campus Archaeology has changed attitudes and approaches of the upper administration of the campus, as well as the workers. Physical plant employees have told us that working with CAP has definitely made their jobs more interesting.
- Running a field school on campus (which we generally do every other year) allows students who cannot go on an expedition elsewhere the chance to learn archaeological methods and techniques. Some students cannot afford to go elsewhere, others have family commitments that constrain their opportunities.
- In addition to training students in archaeological methods like every archaeological field school does, we also train students in archival research and to work with construction crews, staff, administration, etc. This additional training that our undergrad interns and graduate student fellows receive helps them get into graduate school and get better jobs. They have a kind of training that few others receive; they all also get extensive training in public outreach and engagement.
- Social media has allowed a very small program to have a very large reach – we regularly engage with archaeologists and the public around the world. Students are trained in conducting such engagement, including writing regular blog posts.
- Studying the history of higher education – particularly the land grant schools – through archaeology is fascinating, reflects larger changes in the overall culture, and is an area that has not been widely examined archaeologically. Each graduate fellow focuses their individual project on a different aspect of this history.
I feel privileged to have been able to create and direct this program, and I have to thank Michigan State University for its generous and enthusiastic support. Will I miss doing this? Of course, but it is also time to move on the next phase. I love Day of Archaeology because – ona single day – we can see what kinds of things archaeologists are doing all over the world. We are learning a lot about our past, with some clear possibilities for future directions if we listen.
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. Desiree Quinn: Hi! My …