2017 Year in Review

I know what you’re thinking.  “But Lisa, it’s only December 18th, 2017 isn’t over yet!”  And while that’s true, here at MSU finals week is over and the winter break has begun.  That means CAP fellows are taking much needed break and regular weekly blogging will be on hiatus until Tuesday January 9th.  2017 has been an exceptionally busy year here at CAP and here are a few of the highlights.

Upcoming CAP director change:

As I’m sure you’ve read, our fearless leader Dr. Lynne Goldstein will be retiring this spring.  Fortunately the department was able to hire her replacement, Dr. Stacey Camp with a year of overlap.  Dr. Camp will take over as CAP director in May 2018.

Food Reconstruction Project:

CAP fellows Autumn Painter and Susan Kooiman worked on our 1860s meal reconstruction project – Capturing Campus Cuisine.  This project has helped inform us on early food procurement, cooking choices, and food systems during early campus years.  The first phase of the project culminated in the interactive website and with the help of MSU food services and the MSU bakery, we hosted a meal reconstruction event last April.

Outreach Events:

This year we’ve participated in outreach events including:

2017 CAP Field School:

From May 30th – June 30th CAP hosted it’s biannual on campus field school.  This year students excavated at the site of Station Terrace. Students excavated six 2×2 meter units that included areas outside of the building, and inside of the foundation.  Check out the recap blog post to learn more about each of the units.

Summer field crew excavations:

In anticipation of the Wilson road realignment, the CAP field crew excavated over 300 test pits! Although they excavated in several other locations around campus, the larger area impacted by the upcoming road realignment meant that much of the summer was spent investigating areas surrounding Wilson road.

These are just some of the larger projects we’ve completed over the past year.  This doesn’t include all of the hard work our individual CAP fellows and undergrad interns have put into their ongoing projects.  We’ve got some really exciting projects and events lined up for 2018 so stay tuned!

Close Only Counts in Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Horseshoe from Brody/Emmons Complex site.

Horseshoe from Brody/Emmons Complex site.

No, I’ll stop any speculation; we haven’t uncovered any hand grenades (think of how much paperwork that would be!). But we do have a horseshoe. Now you might be saying, so what? You’ve surely recovered horseshoes before. And yes, that’s true. We have found full and partial horseshoes at a number of locations around campus. However, this horseshoe from the Brody/Emmons Complex (site of East Lansing’s first landfill) never saw a horses hoof. This horseshoe was made specifically for gaming.

Although much of archaeological evidence relates to the more routine portions of life, such as cooking, hunting, or household structure, archaeologists have also found evidence of sports and gaming. Artifacts that are believed to be associated with games have been found all over the world, such as these 5,000 year old gaming tokens from Turkey, or evidence of Pre-Columbian ball courts. CAP, however, has not uncovered many sports or game related artifacts.

Men playing horseshoes circa. 1942. Image source.

Men playing horseshoes circa. 1942. Image source.

Horseshoes is an outdoors game played between two people, or two teams of two people, using four horseshoes and two targets (stakes) set up in a lawn or sandbox area. Players alternate turns tossing horseshoes at stakes in the ground, which as typically 40 feet apart. There are two ways to score: by throwing the horseshoes nearest to the stake, or by throwing “ringers”. A ringer is when the horseshoe has been thrown in a way that makes it completely encircle the stake. Disputes about the authenticity of a ringer is settled by using a straightedge to touch the end points of the horseshoe, called heel caulks. If the straightedge does not touch the stake, the throw is classified as a ringer.

1929 catalog featuring pitching horseshoes. Image source.

1929 catalog featuring pitching horseshoes. Image source.

It’s possible that this horseshoe was homemade/handmade, but they were also being sold in kits during the early 1900s.  Our horseshoe weights approximately 1 1/2 lbs, but rusting has resulted in some loss.  It is interesting to note that the pitching horseshoe catalog entry on the right sells different weights for men’s pitching horseshoes and women’s pitching horseshoes.  Since our horseshoe is close to the 1 3/4 lb weight range, it’s possible that this horseshoe was meant to be used by women.  Additionally it’s also possible that this horseshoe simply did not meet regulation standards for size and weight requirements.

Horseshoes diagram. Image source.

Horseshoes diagram. Image source.

A 1940s beer advertisement showcasing a family playing horseshoes. Image source.

A 1940s beer advertisement showcasing a family playing horseshoes. Image source.

The first formal rules for the game were established in England in 1869. However the first recorded tournament in the United States wasn’t until 1909 in Bronson, Kansas. Though the popularity of horseshoes had faded some, yard games are easy to spot today at MSU, especially on game days and at tailgates. Games like corn hole (aka bag toss, sack toss, baggo, and many other regional variations of the name) and ladder toss are easy to spot, but a  horseshoe pit is slightly more illusive these days.  Although we’ll never know why someone decided to throw away this horseshoe, we’re happy to have found it.  This artifact provides an interesting viewpoint into East Lansing’s past.

 

References:

http://www.wowhorses.com/horseshoe-sizes-chart.html#.WiloUbQ-cWo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoes

http://www.horseshoepitching.com/

 

 

 

 

 

In Sickness and Health: Dr. Sage’s Catarrh Remedy Bottle

Dr. Sage's medicine bottle from Saints Rest.

Dr. Sage’s medicine bottle from Saints Rest.

Today the non-prescription medicine we can buy at the drug store is heavily regulated yet readily available. But in the 19th century patent medicine was dominant. Patent medicines are proprietary (i.e. secret formula) mixtures that were unregulated, advertised widely and sold directly to the public. The popularity of the patent medicine industry is tied to issues with the 19th century medical industry. Qualified doctors were sparse and expensive. Medical knowledge was also undergoing profound changes during the 1800s. Prior to the 1880s most people subscribed to the miasmic theory of disease transmission. It held that diseases like cholera or the Black Death were caused by poisonous vapors or mists (called miasmas). According to the theory, illness was not passed between people, but would only impact people that were near a miasma. In the 1870s and 1880s the work of Joseph Lister and Robert Koch were instrumental in moving the germ theory of disease forward (1,2).

A family member relying on home remedies, the recipes for which were often found in cookbooks, generally provided routine health care.  However treating many of the terrible diseases that became widespread during the 19th century (typhoid, yellow fever, cholera) were beyond the skills of the average citizen. The fear of these diseases directly resulted in the incredible success of the patent medicine industry. Medicine became big business and entrepreneurs began selling all manner of completely unregulated medicine. During the 19th century any drug could be included in the formulas (like Heroin cough suppressant or cocaine toothache drops!), and any claim about the benefits and effectiveness of the medicine could be made.

Dr. Sage's Catarrh Remedy ad. Image Source.

Dr. Sage’s Catarrh Remedy ad. Image Source.

Our patent medicine bottle was recovered from the Saints Rest dormitory during excavations in 2012. As a quick reminder, Saints Rest was the first dormitory on campus and it unfortunately burned to the ground in December of 1876. This small square bottle is embossed on four sides and reads: “Dr Sage’s”, “Catarrh Remedy”, “Dr. Pierce Propr”, “Buffalo”. So what’s the story with this bottle you might ask?

Catarrh is an excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat – i.e. a very very stuffy nose with drainage. Today we would think of this condition as a symptom of a cold or allergy. The bottles sold for 50 cents (3). 

Figure 12 from “The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser”, illustrating use of Dr. Pierce's Nasal Douche. Image Source.

Figure 12 from “The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser”, illustrating use of Dr. Pierce’s Nasal Douche. Image Source.

The directions for use were published in newspaper advertisements as well as Dr. Pierce’s immensely popular book “The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser”, which was essentially an advertisement for his various patent medicines. This book sold millions of copies and included patient testimonials touting the near-miraculous cures provided by his medicine. The Catarrh Remedy could be administered in several ways. After the powder was mixed with water, it could be snorted. Or, it is recommended that the best way to ensure that the remedy reaches all impacted areas is via hydrostatic pressure by means of Dr. Pierce’s Nasal Douche. Yes, a nasal douche.  Think of it as the great grandfather of todays neti pot. The nose is first flushed out with a saline solution, and then the Catarrh remedy fluid (4). Dr. Pierce’s remedies dominated the patent medicine market. Pierce was a master of marketing, using newspapers, broadsides, and billboards to saturate the market (5).

Advertisement for Dr. Pierces Family Medicines. Dr. Sage's Catarrh Remedy can be seen. Image Source.

Advertisement for Dr. Pierces Family Medicines. Dr. Sage’s Catarrh Remedy can be seen. Image Source.

By the beginning of the 20th century blind faith in patent medicine was beginning to waiver. A scathing exposé series, “The Great American Fraud“, was published in Colliers Magazine in 1905-1906.  The journalist, Samuel Hopkins Adams, revealed the dubious practices of the patent medicine industry, and highlighted the many shocking ingredients (6).  These articles created an immense public backlash and helped pave the way for the 1906 Pure Food & Drug Act.  The patent medicine industry, spearheaded by Dr. Pierce, fought viscously against the legislation, but eventually lost the battle.  The 1906 act dealt a substantial blow to patent medicine.  While it did not outlaw the use of alcohol or opiates in the products, the new labeling laws meant that consumers were no longer kept in the dark.  Sales of patent medicine declined rapidly (1).

This tiny bottle tells quite an interesting story that provides a glimpse into the everyday life of an early M.A.C. student.  Perhaps he suffered from allergies brought about by the abundant campus plants, or had contracted a severe head cold while out pilfering fruit from the orchard. Either way it’s a fun peek into the medicine cabinets of the past.

References:

  1. http://www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org/pdf/Patent_Medicine.pdf
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germ_theory_of_disease
  3. The Current Publishing Company. July 23, 1887. No. 188: page 128.
  4.  Dr. Pierce “The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser” 1895. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18467/18467-h/advise.html
  5. https://www.nyheritage.org/collections/nickell-collection-dr-rv-pierce-medical-artifacts
  6. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/44325/44325-h/44325-h.htm

Jumbo Peanut Butter: Good Enuf for Me

Peanut butter is a staple of the average American kitchen.   It’s a favorite in the lunch boxes of school age children, college students, and archaeologist’s in the field. And although the peanut has been widely cultivated for a long time, peanut butter as we know it today only dates to the late 1800s. In 1895 John Harvey Kellogg (yes that’s Kellogg) applied for a U.S. patent for a nut butter made from peanuts or almonds. By 1896 the Kellogg Company was producing nut butter on a small scale. By the turn of the century peanut butter was fairly widely available from commercial sources, as it gained popularity following the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. By 1922 there’s even a National Peanut Butter Manufacturers Association (Shurtleff and Aoyagi 2015).

Jumbo Peanut Butter Jar from Brody/Emmons complex.

Jumbo Peanut Butter Jar from Brody/Emmons complex.

There’s a single peanut butter jar recovered from the Brody/Emmons amphitheater excavations: Frank’s Tea & Spice Company Jumbo Peanut Butter. In 1896, Jacob, Emil, and Charles Frank founded the Frank Tea & Spice Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company originally sold small, shelf-size packages of whole and ground spices. They later expanded their offerings to tea, spices, peanut butter, and olives (American Jewish Archive). However, their most famous and most enduring product was Frank’s RedHot® hot sauce, first produced in 1920 (www.franksredhot.com). Unfortunately this jar doesn’t have any makers mark or date stamps.  The overall construction of the jar, and the date range of the other artifacts recovered from the Brody/Emmons complex suggests that this jar is from the 1930s.

Information about their Jumbo brand peanut butter is spotty. We know that the Frank Tea & Spice Company applied for a trademark on the world “Jumbo” in 1927 (Shurtleff and Aoyagi 2015). So, why Jumbo peanut butter? To unwrap this decision, we need to look to the elephant on the jar.

Jumbo and his caretaker. Image source.

Jumbo and his caretaker. Image source.

Well, today jumbo as a word is part of every day speech – a word to describe something that is large. Merriam-Webster notes that the first use of the word was only in 1883. That’s because the common use of the word comes from Jumbo the Elephant. Jumbo was the most famous elephant of the 19th century. He was sold to the London Zoo in 1865, and became famous for giving rides to visitors. Jumbo was fold in 1882 to Barnum & Bailey Circus, where he quickly became their most popular attraction. Jumbo was a beloved public figure and was featured on soda bottles, popcorn bags, matches, playing cards, puzzle, children’s toys, and even used as advertisement for tires and spark plugs (http://now.tufts.edu/articles/glory-was-jumbo).

Jumbo smoking tobacco ad. Image source.

Jumbo smoking tobacco ad. Image source.

Jumbo brings soap trade card. Image source.

Jumbo brings soap trade card. Image source.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jumbo at Coney Island. Image source.

Jumbo at Coney Island. Image source.

Advertisement to see Jumbo's skeleton at the circus. Image source.

Advertisement to see Jumbo’s skeleton at the circus. Image source.

Jumbo was killed in an unfortunate train accident in 1885, but that did not mark the end of his illustrious career. Barnum had his hide taxidermied and his skeleton mounted. The skeleton and mount traveled with the circus for years. Today the skeleton is at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The hide was donated to the P.T. Barnum Hall at Tufts’ University. Although the hide was unfortunately destroyed in a 1975 fire (Jumbo’s ashes are kept in a Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter Jar in the Tufts athletic director’s office), Jumbo remains the Tufts mascot. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo)

Jumbo peanut butter elephant shaped jar. Image source.

Jumbo peanut butter elephant shaped jar. Image source.

The fact that Jumbo had died more than 40 years before Jumbo Peanut Butter was produced speaks to the endurance of his legacy.  And the connection between elephants and peanuts.  Elephants don’t eat peanuts as part of their natural diets. However, roasted peanuts were popular fair at the circus, and were often purchased to feed elephants. So perhaps Frank’s Tea & Spice Company was playing on national nostalgia in naming their peanut butter Jumbo.  Although our jar only has an image of Jumbo, they also produced small jars in the shape of an elephant (wouldn’t that be fun to find!).

Jumbo Peanut Butter was also known for the eclectic sayings on the bottom of the jars including “Try Jumbo Peanut Butter Sandwiches”, “Best for the kiddies”, or like our jar says “Jumbo Good Enuf for Me”.

Bottom of Jumbo Peanut Butter jar from Brody/Emmons complex. Reads "Jumbo Good Enuf for Me".

Bottom of Jumbo Peanut Butter jar from Brody/Emmons complex. Reads “Jumbo Good Enuf for Me”.

When I started researching this peanut butter jar I never imagined I’d be learning about a famous elephant (but that’s what makes research fun!). Jumbo the elephant impacted many facets of history: rise of mass entertainment/pop culture, museums, advertisement, ever our lexicon.  To learn more about Jumbo, and the wild rumors P.T. Barnum concocted about his death, check out the information video produced by Tufts.

 

References:

https://www.tufts.edu/about/jumbo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo

http://now.tufts.edu/articles/glory-was-jumbo

https://www.animalanswers.co.uk/classes/mammals/elephant-myths-busted/

Elephants shaped jar: https://i.pinimg.com/236x/21/1f/3a/211f3a60888660aa1849f6533a9d989d–antique-glassware-vintage-kitchenware.jpg

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jumbo?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld

William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi. 2015. Origin and early history of peanut butter (1884-2015): Extensively annotated bibliography and sourcebook. Soyinfo Center.

Jumbo and care taker”: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/02/05/article-2552606-1B14452D00000578-388_634x589.jpg

Jumbo at coney island: http://www.heartofconeyisland.com/uploads/5/1/5/8/51585031/8778343_orig.jpg

Jumbo skeleton: http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/ohiomemory/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/jumbo4.jpg

Jumbo trade card: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/soapona-ordered-this-anthropomorphic-trade-card-news-photo/93302350?esource=SEO_GIS_CDN_Redirect#soapona-ordered-this-anthropomorphic-trade-card-capitalizing-on-the-picture-id93302350

Jumbo tobacco: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/27/4c/bd/274cbdf9cfdbd25ae60362476a0c4e4c–lettering-art-advertising-signs.jpg

http://americanjewisharchives.org/exhibits/aje/details.php?id=526

 

 

Oriental Show-You Bottle: Soy Sauce from the Brody/Emmons Dump

"Oriental Show-You" bottle from Emmons Amphitheater.

“Oriental Show-You” bottle from Emmons Amphitheater

This semester two of the CAP undergrad interns are re-examining bottles recovered from the Brody Hall/Emmons Amphitheater area.  Way back in 2009 and 2011 construction around the dorms revealed many historic bottles.  That’s because, as Mari pointed out in her last post, the dormitory complex is built above the old East Lansing city landfill.  One bottle from the Emmons Amphitheater area caught my attention.  This brown octagonal bottle was embossed “Oriental Show-You”, a early 20th century soy sauce.  Show-You is a play on the Japanese word for soy sauce; shoyu (醤油).

Today soy sauce is common place in many American refrigerators, sitting right along side our ketchup and mustard. Although soy products are varied and plentiful today, soy sauce is the best known product made from the soy bean.  However, to begin to understand how soy sauce became an everyday product in America (or how to unfold how a soy sauce bottle may have come to East Lansing in the 1920s), it’s necessary to take a step back and talk about Chinese cuisine.  Now you might be thinking, but wait you just said that the soy sauce company name was based on a Japanese word, why are we talking about Chinese food?  Well, to begin to understand soy sauce, you need to think about Chop Suey.

Close up of bottle embossing, "Oriental Show-You"

Close up of bottle embossing, “Oriental Show-You”

"Oriental Show-You" bottle base

“Oriental Show-You” bottle base

Japanese food/restaurants are common parts of the American palate today.  You can go to most any larger grocery store and buy prepared sushi. Packaged ramen is a mainstay of the American college student diet and budget (last year the U.S. consumed over 4 billion servings of instant noodles).  However, Japanese food didn’t gain widespread popularity in the U.S. until the 1980s.

Chinese cuisine, however, gained its foothold at the turn of the 20th century with the emergency of Chop Suey joints.  Chop Suey is composed of celery, bean sprouts, and meat simmered in a tasty brown sauce and served over rice.  Although its exact origin is clouded in mystery (stories have Chinese chefs in both San Francisco and New York inventing it), the dishes’ popularity quickly grew and the fad spread across the country.  Like many popular Chinese dishes in the United States, this particular dish wasn’t actually Chinese.  However, adaptation of Chinese cooking to American palates was crucial in the proliferation and popularization of Chinese cuisine in the U.S., and it worked!  Today, according to the Chinese American Restaurant Association, there are over 45,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. (time.com).

Cover of Oriental Show-You recipe book, circa early 1920s. Recipe book owned by MSU Special Collections.

Cover of Oriental Show-You recipe book, circa early 1920s. Recipe book owned by MSU Special Collections.

In 1918 the Oriental Show-You Company was founded in Detroit by Shinzo Ohki, a recent immigrant from Japan. The company began by importing shoyu (soy sauce) and tea from China.  In 1922 Mr. Ohki traveled back to Japan to learn the traditional natural fermentation method of making shoyu.  After returning to the U.S. (later that year) he moved his business to Columbia City, Indiana.  By 1924 he was bottling his own brand of shoyu, along with canned mung bean sprouts, chow mein noodles, chop suey, and Jigg’s corn beef and cabbage (Shurtleff & Aoyago 2012).  The company was making 12,000 gallons of shoyu a year, which was mostly sold in the Midwest and only east of the Mississippi River (Yates 1998:775). At it’s peak the company was making 30,000 gallons of soy sauce per year. The factory closed in the early 1960s when the company was acquired by Beatrice Food Inc, later becoming a part of La Choy food products. (Shurtleff & Aoyago 2012).

Recipe for chop suey from early 1920s Oriental Show-You book. Book owned by MSU Special Collections.

Recipe for chop suey from early 1920s Oriental Show-You book. Book owned by MSU Special Collections.

Oriental Show-You sauce wasn’t originally marketed as soy sauce, because the average American consumer didn’t know what soy sauce was at the time.  It was marketed both as chop suey sauce, and a sauce that could be used in many American dishes. Although we at CAP agree, we’re not sure how well soy sauce worked in fruit salad.

Fruit Salad recipe from Oriental Show-You recipe book circa late 1920s. Book owned by MSU Special Collections.

Fruit Salad recipe from Oriental Show-You recipe book circa late 1920s. Book owned by MSU Special Collections.

We don’t have a precise date on our bottle, but it’s likely from 1919-1929 since it has an Owen’s machine production suction scar (SHA).  So, what does the presence of this bottle tell us about life in East Lansing at this time?  Although the Oriental Show-You company was sold mostly in Asian grocery stores (Shurtleff & Akkiko 2012), it was also being marketed to American oriented grocery stores and housewives. So although cooking Chinese cuisine at home didn’t become common in most American kitchens until the 1950s (Mendelson 2016), it’s possible that this bottle originated from many different types of households.  Either way, this bottle is an interesting peak into the Americanization of international cuisine, and life in early 20th century East Lansing.

 

Sources:

http://time.com/4211871/chinese-food-history/

https://sha.org/bottle/machinemadedating.htm

History of Soy Sauce – 160 CE – 2012 compiled by William Shurtleff & Akkiko Aoyago Soyinfo Center 2012

Yates, Ronald 1998 History of Oriental Show-You Co. in Columbia City, Indiana in The Kikkoman Chronics.

Mendelson, Anne. 2016 Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey.

(http://oiss.isp.msu.edu/about/statistics.htm)

http://instantnoodles.org/en/noodles/market.html

Oriental “Show-You” Recipes – MSU Special Collections Rare Books (TX724.5.A1 O757 1920) and (TX724.5.A1 O757 1910)

 

Summer Field Crew Update: Wilson Road Realignment

For much of this summer the CAP field crew was busy surveying the area surrounding the East neighborhood (Akers, Fee, Hubbard, Conrad).  Beginning in March 2018 Wilson road will be altered, creating an additional exit onto Hagadorn, a traffic light on Shaw, as well as additional parking.

Wilson road extension planning. Image source

Wilson road extension planning. Image source.

The areas highlighted in green will all be changed/impacted by the construction. CAP had not previously excavated in this area so we were excited to see what was there.

Closeup from Michigan State University Land Acquisition map c. 1966. Source: MSU

Closeup from Michigan State University Land Acquisition map c. 1966. Source: MSU Library

Historically this area was part of the Biebesheimer farm.  The Biebesheimer family lived in the Ingham county area since the late 1860s (Adams 1923:379). A majority of the farm was sold to Michigan Agricultural College in 1925. However, the Biebesheimer and Roney (Mary Biebesheimer’s married name was Roney) families retained a portion of the original farm until the 1950’s. During the years the family owned/worked this farm land they uncovered several important prehistoric and contact era archaeological artifacts. The artifacts have been donated to the MSU museum and are housed in the Paul S. Roney collection.

The construction of the river trail neighborhood (McDonel, Owen, Shaw, Van Hoosen) and east neighborhood began in the mid 1960s (although the grouping of these buildings into neighborhoods is a much more recent university initiative).  So although these buildings, roads, and parking lots of a much more recent timeframe than the areas of campus we are typically called upon to investigate, it is important to remember that we are also charged with preserving and documenting the entire history of the area. So we set out to determine if anything prior to the campus development remained undisturbed. We were looking for signs of both the farm and prehistoric sites.

So we conducted a survey and excavated shovel test pits along the entire green highlighted area in the above map. A shovel test pit is a hole, typically dug by a shovel, that is roughly 2 times the width of the shovel head with a goal of a 1 meter depth.

CAP field crew excavates shovel test pits in IM East field.

CAP field crew excavates shovel test pits in IM East field.

Jeff and Autumn Painter document a shovel test pit in the IM East field along Wilson road.

Jeff and Autumn Painter document a shovel test pit in the IM East field along Wilson road.

Jeff and Autumn Painter excavate a test pit in front of Conrad Hall.

Jeff and Autumn Painter excavate a test pit in front of Conrad Hall.

Becca Albert and Jasmine Smith excavate a test pit in the Vet Med field.

Becca Albert and Jasmine Smith excavate a test pit in the Vet Med field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The field crew excavate test pits in the IM East field.

The field crew excavate test pits in the IM East field.

Autumn and Jeff Painter excavate a test pit between lot 32 and the tennis courts.

Autumn and Jeff Painter excavate a test pit between lot 32 and the tennis courts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The field crew dug 312 shovel test pits for the Wilson road realignment.  Unfortunately much of the area was comprised of highly compact soil, resulting in some difficult conditions for the field crew.  Additionally, only 90 of the test pits had any cultural material (artifacts).  Most of which were recent objects near the top third of the test pit.  The most surprising elements were probably the animals the crew encountered.

A pesky woodchuck infiltrates the field site.

A pesky woodchuck infiltrates the field site.

Autumn Painter got to meet a horse being treated by the MSU Large Animal Clinic.

Autumn Painter got to meet a horse being treated by the MSU Large Animal Clinic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What these weeks of hard work tell us is that the area is highly disturbed.  Any intact deposits are likely much deeper than we could get with the test pits.  It’s also important to remember that the absence of artifacts also tells the specific story of that area.  Once construction begins in March 2018 we will monitor the parking lot and road demolition, and likely excavate additional test pits once the ground surfaces have been removed.

 

Sources:

Adams, Franc L. Pioneer History of Ingham County Volume 1 Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Company: Lansing Michigan. 1923

 

 

 

2017 Field School Recap: Station Terrace

Stone wall from Station Terrace basement

Stone foundation wall uncovered by 2016 survey.

The 2017 Campus Archaeology field school is done! This year the field school ran from May 30th – June 30th.  The goal for this field school was to excavate at the site of Station Terrace. CAP surveyed this area in 2016 ahead of the Abbot Entrance rejuvenation project. One of our test pits uncovered a stone foundation, so we opened up a 2 meter x 2 meter test unit to investigate further.  The stone wall started almost 1 meter below the ground surface, and terminated just over 2 meters below ground surface.  The east side of the wall was filled with large boulders, but had a cement floor (including a pair of men’s shoes!), leading us to believe that this was likely the interior of the building.  The west side of the wall contained a large area of burnt material and cultural debris – including the complete Sanford library paste jar.  There were also two large ceramic pipes running along the bottom of the foundation wall.

Sanford's Library Paste Jar discovered at Station Terrace - Image Source: Lisa Bright

Sanford’s Library Paste Jar discovered at Station Terrace – Image Source: Lisa Bright

Even with extensive research there was still many things we still didn’t know about Station Terrace.  We don’t know the exact construction date (it’s sometime between 1890-1895), no blue prints have been found, and although we know generally what the building was used for (extension faculty housing, bachelor faculty housing, East Lansing post office, trolley waiting room, Flower Pot tea room) the details remained elusive.  So, it was decided that the 2017 field school would excavate more of Station Terrace. Thankfully IPF was incredibly helpful this year, and had a backhoe remove the first 2 1/2 – 3 feet of overburden and dig OSHA compliant terracing around the site.

We had a small group of students this year but much was accomplished.  A total of six units were excavated.

Unit A

Unit A was placed with the unit’s west wall along the building foundation.  This unit also slightly overlapped with the 2016 test pit in the northwest corner.  In addition to more of the foundation wall (including a corner), a concentration of large boulder debris, Kaleigh and Josh uncovered the ceramic pipes along the foundation base, and hit more of the burn feature.

Josh Eads and Kaleigh Perry work to excavate under the large ceramic pipes located along the foundation wall in Unit A.

Josh Eads and Kaleigh Perry work to excavate under the large ceramic pipes located along the foundation wall in Unit A.

Unit A West Wall - showing foundation wall, builders trench, and ceramic pipes.

Unit A West Wall – showing foundation wall, builders trench, and ceramic pipes.

Unit A North Wall - Amazing stratigraphy showing prior unit, burn feature, and fill.

Unit A North Wall – Amazing stratigraphy showing prior unit, burn feature, and fill.

Unit B

Unit B was placed at the southern end of the field school excavation area.  Though this unit did not hit any structural portion of the building, they had a dense layer of nails directly below a layer of clay, a brick concentration along the northern wall, and a large cement pad along the south wall.  The cement pad will require further research, but it’s possible that it is associated with the trolley.

Unit B south wall - large cement pad.

Unit B south wall – large cement pad.

Unit B west wall - brick concentration and gravel layer.

Unit B west wall – brick concentration and gravel layer.

Unit C

Unit C was placed near the eastern limit of the field school excavation.  This unit was closed early as it became apparent that a modern trench transected most of the unit, and there were very limited amounts of artifacts.

Unit C floor - modern trench disturbance visible.

Unit C floor – modern trench disturbance visible.

Unit D

Unit D was opened after Unit C was closed.  This required the manual removal of the extra over burden as the excavations in Unit’s A and B allowed us to target the interior of the building, as well as follow the corner of the wall in Unit A.  Unit D, excavated mainly by Jerica and Alex, had the foundation wall bisect the unit. The south side of the wall is likely a builders trench full of mostly sterile sand. The north side of the wall had many large boulders (likely wall fall from the building being moved). This side also had the cement floor and more intact artifacts closer to this floor; a complete Curtice Brothers ketchup bottle and part of a rubber boot were recovered. There was also a capped drain through the cement floor.

Unit D during excavation. Stone foundation wall and boulder fill.

Unit D during excavation. Stone foundation wall and boulder fill.

Unit D after excavation. The cement floor, foundation wall, and builders trench pictured.

Unit D after excavation. The cement floor, foundation wall, and builders trench pictured.

Unit E

Unit E was opened between Unit D and B to determine if any further structural components of the building were present. Unit E did hit the brick concentration found in Unit B, but artifacts were sparse so the unit was closed to concentrate on our units.

Unit E - brick concentration in upper left corner.

Unit E – brick concentration in upper left corner.

Unit F

Unit F, a 1×2 meter unit, was opened directly north of Unit D in order to investigate more of the building interior.  Unfortunately due to spacial restrictions from the road and newly planted trees limited areas additional units could be placed.  Similar to the northern portion of Unit D, Unit F encountered several large boulders and the cement floor. This unit also had several large artifacts, including a metal bucket and a coal shovel.

Unit F - large stones, in situ shovel.

Unit F – large stones, in situ shovel.

High school volunteer Spencer W holds the shovel from Unit F.

High school volunteer Spencer W holds the shovel from Unit F.

The artifact cleaning, sorting, cataloging and report writing had just begun. Stay turned for more posts this fall about things learned from the field school.

 

 

Military at MAC: Decoding Ammunition from Campus

Recently a supervisor from landscape services contacted us after they uncovered an artifact. During the last big wind storm approximately 20 tree were badly damaged. One of the uprooted trees was located on the east side of Cowles House, and the crew discovered an old ammunition casing under the tree’s root ball. So what can this ammunition casing tell us?

Ammunition casing recovered near Cowle's House

Ammunition casing recovered near Cowles House

There are several ways to identify the size of ammunition from the cartridge case. Each type of ammunition has a unique:

  • case length (the longest measurement of the cartridge case)
Casing case length. Image Source.

Casing case length. Image Source.

  • neck diameter (front portion of cartridge case where bullet is seated. Neck diameter is the external measure of this feature)
Cartridge neck. Image source.

Cartridge neck. Image source.

  • diameter at base of case
  • rim diameter (not all cartridges are rimmed, a cartridge with a rim has a base rim that is larger in diameter than the rest of the head).

This particular bullet is a .30-06. This .30 caliber bullet was introduced in 1906, hence to 06 ending. The .30-06 was the U.S. Army’s primary rifle cartridge for nearly 50 years.

So now we’ve figured out the caliber of the ammunition, but who made the bullet? Thankfully, similar to ceramic makers marks or registered designs, ammunition cartridges have identifying marks on the headstamp.

Headstamp example. Image source.

Headstamp example. Image source.

These markings usually contain information on the caliber and manufacturer of the cartridge, and if it’s military ammunition the date of manufacture. This headstamp reads “F A 7 11”.

Headstamp of Cowels House ammunition casing.

Headstamp of Cowels House ammunition casing.

The F A stands for Frankford Arsenal. This ammunition plant opened in 1816 and was the main U.S. military small-arms ammunition producer until 1977. Ammunition produced prior to World War I at this plant was dated with a numerical month-year, so the 7 11 indicates a production date of July 1911.

CAP has found ammo casings and shells at various locations across north campus, so the find didn’t surprise us. But you might be thinking, why do we commonly find evidence of ammunition, specifically military ammunition, on campus? The answer is fairly straightforward; historically there was a military presence on campus.

MAC training detachment c. 1910. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

MAC training detachment c. 1910. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

In the 1800s there were military training classes offered (in 1863 a Military Department was organized and many Michigan State students and faculty served in the Civil War), and small arms & artillery were stored on campus. By the 20th century there was also an active R.O.T.C. contingent, and during WWI a student army training corp in addition to enlisted soldiers training on campus.

Student Army Training Corps (SATC) c. 1918. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

Student Army Training Corps (SATC) c. 1918. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

After the collapse of College Hall in 1918 the surviving corner of the building was incorporated into an artillery shed/garage. The artillery shed was used to house military vehicles and ammunition. Beaumont Tower now occupies this space (and the money was donated by Beaumont to build this after he visited campus and was angered by the artillery garage replacing what was College Hall) and this location is not far from Cowles House, where the casing was recovered.

Artillery Shed/Garage. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

Artillery Shed/Garage. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

The ammunition was likely used within 10-15 years of the production date. Modern factory produced ammunition, when stored properly, is good for approximately 10 years. We will never know under what specific circumstances this rifle was fired on campus, but it’s presence is part of a long military connection.

References:

https://metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?t=174509

http://cartridgecollectors.org/?page=glossary

http://cartridgecollectors.org/?page=headstampcodes#F

http://cartridgecollectors.org/?page=introduction-to-30-06-cartridges

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankford_Arsenal

http://onthebanks.msu.edu/Object/3-F-1DF/meeting-minutes-1863/

 

MSU @ SAA 2017

Next week, from March 29th – April 2nd, the 82nd Annual Society for American Archaeology meeting is taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  This year we have many MSU faculty and students presenting their work.  Make sure to swing by their talks, posters, and lightening session. The full meeting program can be found here.

CAP director Dr. Lynne Goldstein is receiving two SAA Presidential Recognition Awards.  One for her work on the Task Force on Gender Disparities in Archaeological Grant Submissions, and the other for her work on the Task Force on Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure in Diverse Academic Roles.  Congratulations Dr. Goldstein!  Learn more about each task force in the full meeting program. The award ceremony follows the annual business meeting, Friday March 31st at 5:30 PM.

Rebecca Albert (undergraduate)

Thursday –

  • Symposium: Some Like It Hot: Analytic Diversity and Complementarity in the Exploration of Past Cooking and Cuisine
  • Time – 9:45 AM
  • Room: East Meeting room 18 (VCC)
  • Paper: A-Maize-ing: Phytolith Evidence for an Early Introduction of Maize in the Upper Great Lakes Diet
  • Co-authors: Caitlin Clark, Susan Kooiman, and William Lovis
  • Note – this paper won the Institute for Field Research  (IRF) and SAA Undergraduate award

Autumn Beyer

Saturday –

  • Symposium: General Session, Archaeology in the American Midwest II
  • Time- 10:30AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 20 (VCC)
  • Paper: Power and Purpose: The Role of Animals in Ritual Context at a Mid-Continental Site in the Fourteenth Century
  • Co-authors: Terrance Martin and Jodie O’Gorman

Lisa Bright

Saturday –

  • Poster Session: North America – California
  • Room: East Exhibit Hall B Poster Entrance (VCC)
  • Time – 10:30AM – 12:30PM
  • Poster: A Different Kind of Poor: A Multi-Method Demographic Analysis of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Historic Cemetery
  • Co-author: Joseph Hefner

Sunday –

  • Lightning Rounds – Institution for Digital Archaeology Method and Practice Project Reports.
  • Time – 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 7 (VCC)
  • Role: Discussant

Brian Geyer

Thursday-

  • Symposium: Methods and Models for Teaching Digital Archaeology and Heritage
  • Time – 8:30 AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 8 (VCC)
  • Paper: “LEADR at MSU: A Lab Approach to Digital Cultural Heritage in the Classroom”
  • Co-author: Brandon Locke

Dr. Lynne Goldstein:

Thursday –

  • Symposium: Archaeological Epistemology in the Digital Age
  • Time – 8:00am
  • Room: East Meeting Room 17 (VCC)
  • Paper: “Thinking Differently? How Digital Engagement, Teaching, and Research Have Influence My Archaeological Knowledge”

Sunday-

  • Lightning Rounds – Institution for Digital Archaeology Method and Practice Project Reports.
  • Time – 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 7 (VCC)
  • Role: Moderator

Susan Kooiman

Thursday –

  • Symposium: Some Like It Hot: Analytic Diversity and Complementarity in the Exploration of Past Cooking and Cuisine
  • Time – 8:00AM – 11:00 AM
  • Room: East Meeting room 18 (VCC)
  • Role: Chair
  • Paper: Cooking and Cuisine: Culinary Clues and Contexts in the Archaeological Record (8:00 AM)
  • Paper: Beer, Porridges, and Feasting in the Gamo Region of Souther Ethiopia (9:15), co-author

Alice Lynn McMichael (LEADR Assistant Director)

Sunday –

  • Lightning Rounds – Institution for Digital Archaeology Method and Practice Project Reports.
  • Time – 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 7 (VCC)
  • Role: Discussant

Jeff Painter

Thursday –

  • Symposium: General Session, Archaeology in the American Midwest I
  • Time – 3:30PM
  • Room:East Meeting Room 4 (VCC)
  • Paper: Foodway Variability in the Oneota Tradition: A Pilot Study of Cooking Pots
  • Co-author: Jodie O’Gorman

Dr. Jodie O’Gorman

Friday –

  • Symposium: Blood in the Waters: Violence in the Mississippian and Late Prehistoric Eastern Woodlands
  • Time – 10:45AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 8 (VCC)
  • Paper: Life during Wartime: Children, Violence, and Security at Morton Village
  • Role: Co-author (Jennifer Bengtson, Jodie O’Gorman, and Amy Michael)

Dr. Heather Walder

Saturday –

  • Lightning Rounds: Enduring Culture History: Constructions of Past Communities and Identities in the Twenty-First Century
  • Time – 8:00AM – 10:00AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 15 (VCC)
  • Role: Moderator & Discussant
  • Poster Session: North America, Midwest I
  • Time – 2:00PM – 4:00PM
  • Room: East Exhibit Hall B Poster Entrance (VCC)
  • Poster: Compositional Analysis of Copper-Base Metal Artifacts from Michigan

Dr. Ethan Watrall

Thursday-

  • Symposium: Methods and Models for Teaching Digital Archaeology and Heritage
  • Time – 8:00am – 11:00 AM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 8 (VCC)
  • Role: Chair
  • Paper: “Building Scholars and Communities of Practice in Digital Heritage and Archaeology” (10:30 AM)

Saturday –

  • Forum: Current Challenges in Using 3D Data in Archaeology
  • Time – 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Room: East Meeting Room 5 (VCC)
  • Role: Discussant

See you in Vancouver!

 

 

 

 

Where are you registered? Understanding British Registered Design Marks

Liddle Elliot & Sons maker's mark from West Circle Privy.

Liddle Elliot & Sons maker’s mark from West Circle Privy.

There are many different ways that we can date a site or specific artifact.  We can look broadly at the contextual history of the area, look at how a glass bottle was constructed, or use construction material like nails to create broad date ranges. Specifically with ceramics there are several ways to establish a time frame for the artifact including: paste thickness, decoration style, rim construction, colors used, as well as size and shape.  Sometimes we get really lucky, and a ceramic sherd will have a maker’s mark.  Most ceramic companies have well documented records for the changes made to their unique marks, making it relatively simple to establish a date range for most marked ceramics.  But sometimes with 19th century British ceramics we get every more lucky and can establish the specific date the ceramic was produced on.  This occurs when we are fortunate enough to have a British Registered Design mark.

Registered Design Mark on plate from West Circle Privy.

Registered Design Mark on plate from West Circle Privy.

Beginning in 1842 England begin offering “registered designs” for ceramics.  This is akin to a patent or copyright trademark today. The ornamental design act of 1842 expanded design protection into new types of materials, such as ceramics.  This allowed for manufacturers to protect not only the functional design of their products, but also their aesthetic design as well.

Each of these diamond marks contain very specific information that tells us what class of material the object is, the day, month, and year it was produced, and the bundle number.  There are two ways this information can be arranged.  The first configuration was used from 1842-1867.

Labeled registered design mark (1882-1867).

Labeled registered design mark (1882-1867).

There are published tables that identify what each of these letters and numbers mean.  A good example can be seen here, but there are also published books where the same information appears.  Based on those tables we know that the ceramic pictures above was produced December 18th, 1856:

  1. IV = ceramic
  2. L = 1856
  3. A = December
  4. 18 = 18th
  5. We don’t need to worry about the bundle number

If we were in England we could go to the British Archive and view the specific design that corresponds with this information.  However, even without a trip to England, there’s still even more information that this mark can tell us.  By knowing the specific date it was produced, you can look this information up in books, and sometimes figure out who the manufacture was of the ceramic. This is useful if you have a sherd that contains a registered design mark, but not lucky enough to have the maker’s mark.

Registered Designs from 1868-1883. Image Source.

Registered Designs from 1868-1883. Image Source.

The design changed slightly for ceramics produced between 1868-1883. During these years the arrangement of the symbols changed. The year and day marks have switched places, as have the month and bundle.

Post 1883 registered number mark. Image source.

Post 1883 registered number mark. Image source.

In 1884 England switched from the diamond registered date mark to a new registry number system where a numerical mark designated a specific year. Similar to the registered date marks, this information can also be found in published tables. The dates in the tables are the lowest/first number recorded for each year.  So for example let’s look at the registered number in the above image, 49221. This number falls between the 1906 number (471860) and 1907 number (493900) so we know it was produced in 1906.

So sometimes diamonds are not just a girls best friend, they’re an archaeologists best friend.

References:

http://virtual.parkland.edu/lstelle1/len/center_for_social_research/english_registry_marks/ARCH%20GUIDE_ENGLISH%20REGISTRY%20MARKS.html

http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/Dating_English_Registry_Marks.htm

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/registered-designs-1839-1991/

https://www.wilsongunn.com/history/history_designs.html