Author: Lisa Bright

Jumbo Peanut Butter: Good Enuf for Me

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…

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

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

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…

Summer Field Crew Update: Wilson Road Realignment

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

2017 Field School Recap: Station Terrace

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…

Military at MAC: Decoding Ammunition from Campus

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…

MSU @ SAA 2017

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

Where are you registered? Understanding British Registered Design Marks

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…

The Kitchen Girls Part 2: Early Campus Female Life

The Kitchen Girls Part 2: Early Campus Female Life

In my last blog I introduced the female employees working at the Saint’s Rest boarding hall in 1866. These 33 women were paid an average of $2.00 – $2.50 a week for their work and were purchasing personal items through the university, charged against their…

The Kitchen Girls: Getting to Know Female Campus Employees in the 1860s (Part 1)

The Kitchen Girls: Getting to Know Female Campus Employees in the 1860s (Part 1)

Saint's Rest Boarding Hall circa 1865. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections
Saint’s Rest Boarding Hall circa 1865. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections

Michigan State University is a big place. Today the main campus is over 5,200 acres, there are 545 buildings, and over 50,000 students. Campus is essentially its own little city and there’s a large work force of approximately 6,800 support staff employees that work around the clock to make things run smoothly. In the early years of the campus, although the campus size and student body were much smaller, a large staff was still necessary to run the college. We’ve been able to do extensive research on experiences of the early faculty and students, but finding information on the employees is more difficult because their experience is often missing from the historical and archaeological record.

As part of the ongoing food reconstruction project, I’ve been going through the Saint’s Rest boarding hall receipt books with Susan Kooiman and Autumn Beyer at the MSU Archives. While recording the 1866-1867 book I noticed some purchases that didn’t quite maker sense; corsets, garters, ribbon, parasols, hoops skirts, etc. Each was associated with a woman’s name. Female students weren’t officially admitted to the university until 1870, so who were these women showing up in the boarding hall account books?

Boarding Hall Receipt 1866 showing purchases of hoop skirt, belt riot and shoes. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.
Boarding Hall Receipt from 1866 showing purchases of hoop skirt, belt riot and shoes. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

I think that they were the employees of the boarding hall.

Before going through this receipt book we only knew of them through brief mentions in other archival material. In his essay “The Dawn of Michigan Agricultural College” James Gunnison, a member of the inaugural class of 1861, mentions that boys used the parlor (in Saint’s Rest) to visit with the “dining-room girls” (UA 17.107 Box 1140 Folder 8). A 1859 letter notes that the following women were employed at the boarding hall: 2 girls to do the laundry, 2 women as cooks, 1 women in the kitchen to wash dishes and do other odd jobs, 2 girls in the dining room to serve, 1 girl for “chamber work”, and 1 girl for the general washing, washing towels for the washing room, and making candles (Madison Kuhn Collection 17.107 Box 1141 Folder 66). Thankfully now we have identifies for at least 33 of the women that worked at the boarding hall in 1866:

  • Mary Bage
  • Mary Bates
  • Ellen Connor
  • Susan Connor
  • Mary Gannon
  • Matilda Gidley
  • Phobe Gidley
  • Mariah Horbeck
  • Martha King
  • Maria Martin
  • Annie Martin
  • Jane Phillips
  • Adelade Place
  • Mary Roller
  • Rachel Roller
  • Lovina Shattuck
  • Barbary Stabler
  • Jane Trembly
  • Mattie Trevallee
  • Pamelia Trevallee
  • Angie Trevallee
  • Millie Trevallee
  • Mollie Trevallee
  • Malvina Trevler
  • Pamelia Trevler
  • Delia Tyler
  • Lucinda Van Horn
  • Susan Wilson
  • Matilda Wilson
  • Mary Young
  • Mollie Young
  • Jennie Young
  • Agusta Young

The 1859 letter indicates that at least 9 women at a time were employed at the boarding hall, and as enrollment grew it’s logical to assume that more women were hired to work on campus. The receipt book also notes when employees left for a period of time, and when new ones began working.

Unfortunately the timing of the employment records, 1866, makes it a little difficult to track down more information on these specific individuals. The 1860 Michigan census can be a bit sketchy, and by 1870 many of these women may have moved out of the area, or gotten married and thus changed their last name (although Pamelia Trevallee appears in the 1870 census still working as a domestic servant in the boarding hall (spelled Travailla in the census)). Most likely these women were in their late teens or early 20s when employed by the university, further complicating finding them by traditional genealogical means (Pamelia Trevallee is 21 in the 1870 census, making her 17 in the 1866 book). Interestingly many of these women share the same last night, suggesting that they are related.

April 1866 - showing purchases and being marked paid. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections
April 1866 – showing purchases and being marked paid. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections

In the mid 1860s there were approximately 100 students on campus, so why was there the need for so many female employees at the boarding hall (there are male laborers listed in the receipt book but that is a blog for another day). We need to remember that housework in the 19th century was incredibly laborious and highly gender specific.

April 1866 - Barbery Stabler began work at a rate of $2.50 per week. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections
April 1866 – Barbery Stabler began work at a rate of $2.50 per week. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections

The women were being paid $2.00 – $2.50 per week for their work. It appears the room and board was also included as part of their employment. What I’m seeing in the receipt books appears to be purchases/charges employees made against their weekly payroll. At the end of every month the accounts are balanced, with any remaining money being paid out to the individual.  For example Millie Trevallee charges $11.28 in May and $4.05 in June and is paid $4.90 at the end of June, balancing the ~$20 she would have made for two months work.

These receipt books provide a unique glimpse into the lives of female university employees in the 1860s. Stay turned for The Kitchen Girls Part 2 next week where I will explore the fashionable purchases they were making.

References:

Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections:

UA 17.107 Box 1140 Folder 8

Madison Kuhn Collection 17.107 Box 1141 Folder 66

UA 17.107 Box 2461 Item #40

United States Census 1870 State of Michigan, Ingham County, Town of Meridian schedule 1, page 30

https://msu.edu/about/thisismsu/facts.html

MSU @ AAA 2016

MSU @ AAA 2016

The annual American Anthropological Association meeting begins this week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have several presentations, sessions, forums, and workshops involving members of the MSU Anthropology program. Check out the presentations listed below in alphabetical order of lead presenter. The full searchable schedule can be…