Author: Autumn Painter

MSU at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

MSU at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

Next week is the annual Midwest Archaeological Conference (October 10-12, 2019) in Mankato, MN. Below is a list of dates and times of all MSU presentations. This includes past, present, and retired MSU graduate students and faculty. Included is a poster on the Campus Archaeology…

Summer 2019 Re-CAP

Summer 2019 Re-CAP

Campus Archaeology had an exciting summer field season, from the archaeological field school to field crew work across campus. We also hosted a class for Grandparent’s University and painted the MSU Rock! Below you can read more about each project. Archaeological Field School This summer…

Color Me Excited! Munsell visits MSU Campus Archaeology Program

Color Me Excited! Munsell visits MSU Campus Archaeology Program

During the last week of our undergraduate archaeological field school, Art Schmehling and Laura Weeks from Munsell came out to visit our excavation, show us a few of their products, and see how we typically use their soil color book. The products they brought and taught us about included their new Munsell CAPSURE Color Matching Tool!

Art Schmehling, Autumn Painter, and Dr. Stacey Camp comparing the Munsell color tools.
Art Schmehling, Autumn Painter, and Dr. Stacey Camp comparing the Munsell color tools.

They also provided us with the Farnsworth Color Vision Test so we are able to evaluate the extent that our color vision can tell the difference between specific colors and hue variations within a given color. This test indicates our color acuity across the entire spectrum of visible color, which is an essential skill for archaeologists.

Archaeologists typically use the Munsell Soil Color Book to evaluate soil strata (layers of soil) during our excavations. It allows us to learn how the archaeological record was formed, a process in which layers of soil and cultural material are laid down on top of one another through time. Soil color changes and the presence of cultural material also allows archaeologists to look at and tell the difference between natural and cultural deposition episodes and/or activities. If you are interested in how archaeologists ‘read’ soil stratigraphy, take a look at a previous blog post: http://campusarch.msu.edu/?p=334.

We were excited to try out the new Munsell CAPSURE Color Matching Tool in comparison with our traditional way of using the soil color book! Several Campus Archaeology staff and field school students tried out the device. To get the most accurate reading, the soil must be clean scraped and made as smooth as possible. You place the device flat against the soil and press a button on the side to capture the color. The device provides a Munsell color (i.e. 10YR3/4), and it also allows you to view colors that have been categorized as similar.

When we tested the same soil sampleĀ using both methods (book and digital device), we found that we identified colors the same or similar to the digital device’s readings. While this didn’t happen every time, we found that inclusions greatly impacted the color that the digital device selected. We also challenged the CAP staff to categorize the same soil layer using a paper Munsell book in order to see if we categorized colors in a similar fashion. While we mostly agreed, there were some soil layers that we identified as slightly different. Overall, we believe the device would be useful on a large scale excavation that could benefit from consistency, as individuals perceive colors in different ways and would assist in increasing work flow.

Hue test results showing total error score and discrimination classification for Autumn Painter.
Hue test results showing total error score and discrimination classification for Autumn Painter.

To test how differently we identify colors, we used the color vision test provided to us by Munsell. Two professors, three graduate students, and one undergraduate intern completed the test. Our results ranged from ‘average discrimination’ to ‘superior discrimination.’ The definitions of the discriminations from the test are below:


Superior Discrimination
About 16% of the population (exclusive of color defectives) has been found to make 0 to 4 transpositions on first test, or total error score of zero to 16. This is the range of superior competence for color discrimination.


Average Discrimination
About 68% of the population (exclusive of color defectives) make a total error score between 20 and 100 on first tests. This is the range of normal competence for color discrimination.

Low Discrimination
About 16% of the population (exclusive of color defectives) has been found to make total error scores of more than 100. The first retest may show improvement, but further retests do not materially affect the score. Repeated retests reveal no region of large maximum or minimum sensitivity as is found in color defective patterns.

It was interesting to see how we all view color changes and hue variations. One thing to note is that we all picked out one of the color samples as not fitting in well within the color spectrum; we all agreed it appeared brighter than the surrounding colors it was designated to sit between.

We appreciate Art and Laura taking the time to come out to the field school site, as well as providing us with the vision test! We are looking forward to taking a trip to visit their facility this fall to learn more about Munsell and how they make the colors.

MSU Science Fest 2019: CAP at Expo Day

MSU Science Fest 2019: CAP at Expo Day

The MSU Science Festival Expo Day was filled with hundreds, if not thousands of visitors! This year we decided to switch up a few things to try some new ways of reach audiences of all ages. Continue reading to learn about the new additions and…

MSU at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting 2019

MSU at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting 2019

Interested in hearing what MSU graduate students and professors are presenting at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology? Below is a list compiled including the names, title of presentation/poster, date, time, and location for each MSU scholar! We hope to see…

Looking Ahead: Where to find CAP during summer 2019!

Looking Ahead: Where to find CAP during summer 2019!

While the ground may be covered with inches of snow, CAP is looking ahead to plan for summer construction, in addition to our undergraduate archaeological field school.

As you would have read in a previous blog post, the field school will be taking place near the corner of Shaw and Hagadorn Roads by Holmes Hall. We will be working there from May 13th through June 7th. Stay tuned for the announcement of our public open house day!

There are several construction projects slated to begin this summer!


First, Munn Ice Arena will be under construction for an expansion along the south side of the building. This construction will create a new public “front door” that will include an area for a memorabilia exhibit, additional concessions, new office space, among many other improvements! For this project, we will perform both a pedestrian and shovel test survey of the area before the construction begins, as well as monitor for archaeological remains during the construction process.


The second major construction project for this summer is the new sewer line being put in behind the Brody Complex. If you did not know, the Brody Complex is at the location of a historic East Lansing dump. While this project is being run by the City of East Lansing, not MSU, we are still planning on being present during the excavation phase of construction, as there is a high probability of artifacts being uncovered. This is a great opportunity for CAP to recover artifacts for use in teaching and as well as comparative items.


Third, it is possible that Cowles House, otherwise known as the President’s House, will undergo an addition and site renovations. As we were informed about this project last spring, we have already conducted both a pedestrian survey and a shovel test survey of the potentially impacted area. If this project begins this summer, you will find us monitoring the construction for any archaeological materials.


Finally, a project is slated to begin in the summer of 2020, expanding the south river trail between Bogue Street and Farm Lane, adding a bike path similar to one that exists near the Stadium. For this project, we will conduct shovel tests this summer in preparation for the construction, and will monitor the work in 2020.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on where we are and what we are doing this summer!

CAP Update

CAP Update

Happy 2019! The spring semester has started at Michigan State University and that means that the Campus Archaeology Program is back in action, preparing for all of the events and projects for the spring and summer! Below is an update on the projects we will…

Apparitions & Archaeology: 5th Annual Haunted Campus Tour

Apparitions & Archaeology: 5th Annual Haunted Campus Tour

Happy Halloween! Yesterday we hosted our 5th annual Apparitions & Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour. For this year’s tour, we decided to change several of the stops and the MSU Paranormal Society added stories from their investigations of each area! If you weren’t able to…

MSU at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

MSU at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

Next week is the annual Midwest Archaeological Conference (October 4-6, 2018) in Notre Dame. Below is a list of dates and times of all MSU presentations, posters, and discussants. Included in these are two posters on Campus Archaeology projects that you should check out!

Friday, october 5

9 am – 12:15 pm Symposium
Storing Culture: Subterranean Storage in the Upper Midwest (Auditorium)

9:15 am – Now and Later: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Hunter-Gatherer Food Storage Practices by Kathryn Frederick (former Campus Archaeologist)
12 pm – Discussant, Dr. William Lovis

10 am – 12 pm General Poster Session
Reports from the Field (Room 210-214)

Archaeology along the Banks of the Red Cedar: Summary of 2018 Riverbank Survey by Jeffrey M. Painter, Autumn M. Painter, and Jack A. Biggs (Campus Archaeology Program)

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm General Poster Session
Materials and Methods (Room 210-214)

Historic Cuisine on the Go: A Campus Archaeology Program and MSU Food Truck Collaboration by Autumn M. Painter and Susan M. Kooiman (Campus Archaeology Program)

Saturday, october 6

9 am -11:45 am General Session
Middle Mississippian to Late Prehistoric Lifeways (Auditorium)

11:30 am – A Revised History of the Late Precontact and Historic Era Occupations of the Cloudman Site by Susan M. Kooiman and Heather Walder

1:30 pm – 4 pm General Session
Landscape, Settlements, and Their Detection (Room 100-104)

3:45 pm – Trade Relationships of 18th-Century Ottawa along the Grand River, Michigan by Jessica Yann

 

Summer 2018 Recap

Summer 2018 Recap

This summer was an eventful one for the Campus Archaeology Program field crew! We monitored construction, conducted several pedestrian and shovel test surveys, excavated one test unit, conducted lab analysis, and helped with the IB STEM archaeology camp and grandparents university. Plus, we uncovered an…