Author: Autumn Painter

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 […]

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 you in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

Thursday Morning, April 11, 2019

Poster Session ~ Geoarchaeology in the New World
Room: La SalaTime: 10:30 am – 12:30 am
Sarah Meinekat, Christopher Miller, Emily Milton, & Kurt RademakerQuebrada Jagay – 280 (QJ-280) under the Microscope: A Geoarchaeological Investigation of the Site Formation and Anthropogenic Features at a Peruvian Coastal Site45-c

General Session ~ Bioarchaeology: South American Case Studies
Room: 20 LagunaTime: 11:15 am – 12:00 pm
Richard Sutter, Gabriel Prieto, Celeste Gagnon & Jordi Rivera PrinceHorizontality Revisited: Evidence for 3,000 Years of Prehistoric Biocultural Continuity of Fisherfolk at Huanchaco, North Coast of Peru11:15 am

Thursday Afternoon, April 11, 2019

Symposium ~ Archaeologies of Health, Wellness, and Ability
Room 65 HopiTime: 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Stacey CampHealthcare and Citizenship in the Context of World War II Japanese American Internment2:00 pm

Symposium ~ Capacity Building or Community Making? Training and Transitions in Digital Archaeology
Room: 18 Cochil/30 TaosTime: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Ethan WatrallBuilding Capacity and Communities of Practice in Digital Heritage and Archaeology1:00 pm
Lynne GoldsteinDiscussant4:45 pm

Poster Session ~ Experimental Archaeology in the Americas
Room: Hall 3Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Emily Milton & Joshua SchwartzNot Something to Grind Your Teeth Over: Experimental Mounting of Enamel for Stable Isotope and Microscopic Analysis116-g

Thursday Evening, April 11, 2019

Electronic Symposium ~ Towards a Standardization of Photogrammetric Methods in Archaeology: A Conversation about ‘Best Practices’ in an Emerging Methodology
Room: 10 AnasaziTime: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Amy Hair, Gabriel Wrobel, and Jack BiggsThe Maya Cranial Photogrammetric Field Methods in Burial Excavation

Friday Morning, April 12, 2019

Symposium ~ Attention to Detail: A Pragmatic Career of Research, Mentoring, and Service, Papers in Honor of Keith Kintigh
Room 275 Ballroom BTime: 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Vincas Steponaitis & Lynne GoldsteinStruggling with Complex Decision-Making in Public Policy10:00 am

General Session ~ Bioarchaeology in Peru
Room: 22 San JuanTime: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Jordi Rivera Prince & Gabriel PrietoDefining Markers of Occupational Stress in the Ancient Fisherman of Huanchaco, Peru: When Modern Ethnography and Bioarchaeology Intersect11:45 am

Friday Afternoon, April 12, 2019

General Session ~ Paleoindian Archaeology in South America
Room: 60 ChacoTime: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Lauren Pratt & Kurt RademakerAn Application of Surovell’s Behavioral Ecology Models of Site Occupation Length in the Peruvian Andes3:30 pm
Taylor Panczak & Kurt RademakerExploring Inter-zonial Connections through a Constructed Projectile Point Typology from Cuncaicha Rockshelter3:45 pm

Friday Evening, April 12, 2019

Awards Presentation and Annual Business Meeting
Lifetime Achievement AwardPresented to Lynne Goldstein5:30 – 6:30 pm

Saturday Morning, April 13, 2019

Symposium ~ Archaeological Method and Theory: Papers in Honor of James M. Skibo, Part 1.
Room: 10 AnasaziTime: 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Susan KooimanFunctioning at Full Capacity: The Role of Pottery in the Woodland Upper Great Lakes8:15 am
Autumn Painter & Jeffrey PainterWalk with Me: Reflections on Almost a Lifetime with Dr. James Skibo8:30 am

Symposium ~ Kin, Clan, and House: Social Relatedness in the Archaeology of North American Societies
Room: 240 La CienegaTime: 8:00 am – 11:30 am Chair: Jacob Lulewicz
Lynne GoldsteinAztalan from the Perspective of Institutions of Social Relatedness10:30 am

Poster Session ~ New Discoveries in South American Archaeology
Room: La SalaTime: 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Michael Cook & Kurt RademakerRaw Material Sourcing of Two Terminal Pleistocene Sites in Southern Peru285-e

Saturday Afternoon, April 13, 2019

Poster Session ~ What’s For Dinner? Mesoamerican Diets and Foodways
Room: La SalaTime: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Morgan McDenna, Gabriel Wrobel, Amy Michael, Amy S. Commendador & Patricia McAnany Understanding the Diet of Late to Terminal Classic Period Maya Groups in the Sibun River Valley, Belize, through Food Web Reconstruction370-g
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 […]

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 attend the tour last night, below you can read about some of the stories told at each stop:

Southeast corner of Beaumont Tower, 1928. Photo courtesy of MSU Archives and Historical Collections.

Beaumont Tower:
Prior to Beaumont Tower, College Hall, the first building on campus, was located at this spot. It was erected in 1856 and was the first structure in America that was dedicated to the instruction of scientific agriculture. 

The tower itself was constructed where the northeast corner of College Hall once stood. Some of the foundation walls for the original building still exist underneath the sidewalks. In the fall of 2009, the Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) tested areas north and south of Beaumont Tower and discovered the foundation of College Hall and cinder pathways that would have been used by the first MSU students!

There are many stories of hauntings around Beaumont tower. For example, specters of couples in old-fashioned dress holding hands have been seen walking slowly by on foggy mornings. On very dark nights, there have been multiple sightings of a man in tails and a stovepipe hat wandering around the tower.

Saints Rest:
Saints’ Rest was the first dormitory on campus, constructed in 1857. Unfortunately in the winter of 1876, while students were on break, the building burned down. In 2005, CAP investigated the debris left behind from the building, and determined that the fire likely started in the basement where construction tools were found burned in place. 

Students outside Saints’ Rest ca. 1857. Image from MSU Archives.

Although there were no reported deaths in the fire, there have been numerous sightings of ghostly students in 19th century clothing wandering through this space, looking for their lost dorm building. When the Paranormal Society investigated this area, the flashlight set on the ground near the Saints’ Rest sign flicked when asked if there were any spirits that wanted to communicate…

Mable Reconstructed
Mabel Post-Reconstruction

In 2015, a privy associated with the Saints’ Rest dormitory was discovered and excavated by CAP. Not only was this the bathroom for students, but it also served as a dumping ground for illicit items–such as smoking pipes and alcohol bottles–that students wished to hide forever. Also discovered in the historic privy was the head of a porcelain doll, who came to be known as Mabel. Why someone living in Saints’ Rest, an all-male dormitory, was seeking to get rid of a doll remains a mystery.

Mary Mayo Hall:
The area by this dormitory was once known as “Faculty Row,” as it was where the first faculty homes were built on campus. The only Faculty Row building still here today is Cowles House, which is the oldest standing structure on the MSU campus. 

In 2008, CAP excavated between Landon and Campbell Halls and uncovered early construction materials including wood plumbing and bricks made of clay sourced from the Red Cedar River. 

Mary Mayo Hall, a stop on the Apparitions and Archaeology Tour, is said to be haunted
Mary Mayo Hall – Image courtesy of MSU Archives.

Mary Mayo is supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings on campus. Several strange occurrences have been reported. A woman’s figure has been seen near the piano in the West Lounge and sometimes the piano plays all by itself.

MSU Museum:
Long ago, a very different building stood in this spot: Williams Hall, which was the second dormitory on campus. It was built in 1869, but like Saints’ Rest, it burned down in 1919 during winter break. 

Although limited archaeology has been done in the immediate vicinity of the museum, just to the west of Beaumont Tower, a small Archaic campsite, dating to between 3000 and 500 BC was discovered and excavated by CAP.

MSU Museum - Image courtesy of MSU Archives
MSU Museum – Image courtesy of MSU Archives

In the MSU Museum over the years, archaeology graduate students working in the basement labs reported hearing people walking around on the first and second floors, as well as strange noises coming from behind the exhibits.

Beal Gardens: 
Beal Botanical Garden is the longest continually maintained university garden in the nation. It was established by William Beal, MAC’s first Botany professor. In 1879, a Botanical Laboratory was built in the area near the Botanical Garden. 

Beal's first Botanical Laboratory - Image Source: MSU Archives & Historical Collection FLICKR
Beal’s first Botanical Laboratory – Image Source: MSU Archives & Historical Collection FLICKR

Campus Archaeology excavated between West Circle Drive and the Beal Garden gazebo in 2016 and found building remains believed to be the remnants of the Botanical Laboratory. Artifacts recovered included building materials, melted glass, and charcoal, most likely associated with the 1890 fire that destroyed the building. 

Students and faculty members have reported seeing a male apparition dressed in clothes from the 1920s – some say it is Professor Beal coming back to the garden to check on his seed experiment that he started in 1879.

CAP fellow, Kate Frederick standing by historic steam tunnel.
CAP fellow, Kate Frederick standing by historic steam tunnel.

Steam Tunnels:
Throughout north campus there are historic steam tunnels; they are a series of honeycombed tubes that are over 100 years old. In 1884, the first boiler and power plant was constructed on campus, behind Olds hall. The steam created by the boiler was used to heat the original Wells and Williams Halls, the Chemistry building, library, and museum. 

During the 2014 West Circle construction, Campus Archaeology was able to excavate one of these historic steam tunnels. We were lucky to be able to document this stretch of tunnel, as most of the historic tunnels have been deeply buried, are caved in, or have been removed by construction.

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, […]

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 […]

Meet the 2018 CAP Fellows

Meet the 2018 CAP Fellows

The 2018-2019 school year has begun!  Dr. Stacey Camp has taken over as director of the program, following Dr. Lynne Goldstein’s retirement from MSU. We will be continuing to work on several ongoing projects, as well as begin several new ones. Please meet our 2018-2019 CAP group!


Dr. Stacey Camp, CAP Director
Dr. Stacey Camp, CAP Director

Dr. Stacey Camp: I’m Dr. Stacey Camp, the new Director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. I’m excited to take over for Dr. Lynne Goldstein and am looking forward to working with our new and seasoned CAP Fellows. We have a good deal planned for this year, including focusing on publishing our research, training in social media, and working with our robust archaeological collections. We will also continue to do our favorite outreach events, including Apparitions and Archaeology, Michigan Archaeology Day, partnering with the MSU Food Truck, and MSU Science Fest. We will be having a Campus Archaeology Program field school next summer, which we will post about on our social media. I am excited to see where this year takes us!

Campus Archaeologist

Autumn Painter, Campus Archaeologist
Autumn Painter, Campus Archaeologist

Autumn Painter: Autumn is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology. This May, Autumn began her first term as the Campus Archaeologist. Her research focuses on prehistoric foodways and social interaction through the analysis of animal bones in the Midwestern United States. This year Autumn will be working with other fellows on their projects, promoting our new social media campaign, and working to complete reports from past excavations.

Campus archaeology program fellows: 

Mari Isa, CAP Fellow
Mari Isa, CAP Fellow

Mari Isa: Mari is a fifth year Ph.D. student in Anthropology. For her dissertation research, she studies the effect of biological and mechanical factors on skeletal fracture patterns. Mari is also involved in a bioarchaeology project investigating the potential social and biological impacts of malaria in Early Medieval Tuscany. Mari is excited to be returning for her third year as a CAP fellow. She hopes to work on various projects including developing new outreach activities that will allow CAP to engage people of all ages with archaeology and with our research on MSU’s campus.

Jeff Burnett, CAP Fellow
Jeff Burnett, CAP Fellow

Jeff Burnett: Jeff is a first year Anthropology PhD. student and a half-time CAP fellow. His past studies have focused on the archaeology of the African Diaspora in North America, with an interest in the process of freedom and how social constructs effect lived experiences. He is also interested in the production of historical knowledge and the utility of collaborative archaeology to diversify this production. Jeff is excited to join the Campus Archaeology Program, hoping to learn from their tradition of public archaeology and outreach in their community.


Jack Biggs, CAP Fellow
Jack Biggs, CAP Fellow

Jack Biggs: Jack is a fifth year Anthropology Ph.D. student and a returning CAP fellow.  His research is focused on growth and development of the ancient Maya of Central America and how social identity and childhood affect an individual’s biology.  He is also a big proponent of using 3D modeling (via photogrammetry) as a teaching and curation method and will be creating models of artifacts from CAP excavations so that they can be digitally preserved.


Jeff Painter, CAP Fellow
Jeff Painter, CAP Fellow

Jeff Painter: Jeff Painter is a fifth year Ph.D. student at Michigan State University who is returning for his third year as a Campus Archaeology Fellow. He is a prehistoric archaeologist focused on foodways, ceramics, and migration in the late prehistoric Midwest. This year, his CAP research project will focus on the historic sawmill/sugar house on MSU’s campus.



Amber Plemons: Amber is a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, focusing in Biological Anthropology. Her research focuses on understanding the causative forces of human variation in craniofacial morphology, specifically the impacts of climate and genetics. This year, Amber will be working to build a database for artifacts recovered across Michigan State University. This database will allow information of all previously recovered material to be housed in a central location with their temporal and geographic location information, artifact type, and images, making future research more readily available.

Susan Kooiman, CAP Fellow
Susan Kooiman, CAP Fellow

Susan Kooiman: Susan is returning for her final semester as both a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology and a CAP fellow. Her dissertation research focuses on pottery use, cooking practices, and diet of precontact Indigenous groups in the Upper Great Lakes of North America. This year, she will be finishing up the Campus Foodways project, a collaborative investigation (with Autumn Painter) into the archaeology and history of food at MSU. This includes expansion of collaborations with the MSU Food Truck and MSU Student Organic Farm,  and disseminating the results of the project through publication, conference presentations, and other outreach opportunities.


Picking out Kitchenware: Large Scale Purchasing at MSU

Picking out Kitchenware: Large Scale Purchasing at MSU

Where did the kitchenware at MSU come from during the early years of the school? As it was not economical to purchase dinnerware sets in the same way families purchased dishes for their home, the college most likely turned to catalogue companies, the Costco of […]