Author: Katy Meyers Emery

Ceramic Decorations from The Admin Building

Ceramic Decorations from The Admin Building

This semester I have been working on analyzing the materials found near the Administration building on campus. This is an interesting assemblage because we have such a large range of materials. We have whiteware, porcelain, stoneware, yellow-ware, glass of all types and metal. Within the…

Ten Years Since Saints’ Rest… A Brief History of Campus Archaeology

Ten Years Since Saints’ Rest… A Brief History of Campus Archaeology

For those of us who have been involved in Campus Archaeology for a while, it is hard to believe that it has already been almost a decade since the first MSU excavation occurred. In honor of this, we are beginning the 2015 year by looking…

Sorting the Admin Artifact Assemblage

Sorting the Admin Artifact Assemblage

Archaeology is like a puzzle- only you don’t know what picture you’ll end up with and some of the pieces are either broken, burnt or missing. As you may have read previously, on our last day of summer excavation, Campus Archaeology discovered a potential trash pit with hundreds of historic artifacts in it (Read that post here). It was located between the Administration building and the Red Cedar River. It is an area that could tell us quite a bit about historic MSU, and definitely a location we will investigate further in the future. After the field season ended, the artifacts were taken back to the lab for cleaning.

So what happens then? How do we begin to understand what all these artifacts mean? Do they belong to a trash pit or was it accidental loss of materials? Was it the refuse from a single building or activity, or from many buildings and activities? What exact time period was the material deposited in? Who did it potentially belong to?

Before we start trying to figure out the picture that this puzzle makes, we first need to examine all the pieces.

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Assemblage from Admin, being sorted into broad categories, via author

The first step is to divide the artifacts into broad categories like glass, ceramic, and metal. By sorting them into these categories we start to see patterns or unique artifacts. After that, we divide them further. For glass, we look at whether it is window glass or bottle glass. The easiest way to do this is to place the glass flat on the table- if it is completely flat, it is likely window glass, whereas if it has any curve it is more likely to be bottle glass. For ceramics, we sort out by the ceramic type such as whiteware, stoneware or porcelain. For metal, we sort them into functional categories, like door related hinges and keys or building related nails and screws.

Once we’ve got the broad categories complete, we can begin to see patterns among them. We start finding pieces of ceramic that match and belong to the same pot. We separate specific decoration types to see if they preferred patterns or plain ceramics. We divide the bottle glass into milk bottles, decorative cut glass bowls, or lab equipment like test tubes and thermometers. This is the part of the process that is the most frustrating but also in many ways is the most exciting. At this stage, you begin to understand what the assemblage means, who might have created it, and where it belongs. Sometimes you get lucky and a couple pieces fit together to make a more complete bottle or pot. Other times it is exhausting as you find that nothing fits or you can’t identify what an artifact is.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be working with this collection to understand it better. Right now, we’re still sorting, trying to make connections, and comparing what we’ve found here against other material found on campus.

 

Campus Archaeology & Social Media: What We’ve Learned Over the Past Seven Years

Campus Archaeology & Social Media: What We’ve Learned Over the Past Seven Years

Since its official beginnings in 2007, social media has played an important role in the management of and education about cultural heritage on campus. Social media is part of a larger multifaceted communication plan that has been developed as part of this program for multiple…

Creating a Cultural Heritage Plan for MSU

Creating a Cultural Heritage Plan for MSU

During this past summer, Dr. Lynne Goldstein taught a course on Methods in Cultural Heritage to a group of senior undergraduate and graduate students. The goal of the course was to learn what a cultural heritage plan was, why it is important to have for…

Campus Archaeology and MSU Anthropology at SAA 2014

Campus Archaeology and MSU Anthropology at SAA 2014

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Next week from Thursday, April 24 to Sunday, April 27, the Society for American Archaeology will be occurring in Austin, TX. There is going to be great representation of members of Campus Archaeology and the MSU Anthropology department.

Want to learn more about MSU Campus Archaeology? Do you have a program like Campus Archaeology at your university?

We are hosting an informal gathering at the SAAs to discuss all things campus archaeology! Kate, the Campus Archaeologist, and other members of the team will be there for this gathering.

  • When: Thursday (April 24th), 4-6pm
  • Where: Hilton Garden Inn, Red River Room

We also have numerous presentations, sessions and forums led by members of the MSU Anthropology program. Check out all the presentations below, in alphabetical order of presenter. Session number for program reference is in brackets.

Brock, Terry [258]

  • Session- Blogging Archaeology, Again
  • Presentation- SHA Social: Developing a 21st century Social Media Strategy for the Society for Historical Archaeology
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 9B (ACC)Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Burbank, Joshua [303]

  • Session- Lighting Dark Passages Part 2: Celebrating 30 Years of James E. Brady’s Contribution to Cave Archaeology
  • Presentation- Interpreting a Specialized Cache of Human Remains in Actun Kabul, Central Belize
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 12AB (ACC), Time: 1:00 PM – 4:45 PM

Daggett, Adrianne [58]

  • Session- Worlds at Different Scales: Population Interactions and Dynamics Over Time in Africa
  • Presentation- The View from Bluff’s Edge: South Sowa, Botswana in the Early Iron Age
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 17A (ACC) Time: 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Deskaj, Sylvia [64], [89], [303]

  • Session- Establishing a Bioarchaeology of Community
  • Presentation- The Walking Dead: Establishing and Maintaining Community in Northern Albania
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 17B (ACC) Time: 1:00 PM – 4:15 PM
  • Session- Europe During the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Viking Age
  • Co-Presentation- The 2013 Field Season of the Projekti Arkeologjikë i Shkodrës (PASH), Northern Albania
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 8A (ACC) Time: 3:15 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Session Organizer: The Link Between Mortuary Analysis and Advances in Scientific Methods: Developing Cultural Context
  • Co- Presentation- Exploring the Relationship Between  Sampling Loci and Developmental Age in Isotopic Studies of Human Teeth: A Pilot Study from Kamenica, Albania
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 16A (ACC) Time: 2:45 PM – 5:00 PM

Dunham, Sean [34]

  • Session- Archaeological Studies in Settlement Ecology: Recent Advances from the Americas
  • Presentation- An Analysis of Late Woodland Archaeological Site Locations in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 11AB (ACC) Time: 9:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Goldstein, Lynne [64], [184], [303]

  • Session- Establishing a Bioarchaeology of Community
  • Co- Presentation- Emblematic Identities of the Effigy Mound Manifestation: Symbolic Patterns
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 17B (ACC) Time: 1:00 PM – 4:15 PM
  • Forum: Gender Disparities in Research Grant Submissions
  • Friday, April 25, Room: 8A (ACC) Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Session Organizer: The Link Between Mortuary Analysis and Advances in Scientific Methods: Developing Cultural Context
  • Presentation- Discussant
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 16A (ACC) Time: 2:45 PM – 5:00 PM

Kooiman, Susan [48]

  • Session- Great Lakes
  • Presentation- A Multidimensional Approach to Functional Pottery Analysis: A Case Study in the Upper Great Lakes of North America
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 9A (ACC) Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Lovis, William [73], [229], [261]

  • Session- New World Ceramics
  • Co- Presentation- An Empirical Test of Shell Tempering as a Proto-Hominy Processor
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 11AB (ACC) Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Session Organizer: Marking the Land: Hunter-Gatherer Creation of Meaning Within Their Surroundings
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 13AB (ACC) Time: 1:15 PM – 4:30 PM
  • Forum- Error, Sensitivity Analysis and Uncertainty in Archaeological Computational Modeling
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 8B (ACC) Time: 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Meyers, Katy [36], [258]

  • Session Organizer- Place and Space in a Digital Landscape: New Perspectives on Analyzing and Sharing Geospatial Data in Archaeology
  • Presentation- Linking the Spaces of Resting Places: GIS, Anglo-Saxon Archaeology and Linked Open Data
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 13AB (ACC) Time: 9:45 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Session- Blogging Archaeology, Again
  • Presentation- Discussant
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 9B (ACC)Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • DDIG Lightning Talk
  • Friday, April 25, Room: 414 (HA) Time: 12:45 PM – 1:30PM

Michael, Amy [70], [303]

  • Session- The Link Between Mortuary Analysis and Advances in Scientific Methods: Developing Cultural Context
  • Presentation- Exploring the Relationship Between  Sampling Loci and Developmental Age in Isotopic Studies of Human Teeth: A Pilot Study from Kamenica, Albania
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 16A (ACC) Time: 2:45 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Session- Lighting Dark Passages Part 2: Celebrating 30 Years of James E. Brady’s Contribution to Cave Archaeology
  • Co-Presentation- Interpreting a Specialized Cache of Human Remains in Actun Kabul, Central Belize
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 12AB (ACC), Time: 1:00 PM – 4:45 PM

O’Gorman, Jodie [306]

  • Co-Presentation- Ethnicity and Childhood at Morton Village
  • Session- Bioarchaeology in North America
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 8B (ACC) Time: 3:15 PM – 4:45 PM

Pollard, Helen [254]

  • Session- City, Craft and Residence in Mesoamerica: Research Papers presented in Honor of Dan M. Helen
  • Presentation- Tula of the Toltecs and Tzintzuntzan of the Tarascans
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 9C (ACC) Time: 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Upton, Andrew [261]

  • Session- New World Ceramics
  • Presentation- An Empirical Test of Shell Tempering as a Proto-Hominy Processor
  • Saturday, April 26, Room: 11AB (ACC) Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Watrall, Ethan [215]

  • Session Organizer- Heritage Management
  • Presentation- msu.seum: a model for mobile public heritage and archaeology
  • Friday, April 25, Room: 8A (ACC), Time: 3:15 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Session Organizer- SAA DDIG Digital Archaeology Projects Lightning Talks session
  • Friday, April 25, Room: 414 (HA) Time: 12:45 PM – 1:30PM

Wrobel, Gabriel [70], [335]

  • Session- Lighting Dark Passages Part 2: Celebrating 30 Years of James E. Brady’s Contribution to Cave Archaeology
  • Co-Presentation- Interpreting a Specialized Cache of Human Remains in Actun Kabul, Central Belize
  • Co-Presentation- A New Approach for Calculation of MNI in Commingled Remains: Mortuary Analysis of Caves Branch Rockshelter, Belize
  • Thursday, April 24, Room: 12AB (ACC), Time: 1:00 PM – 4:45 PM
  • Session: Multi-Scalar Approaches to Archaeological Interpretation
  • Presentation: Understanding the Multi-Scalar Complexity in Archaeological Skeletal Collections and Its Implications for Analysis
  • Sunday, April 27, Room: 9B (ACC) Time: 8:00 AM – 11:30 AM
The Future of Blogging Campus Archaeology

The Future of Blogging Campus Archaeology

This is the final blog post in a series of larger blogging carnival posts hosted by the blog Doug’s Archaeology. The previous posts have focused on why we blog, what we blog about, and the potential issues of blogging. For the last month of the…

Blogging Campus Archaeology: A Retrospective

Blogging Campus Archaeology: A Retrospective

This is the fourth post as part of the Blogging Archaeology Carnival hosted by Doug’s Archaeology. To learn more about this, please see our first post: Why do we blog?, our second post: The Good, Bad and Ugly, and our third post: Our Best Posts.  This month, the…

Happy Digital Learning Day!

Happy Digital Learning Day!

Digital Learning Day Logo, via DLD Website
Digital Learning Day Logo, via DLD Website

Digital Learning Day was started by the Alliance for Learning, in partnership with the National Writing Project to celebrate innovative teaching practices that teach digital skills to students in order to improve their opportunities in the future. Digital learning consists of any instruction that uses technology to strengthen learning. Campus Archaeology has always been committed to using digital tools as a way to reach the public and explore the past. Students work with Geographic Information Systems to do spatial analyses, OMEKA to create online museum exhibits, and social media to share their work to the public.

Last year for Digital Learning Day, we hosted a workshop to teach social media and digital identity skills to students and faculty within MSU’s Department of Anthropology. The event was a major success, and many students came away with a new found knowledge of how to use digital tools to improve their networking, research, and teaching.

We decided to follow up last year’s event with a more informal brown bag discussion and hack session. Today, on Digital Learning Day 2014, a group of Anthropology students got together to review digital identity management, update their social media profiles, learn new technologies that appeared within the last year, and help each other develop their digital skills. At the event we reviewed the basic principles of maintaining a digital identity, answered some questions regarding use and best practices for employing different tech tools for research, and updated our online profiles. It was a very successful event with great discussions.

Campus Archaeology had another very successful Digital Learning Day, and we are looking forward to next year!

Announcing ANP 491: Methods in Cultural Heritage

Announcing ANP 491: Methods in Cultural Heritage

To apply for this course, please click here for the application and send it to Dr. Goldstein at lynneg@msu.edu