This Week’s Surveys

This week we are doing two surveys for Campus Archaeology on MSU’s campus. This first is part of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) and the second is part of the demolition of the Old Botany greenhouses.

The FRIB project was awarded to MSU by the US Department of Energy Office of Science. FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand elements. This project is important not only because it will allow us to study rare isotopes in a new way, but it also is an honor that MSU was able to get the project. At this point in the project, the area is ready for construction and awaiting approval from the US Department of Energy. Since the project has begun, Campus Archaeology has been a pivotal part. As part of the bid to get the project, it was required that an archaeological survey and historical research would be completed.

Now that the project is underway, we are beginning our part. We are currently surveying the location where all the dirt from the project will go. The actual footprint of the building isn’t that large, but it is extremely deep. You can watch the progress live on their webcam: FRIB Webcam of Construction. The dig for the actual building will create thousands of trucks of dirt that must all go somewhere. You may have already noticed that along Mt. Hope Road near Farm Lane, there are new piles of dirt. This entire area, from the new MSUFCU to the railroad track will be filled in with dirt. Before this happens, Campus Archaeology will conduct a survey of the area. Prior to the 1950’s, this location was a farmstead complete with a farmhouse and outbuildings. Survey done last week and this week will determine where those buildings are and check for any unanticipated historic or prehistoric features.

Survey of the Greenhouse Green Space

The second project is the documentation of the Old Botany Greenhouses. You probably have noticed these rather run down structures if you’ve walked through the parking lot near Natural Sciences and Laboratory Row. The greenery that is within the greenhouses right now is not actually part of research, it’s natural growth! The buildings haven’t been officially used in a while, and have been taken over by the plants which were once pruned and part of the botany program. The greenhouses were constructed 80-100 years ago, and have outlived their use. They also present a health issue since the windows themselves are caulked with asbestos. Over the next year the greenhouses and headhouse will be removed and made into green space. Prior to the demolition of the building, Campus Archaeology will be documenting the building itself. There aren’t actually good maps of the building or pictures of it, so we will be taking measurements and photographing it. This way, we have a record of what the building once was so previous archaeologists won’t be surprised! We have already done a survey around the green space, and actually found a number of artifacts.

Come out and visit us at Old Botany Greenhouses on Wednesday morning or the Mt Hope survey on Friday morning and afternoon! The weather reports say we might get some snow, but that won’t slow us down!

Author: Katy Meyers Emery

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