My Last Post as Campus Archaeologist…

Katie Scharra and I after working on the West Circle Steam II project, via Katy Meyers
Katie Scharra and I after working on the West Circle Steam II project, via Katy Meyers

This is my last official week as the MSU Campus Archaeologist. I’ve held the position for the past two years, and it has been one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences. When I first was given the position in Fall 2011 by Dr. Goldstein, I was only in my second year of grad school at MSU, and knew very little about the university itself. However, over the past two years I have learned so much about the campus and surrounding area. I’m awed by the wonderful and deep history this campus has, and how traditions have developed and changed throughout the years. I’ve gone from knowing only the academic buildings I took class in, to knowing almost every building on campus including the demolished buildings lying beneath our feet.

During my tenure I’ve led over a dozen archaeological projects, worked with a number of graduate and undergraduate programs, and had the opportunity to meet various staff and faculty from around the campus. I’ve excavated the first dorm, helped reveal an unknown boiler building beneath East Circle Drive, done large surveys in MSU’s Sacred Space, participated in teaching at Grandparents University and Science Fest, and have aided in creating a strong online presence for Campus Archaeology. I learned how to teach archaeology from helping other graduate students with their work to teaching elementary school kids about what archaeologists do. Some unexpected benefits were that I learned about the importance of working with the university administration and physical plant- this job truly taught me the importance of knowing the inner workings of the university, not just the academic side. I’ve learned about running a team in survey, planning all the stages of an excavation, and has helped me so much with developing my Cultural Resource Management skills.

Excavating Saints' Rest's basement, via Katy Meyers
Excavating Saints’ Rest’s basement, via Katy Meyers

Some of my favorite memories from the past two years have come from working with Campus Archaeology. I’ll never forget working with Eve on excavating the Morrill Boiler building while the massive excavators and dump trucks whizzed by our heads, or when Katie and I were called out to investigate a random cement pipe 40 feet below the ground surface while construction men joked about us finding Jimmy Hoffa (we didn’t, it was an abandoned sewage line). I had such an amazing time teaching at Grandparents University, and I loved being able to give them an archaeological tour of campus. This past summer I was able to excavate Saints’ Rest and discover a portion of the basement and the chimney, both amazing finds discovered with an amazing team. I have been able to work with so many wonderful staff members and construction crews from MSU’s Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities, Granger Construction, Barton Marlow, BBR Construction and others, who were always quick to help and deeply interested in the results of our work.

I owe so much to Dr. Goldstein for not only giving me the opportunity to hold this position, but for constantly mentoring me throughout the process. She gave me freedom to develop my own skills and run the day to day operations of Campus Archaeology, but was always there with advice and support whenever I needed it. I know I have grown substantially in my abilities in running a team, managing archaeological projects and communicating results, and I can attribute this growth to Dr. Goldstein’s support and guidance. Thank you so much.

Thanks is also due to the MSU Anthropology department and the students within it for helping with research, excavations and surveys throughout the year. I also want to thank the MSU Graduate School and Dean Klomparens for the support of the program and the graduate students working within it. Thank you to MSU’s Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities for welcoming me to all the construction meetings and projects, and aiding with the protection of MSU’s heritage. A big thank you to the MSU Archives and Historical Records for constantly helping us to learn about the campus, uncover mysteries like the Morrill Boiler and Beal’s Creek, and aiding in writing the final reports. Finally, a big thank you to everyone who ever tweeted, commented on our blog, or wrote on our Facebook wall. You keep the conversation and discussion about MSu Campus Archaeology going even when the excavations have stopped, and give us the digital support we need.

Working for Campus Archaeology has given me a strong sense of place and belonging here at MSU- I genuinely feel like a Spartan now. I’m proud to have held this position, and to be the first female to have it! This is such a unique program, and I look forward to continuing to work with Campus Archaeology in the upcoming years as part of the research team.

-Katy Meyers

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