In the Lab with a CAP Intern…
This isn’t my first time writing a blog for MSU’s Campus Archaeology program, but I think it is a good idea to give an introduction anyways. My name is Alec Wells, and I am a junior at Michigan State University as well as the intern for the Campus Archaeology Program (CAP). Before I go on, I just want to express how thrilled I am to be writing this blog, and working for this amazing program. I’d be hard press to go to any other school in the country and find an opportunity like this.
It’s been about a month and a half since I officially started my internship and I think there’s plenty for me to share about what I’ve been doing so far. I actually had a pretty surreal experience when Chris first showed me the lab that I would be working in; it brought to mind memories of a childhood home that I lived in, a house that evoked a sense of history and smelled like the past. I’m not really sure why that’s the case, but I’m going to take it as a sign that I’m in the right place. Chris Stawski, the campus archaeologist, has given me a pretty snazzy setup in the lab with instructions for cataloging the artifacts that were excavated over this past summer during the Campus Archaeology Field School. The cataloging process is straightforward enough, but it does get interesting when I get a bag of 300 glass shards and I have to sort through them systematically to figure out which ones are from window panes and which ones are from bottles. Occasionally I’ll get the random rock that is clearly not an artifact with cultural significance, but was collected because of the uncertainty of a field school student (Half the time that I’ve come across “just rocks”, I soon found out the original person who collected them as artifacts was in fact me!)
It’s really enjoyable to be working with the artifacts that I helped excavate this past summer. Not just because I get to have the occasional jolt of realization that comes whenever I see a familiar artifact, but identifying and re-labeling the artifacts comes with ease because they are so familiar to me. This semester won’t be all about familiarity for me though; I’ll be participating in new CAP digs all across campus, specifically, behind the MSU computer center and near the Life Sciences building. On top of the new digs, I’ll be focusing a lot of my efforts into a personal project that will be presented at the end of the spring semester for the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Once again, I am very excited to be working with this program and will be doing my best to fulfill the duties as an intern for MSU Campus Archaeology. Keep checking the website for my blogs, which will keep you informed as to the life of a CAP intern!
Author: Alec Wells