In CAP this year, we’ve been brainstorming about public outreach activities. We’ve been focusing on activities for kids – who sometimes need a little extra help engaging with archaeological materials. This is my first year as a graduate student at MSU, and my first year …
As we near the end of the semester, I want to reflect on one of my favorite experiences of fall 2022: the Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference! This year’s conference was organized by: Dr. Michael S. Nassaney, Professor Emeritus of Western Michigan University; our own Director …
While cataloguing artifacts from Service Road, we stumbled across an intriguing piece of a milk glass jar featuring an applied color label with bright red and blue hues. I say it was intriguing because many of the artifacts we have left from Service Road are unlabeled or small fragments, providing few clues beyond their shape of what they once held or were used for. So it was no surprise that the faint etchings of letters and color on this container drew my eye – however, my intrigue quickly turned into bewilderment when I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what those letters said!
The mix of fading and unique font produced the perfect storm, which wasn’t helped by the fact that the bottle was missing most of its bottom, with only “DE / .A.” still visible. While this did clue us in that this bottle was “MADE IN U.S.A.”, if a maker’s mark existed, it was lost along with the whole back side of the jar. So we knew the letters were the key to solve this puzzle!
After some debate with another CAP fellow on whether the last two letters were a “ZA” or were not letters but “2A,” and the use of some eye drops to see if that would help clear up my vision, we decided it was time to try another strategy. First, we tried using the UV light method that Aubree, another CAP fellow, introduced in her blog last year – however, while we have seen great results on other artifacts, it wasn’t able to do the trick for us with this particular label. So we moved on to Plan B: holding up a good ole iPhone flashlight behind the label to provide some back light. And it worked!
We could now make out what we thought was an “R U T M Z A.” Although Plan C, or a quick google search, helped us realize we were a little off, as google suggested that what we were really looking for was in fact “NUTMEG” – and it was right! (And maybe a bit too smart for its own good!) And with that, our now our artifact is no longer a mystery, but one of a set of Dutch stylized spice jars, often purchased by collectors today.
To complement our struggles reading the label, our archival research similarly led us down a few rabbit holes, as these jars have been attributed to a few different companies, including McKee Tipp City and Hazel Atlas. However, after matching our artifact to a picture of a spice jar for sale online with its brand label still in place, we realized that they were likely made as part of Frank’s Dove Brand, by the Frank Tea and Spice Company, which produced spices, food extracts, food colorings, apple butter, sauces, olive oil, and olives – quite the array of goods! Originally started in 1896 by three brothers in Cincinnati, Ohio, who aimed to replace the purchase of bulk goods with smaller, self-sized products, you might be more familiar with their Frank’s® RedHot® buffalo sauce, a popular product still in stores today!
As for our artifact, and the production of nutmeg jars of the Dutch style, the trademark logo dates between 1938 and 1996. Although a big range, this overlaps with other dates we’ve found of other Service Road artifacts and gives us some insight into ingredients used for cooking – we can only imagine some of the nutmeg recipes used by the person who threw away this jar!
Greetings! This is Dr. Stacey Camp, Director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. This past year has been one of constant change for our program. We have a new Campus Archaeologist, Ben Akey, after saying goodbye to our last Campus Archaeology, Jeff Burnett. We have …
This past summer, the Campus Archaeology program had the opportunity to offer a field school to archaeology students from MSU and across the state—our first field school since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Directly taking part in ongoing CAP research into life in the …
First things first — Thanking our former Campus Archaeologist
As we move into the new academic year and welcome a new set of CAP Fellows, we also say our farewells to Jeff Burnett, our outgoing Campus Archaeologist. Jeff oversaw the program in a challenging era, effectively managing shifts in CAP’s approach to public outreach, research, and fieldwork in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. We’d like to express our sincere gratitude for his guidance, support, and comradery during this time.
Our 2022-2023 Graduate Fellows
Aubree Marshall (she/her/hers) is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, with a focus in bioarchaeology. This is her second year serving as a CAP fellow. Her research focuses on the relationship between dietary access and social identity of the ancient Maya from Belize. Aubree will be working with undergraduates to better understand the use of UV light in archaeological contexts. She is excited to continue participating in archaeological surveys, artifact cataloging, and public outreach through CAP.
Emma Creamer (she/they) is currently a second-year graduate student who is pursuing the thesis track MA in the ACM&MS program as well as a graduate certificate in community engagement. They got their BA in anthropology with a minor in classical archaeology from the University of Michigan. Using their background in community-driven archaeological research, Emma is interested in community-based participatory methodologies in archaeology and how those methods can provide a framework through which to increase community engagement and collaboration in museums. This year, Emma will be participating in the CAP fellowship, as well as the CHII fellowship, and continuing their work exploring community engagement strategies at the Broad Art Museum.
Emily Nisch (she/her/they/them) is a first year archaeology PhD student. She works in digital archaeology and cultural heritage and plans to focus on historic Native American boarding schools. This is Emily’s first year in CAP. She is looking forward to exploring the intersection of digital archaeology, public engagement, and campus archaeology.
Holly Long (she/her/hers) is a first-year biological anthropology doctoral student, focusing on forensic anthropology. Her research interests include tracing the evolution of traits used in the biological profile and excavations of commingled remains. This is Holly’s first year as a CAP fellow and hopes to gain more archaeological experience that she can apply to forensic investigations and other research. She also hopes this work will help her make connections across the different anthropological subfields by working with the other CAP fellows.
Rhian Dunn: Rhian (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year biological anthropology doctoral student, focusing in forensic anthropology. Her research interests include human variation and improving aspects of the biological profile (i.e., human identification) and her dissertation will focus on bias in skeletal collections often used to create forensic anthropological methods. Rhian is starting her fourth year as a CAP fellow and is looking forward to continuing work for outreach and engagement, both in person and online. She also hopes to continue working with some archival data and previously collected artifacts currently housed in the CAP lab.
Clara Devota (she/her/hers) is a second-year biological anthropology doctoral student, specializing in forensic anthropology. Her research interests include improving methods for human identification and cranial blunt force trauma and repair. This is Clara’s first year with CAP and she is excited to partake in the many public outreach events and gain more experience in archaeological practices.
Victoria Schwarz: Tori (She/Her/Hers) is a first-year doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant with the Department of Anthropology. Her archaeological focus is on prehistoric human-environmental interactions in the Central Andes of Peru, and she specializes in geoarchaeology. Tori is a first year CAP Fellow, and she is looking forward to public engagement and outreach through social media, as well as developing skills in report writing.
Campus Archaeologist Benjamin Akey (they/them) is a fourth-year doctoral student in anthropology, specializing in historical archaeology. Returning to CAP for their fourth consecutive year, Ben is excited to take on a new role within the program supporting fellows in their research projects, organizing outreach events, and protecting the cultural resources of campus through coordination with the university and external stakeholders. Outside of the Campus Archaeology Program, their dissertation research focuses on the relationship between labor, racialization, and the negotiation of belonging in early-twentieth century Japanese American communities of the Pacific Northwest.
Summer in Michigan brings warm weather, thunderstorms, beach days and, for Campus Archaeology at least, shovel testing, construction monitoring, and CAP’s on campus field school. As we head into a new summer of Campus Archaeology we recap some of the great projects our impressive CAP …
While looking through the artifacts recovered from the 2020 Service Road project, the CAP crew found an interesting green glass bottle fragment. After further investigation, I found that this fragment was the remaining portion of a Sprite bottle made by the Chattanooga Glass Company (as indicated by the “C” in a circle logo) (Lockhart et al. n.d. (b)). But what could make this find even cooler? The name of a national park embossed into the base!
Now I know you’re wondering, why is Sequoia National Park on the bottom of a 1960s-1970s Sprite bottle? Great question!
It turns out that Coca-Cola and the National Park Service have had a long history of collaborating with one another. It all began in the 1930s when a Coca-Cola ad consisted of bears drinking Coca-Cola in Yellowstone National Park (Hanna n.d.). Additional advertisements soon appeared, showing national park landscapes and cowboys drinking Coca-Cola.
How does our Sequoia National Park Sprite bottle fit into the picture?
Well, this bottle was part of a promotion of the national parks and national monuments titled Golden Eagle (Hassett 2016; Lockhart 2011). In 1966, the U.S. government was promoting a “golden permit”, priced at seven dollars, that would allow families to visit any of the national parks or monuments as often as they wanted from April 1966 to March 1967 (Hassett 2016). This led to a partnership between the National Park Service and The Coca-Cola Company to promote this permit. Urging people to “See America,” the promotion included a bottle cap sweepstakes with a $33,000 grand prize (McCarthy 2019). Additionally, thirty-six different national parks and national monuments were embossed onto the base of seven to ten-ounce Sprite bottles (Hassett 2016; Lockhart 2011; McCarthy 2019). The national park/monument bottles were produced by many bottle manufacturers and distributed to the public, providing an advertisement for the National Park Service (Hassett 2016). The Golden Eagle Passport has since been discontinued and has been replaced by the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Annual Pass (National Park Service 2019).
While the first of these Sprite bottles were introduced in 1966, the latest date that these bottles were created would have probably been 1978 (Lockhart 2011). The primary labeling style of these bottles was white applied color labels with dimples along the sides (Lockhart 2011). While these bottles are not produced today, bottle enthusiasts and beachcombing groups still will collect these unique pieces (Hassett 2016, McCarthy 2019).
The Golden Eagle promotion would not be the last time we see collaborations between the two groups. Since the 1960s, Coca-Cola has provided funding for multiple aspects relating to national parks and monuments. This includes funding for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, funding for visitor education centers at Yellowstone and Gettysburg National Military Parks, and funding for recycling and trail programs at national parks (Hanna n.d., McCarthy 2019).
Since CAP’s identification of the Sequoia National Park Sprite bottle, two more Golden Eagle-era Sprite bottles have been cataloged, also from the 2020 Service Road excavations. One has Olympic National Park on its base, while the other has Isle Royale National Park. Both were produced by Anchor Hocking (Lockhart et al. n.d. (a)). Hopefully, future excavations on campus will produce even more of these unique Sprite bottles!
Hassett, Jana 2016 Sprite and the National Parks. Electronic document, https://frontierhomestead.org/homestead-telegraph/category/glass+bottles, accessed February, 2022.
Lockhart, Bill 2011. Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Alamogordo (1955-present). In Soda Bottles and Bottling at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Privately published.
Lockhart, Bill, Bill Lindsey, Carol Serr, Pete Schulz, and Beau Schriever No date (a). “Manufacturer’s Marks and Other Logos on Glass Containers.” Article, sha.org. Available online, https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/ALogoTable.pdf. Accessed February, 2022.
Lockhart, Bill, Bill Lindsey, Carol Serr, Pete Schulz, and Beau Schriever No date (b). “Manufacturer’s Marks and Other Logos on Glass Containers.” Article, sha.org. Available online, https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/CLogoTable.pdf. Accessed February, 2022.
McCarthy, Mary T 2019 Sprite Delight. Electronic document, https://www.beachcombingmagazine.com/blogs/news/sprite-delight, accessed February, 2022.
National Park Service 2019 2019 National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program. Electronic document, https://www.nps.gov/amis/planyourvisit/passes.htm, accessed February, 2022.
Picking Pittsburgh 2021 Vintage Sprite 7oz Green Glass Bottle Embosed Dots Coca Cola Company National Parks Monuments. Electronic document, https://www.pickingpittsburgh.com/listing/508567537/vintage-sprite-7oz-green-glass-bottle, accessed February, 2022.
It has been nearly 167 years since Michigan State University first opened its doors in 1855. Starting with only three buildings, five faculty members, and 63 male students, it has grown to encompass 5,192 acres and has over 50,000 students enrolled, making it the state’s …