Morrill Hall postcard, via MSU Archives and Historical Records
With the semester coming quickly to a close, so is my research on the Women’s Building, otherwise known as Morrill Hall. I’ve spent all year finding out as much as I can about the beginning of the life of that “good ol’ red building” that sits on the north-east side of Michigan State’s campus. Spending a lot of time at the MSU Archives (a big thanks to those at the Archives who helped me) I focused on the years between 1900 and 1925 (1900 being the year the Women’s Building was constructed). I found out some pretty interesting facts about not only the building, but the women who lived inside the building. These women were pioneers; the first to enter a school full of men and to prove that co-education was the next step in university education.
However, if you want to know more about what I’ve found out at the MSU Archives, you’ll have to stop by the MSU Union on Friday, April 12th at around 9:30am, where I’ll be presenting at the UURAF. The University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum is held in the spring of every year for undergraduate Michigan State students to show the rest of the school what research they have been conducting all year. Research can be presented either orally, on a poster, or performed (for those students showcasing their scholarship through artistic work, such as dance, music or theater). There are twenty research categories total, ranging from Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (be sure look for my friend Matt Smith’s poster!), to Psychology, to Social Science, which will be the category in which I’ll be presenting. Presenters will be asked questions on their research, and constructive feedback will be given by the judges. Judging happens throughout the day, and is based on certain criteria, such as delivery, elements and visual aids. Last year five hundred and sixty students presented at the forum, and I have no doubt there will be even more students this year.
For my research, my mentors, Dr. Lynne Goldstein and Katy Meyers, and I decided that a poster would be the best approach for my presentation. To be honest, designing the poster was harder than I had anticipated. It’s all designed on the computer, and PowerPoint is used for this. However, PowerPoint must be set to certain dimensions (40” by 32”), so trying to view the whole poster on my tiny laptop screen was, well, inconvenient to say the least (as some of my friends would say, “first world problems”). Anyway, I eventually got all of my information placed on the poster only to realize, with the help of Katy, that it was extremely cluttered and disorganized. So, back to square one, I had to reorder and re-place everything, but eventually I got it to look presentable. The poster is in the process of being printed, and will be ready to go Friday morning.
So come on by to the MSU Union this Friday, to not only see some pretty interesting research on Morrill Hall (if I do say so myself), but also a lot of pretty incredible research from my undergraduate peers at MSU. It’ll be an all day event, so even if you can’t make it at 9:30am for my presentation, there will be plenty of other chances during the day to see other presentations. Come support all of MSU’s undergraduate researchers, and I hope to see you there!
Make sure to visit our interns at the UURAF this Friday, April 12th! At 9:30am in the Gold Room at the MAC Union, Bethany will be presenting her poster on Morrill Hall, and Katie and Dana will be presenting on their classification of the Saints Rest material. Feel free to visit and ask them questions about their research.
For more on the UURAF, visit: http://urca.msu.edu/uuraf/
This Friday, Sabrina Perlman and Katy Meyers will be presenting a poster on behalf of Campus Archaeology at the Graduate Academic Conference hosted by the Council of Graduate Students here at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel Conference Center. This is the fifth year of the GAC, a cross-disciplinary and multi-institutional conference that promotes innovation, collaboration, and professionalization. Over the past four years, the GAC has provided a great great opportunity for graduate and professional students to come together, share research, and initiate discussion and feedback. It also provides a space for networking, recognizing outstanding achievements, and receiving critique of ideas in a constructive environment. It allows for collaborative work between students and faculty and between research institutions. The keynote speaker is Michael Sharber from Western Michigan University, co-founder of GreenLancer Energy Inc. The presentation schedule and more information about the GAC is located here.
This conference is the perfect opportunity for Sabrina to introduce the Heart of Campus project she has been working on since last semester. The poster being presented is entitled, “The Heart of Michigan State University’s Campus: Investigation of MSU’s Changing Landscape, Identity and Priorities.” It essentially asks the question, “Where is the Heart of Campus?” both today and throughout history. Campus Archaeology Program has divided the first 100 years of MSU’s campus into four thematic time periods using archaeological and archival evidence. These time periods represent different stages of campus development in relation to the shifting focus of the college and greater social processes. The purpose of these groupings is to demonstrate shifts in foci and development into MSU. For each period, there is a central location that represents the Heart of Campus, the space where students and faculty convened together, reflecting their sense of place and their identity as a college. As we examine the previous centers of campus and how they reveal the different focal points of MSU’s evolving landscape which correlate with the historical, educational, and regional realities of each period, we are interested in what current students consider the Heart of Campus today and what that means for our collective identity.
Each time period and respective Heart of Campus is determined by archival and archaeological resources that demonstrate what people were experiencing in the greater world and on campus and how these shaped interactions with the MSU landscape and buildings. These centers are as follows: 1855-1870- College Hall and Saints’ Rest, 1870-1900- The Sacred Space, 1900-1925- Red Cedar River, and 1925-1955- Beaumont Tower. Where is the Heart of Campus today? Students will be asked to pinpoint with a sticker on a current map of MSU which location or space on campus represents their collective identity and the interactions of the college with the greater world. If you are interested to see why these locations were the Heart of Campus for these periods and the shifts in identity that the campus was undergoing at each time, come visit the poster on Friday, February 15 from 1-3 pm. We would love to hear your feedback on our categorizations and your perspectives on today’s Heart of Campus and the future trajectory of our institution.
With the help of director Dr. Goldstein and Campus Archaeologist Katy Meyers, working on this poster presentation has been a focusing force for Sabrina in her project and has enabled her to look at the data concisely and categorize the information thematically. This will be invaluable to the completion of her collaborative paper on the Heart of Campus for Campus Archaeology Program and hopefully demonstrate the importance of our work at MSU.
Things have been quite busy here at the Consortium for Archaeological Research! We’ve been busy planning and preparing for a major conference that our department is hosting – the upcoming 2012 Annual Midwest Archaeological Conference (MAC) – which will be held from October 18th – 21st. The MAC is a regional organization with about 500 members from across the midcontinental U.S. and publishes Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, a well-respected, peer-reviewed journal. Archaeologists from all levels of academia attend the MAC annual conference, thus fostering a connection between faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students.
Since 100’s of people are expected to attend the MAC this year, Campus Archaeology is excited about the opportunity to showcase some of our work to our guests! So, what does CAP have in store for the upcoming MAC conference?
CAP Appearances in the MAC Schedule
1) On Thursday, October 18th, from 2:30 – 4pm: Dr. Lynne Goldstein (Director of CAP) is the Chair and Co-Organizer (along with Dr. Ethan Watrall) of a session titled: “Communicating Archaeology in the 21st Century.” Dr. Goldstein will present the following paper: “Teaching Archaeology via Campus Archaeology: What Have We Learned?”. This talk will discuss the benefits of the program and how it has evolved over the past 5 years.
2) Once this session is over, the MSU Campus Archaeology Walking Tour commences at 4:15pm. This tour – which will last approximately 1 hour – will highlight several important historic parts of MSU’s campus, including Saints’ Rest. This tour will take place either as a walking tour, weather permitting, or a ‘dry’ indoor tour that will consist of a powerpoint and talk, which participants can then explore campus on their own later.
Things to do while visiting MSU for the MAC: Food & Drink
Since attending professional conferences can be exhausting, it might help to take some time off and enjoy the beautiful scenery on and around campus and the wonderful shops along Grand River Avenue! Here are some basic tips.
1) In need of coffee and people watching? Head on over to Espresso Royale for the opportunity to decompress after a long day of papers and meetings. Weather permitting, you might even be able to enjoy your coffee in their outdoor seating area. For those that enjoy options, Wanderer’s Teahouse also has excellent coffee and tea (note: I’m a big fan of their crepes!).
2) In need of a delicious and greasy burger? Crunchy’s has been providing excellent food, beer, and overall service for 30 years! If you’re lucky, the female servers might happen to be sporting their fake mustaches.
3) Hungry AND thirsty? In need of delicious fermented beverages? The Peanut Barrel (located right next door to Espresso Royale) is able to satiate most of your needs; they offer several kinds of beer on tap – including Michigan brews.
4) For more tips on where to go and what to see, just ask any CAP staff member and/or any MSU department of anthropology faculty or student; we are more than happy to help!
This post is week 4 (and the final post) of the Blogging in Archaeology questions posed by Colleen Morgan of the blog Middle Savagery.
Question: Consider the act of publication for this blog carnival. How could we best capture the interplay, the multimedia experience of blogging as a more formalized publication? What would be the best outcome for this collection of insights from archaeological bloggers?
The MSU Campus Archaeology Crew
As a finale to this blogging month, we discussed this week’s question as a group and voted on what we thought would be the best way to ‘publish’ this collection of blog posts and discussions. We came up with three ideas that we all like.
First, we think that the SAA should put the “discussion” on their website. This could be done a couple of different ways – as a “static” item, or as something dynamic (we prefer this).
Second, we think that it would be useful to publish a version of the posts and the process background as an article in the SAA Archaeological Record. This would reach people who might not see the blogs in another form.
Finally, we suggest a blogroll as a potential way to both continue the conversation and expand it, as well as expanding access to the blogs of those who participated.
An official peer-reviewed article is also a possibility, but there was not general agreement on the form or nature of this option. The above 3 ideas seem logical to us.
Thanks for allowing us to participate! We’ve had a lot of fun!
This post is week 2 of the Blogging in Archaeology questions posed by Colleen Morgan of the blog Middle Savagery.
Question 2: In our last question, many emphasized the public access that blogging brings to archaeology, the option to ‘phone a friend’ as Campus Archaeology’s own Kristin Sewell stated. Blogging gives new scholars a chance to speak out, to debunk 2012 foolishness and to give a little bit back to the public that usually signs our paychecks in one way or another. Though it is generally embraced, public outreach can be incredible difficult, tricky and prone to hidden downsides. Blogging archaeology is often fraught with tensions that are sometimes not immediately apparent. Beyond the general problems that come with performing as a public intellectual, what risks do archaeologists take when they are making themselves available to the public via blogging? What are the unexpected consequences of blogging? How do you choose what to share?
Terry is officially part of the SAA session on blogging, but he is also a key member of the MSU Campus Archaeology team. Please see his excellent post on this question at http://dirt.terrypbrock.com/
Bloggers are becoming one of the more public faces of archaeology, and as scholars, we are given a certain amount of credibility in the eyes of the general audience. As the public voices of archaeology, we have an obligation to present the data in a way that is both understandable and shows the construction of our arguments. How we interpret evidence and come to our conclusions may be a well known process to our academic peers, but the general audience does not normally know the bridges we make from data to theory. I’m not saying we’re superheros, but with great power comes great responsibility. We have a very specific knowledge, and it is our job to convey our full arguments to the public. We have the power to clarify and debunk the problems of more popular news sources, but we also have to remember that we can be prone to the same problems if we are not careful about the arguments we make. The more clear the argument is, the more evidence we reveal, the more we open ourselves to criticism- but this is just part of the blogging life. To summarize: bloggers, like superheros, need to wield their public power for the greater good, fix the injustices of the popular media, accept the criticisms gracefully, and not fall to the kryptonite of implicit arguments.
Blogging for the Campus Archaeology program at Michigan State University has been a wonderful opportunity to share with the community our goals, our plans and our up to the minute details with regard to research and investigation. That being said, the CAP program has a wonderful, albeit unique, situation in which we can share details about our research and excavations to the public; so unique that we can use blogging and social media to show in real-time where we are, what we are digging, and what we are finding. This security and protection offered to CAP and the archaeology on campus is not always the case. As archaeologists, we must be very careful as to what information we are sharing via blogging, both for intellectual property issues as well as for the sake of protecting the very archaeology we are trying to share. I know of many tales where the misuse of blogging, media, or other public forms of information about archaeology has led to the looting of both sites and intellectual property. This is a very thin line we walk, and we must be very careful to adhere to the principles endowed to us as being professionals in the field of anthropological archaeology. And the sword cuts both ways: just as there is no way to filter what degree of professional and scholarly work is available to readers about archaeology in the blogging realm, there is also no way to gauge the intentions of the vast public we communicate with.
Lynne Goldstein (CAP Director):
I think Terry’s response to this question provides Campus Archaeology’s general perspective when it comes to blogging. We deal with many different audiences, many of whom have conflicting, or simply different, interests. It is not hard to imagine situations in which we could say something that could delight one set of readers and infuriate others. Since we regularly interact with everyone from the President of the university to the Head of Physical Plant to staff, faculty, students, alums, and the general public, it is a tricky path to navigate. In addition, our blog posts are explicitly under the Campus Archaeology website, so the link is a direct, not just an assumed, one.
Although Campus Archaeology has been very careful and has generally not had problems due to our posts, I can think of two examples that may be useful to share. First, we are always aware that we are inextricably linked to MSU. If we are about to take a stand or post something that is even potentially problematic for MSU, we not only think long and hard about it, but I also warn MSU’s administration that it’s coming. In my experience here, if people are forewarned, problems are minimized. No one likes to be blindsided, and people always remember that you were considerate enough to forewarn them. We also occasionally post more than one side of an issue to make it clear that we understand the complexities of the situation.
The second example has to do with someone else’s blog during job interviews. In interviewing candidates, one of our faculty members found a link to a candidate’s Facebook page and blog. There were posts and photos that our faculty member found offensive and potentially unethical, and raised this as an issue at a faculty meeting. The candidate was called, and said that it was an old page that should have been removed. While some faculty were willing to chalk it up to youth, others were not, and this candidate provided the department an easy way to eliminate one of many candidates. Was this right or fair? I’m not sure, but I do know that when there are many candidates for a job (which there always are these days), you don’t want to give a potential employer excuses to eliminate you.
I don’t think people should be afraid of blogging or afraid of offending someone, but bloggers need to be strategic, and conscious of the potential impact of their posts. The question I am at a loss to answer is: How do we identify a credible or good blog? Amateur archaeologists and students ask me this question all of the time, and I am never sure how to answer it.
Last week’s responses discussed the range of advantages blogging offers and highlighted the benefits of broad access to information and the dissemination of knowledge. This week’s question addresses the other side of the coin: broad access to misinformation and the introduction and reproduction of inaccuracies, scholarly errors, and all too common lapses in personal judgment. How do we, bloggers, decide what to write about?
My blog is personal, admittedly. I write about my work, my formative strategies, my ideas, and to a limited extent, my life. Writing personally can be a slippery ledge to stand on. As Terry pointed out, archaeologists represent the public face of archaeology, organizations and institutions—made up of other professionals— and ourselves as scholars and intellectuals. How can we protect ourselves and our profession from the seductive lure of the virtual soapbox and the instant gratification afforded by the medium?
Here are ten rules to blog by:
1. Scientific responsibility- As scientists, we owe it to the discipline to share our data once we’re done with it, to publish our results and to present our work for peer review. Like money, information is just paper if you keep it to yourself.
2. Respect thought genealogy- There are very few new ideas. Know where yours are coming from and cite your sources.
3. Professional integrity- Be cautious when publishing location information. You may inadvertently put artifacts or sites at risk not only to looters or vandals but to unintentional damage caused by the curious.
4. Accuracy the first time- Remember your blog is written in indelible ink. Once you put it out there, it’s there forever.
5. Admit what you don’t know- There’s nothing wrong with recognizing holes in your research, asking new questions, and acknowledging the need for further study. This is far better than proclaiming absolute knowledge and it will save you from the embarrassment of having a luminary in your field point out the gaps in your research to you and others.
6. Check yourself- Before you publish your post, review it for potentially offensive language, sexism, racism, and intellectual condescension. This may seem like a no-brainer but play it safe and do it anyway. This is not about being politically correct. It’s about being smart. Keep your emotions in check.
7. Archaeology is anthropology- We study human populations not just biological specimens or historical data points. Remember it’s about the people.
8. Compassion- Be sensitive to the wishes of descendants and the communities you’re working with. Your data is their history.
9. Personal integrity- If you write about antics in the field or professional shenanigans, remember you’re writing about your colleagues and blogging about them is nothing short of gossip.
10. Protect your future- Don’t give future employers a reason to eliminate you from the hiring pool and don’t give colleagues a reason to suspect lapses in your otherwise sound judgment. Everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn’t mean you should photograph them and put them on Facebook.
Blogging represents a relationship between archaeologists and the public, and thus the consequences are bi-directional. What we chose to put on the internet not only affects our image, but the learning ability of the public as well. Over-sharing is not limited to unfortunate photographs and details of your weekend bender. Information overload can discourage public interest. Like a finely crafted museum exhibit that balances aesthetics, hard data, and public expectations, a blog that encourages creative thinking instead of endless facts and dominant opinions will be far more likely to reach a greater audience. The opposite can also become a problem, when archaeology becomes digital for the sake of being digital without a specific goal in mind. Archaeologists should ponder beforehand a model for an attractive and engaging blog. Themes that tie entries together and how the archaeological process is presented are both important points of consideration. CAP is an obvious example—our theme is the cultural heritage of MSU. Our blog is a news tool, but also challenges readers of all levels to become immersed in the process of archaeology.
Over the next four weeks, the Campus Archaeology team members will be participating in answering a series of questions posed by Colleen Morgan (@clmorgan), on her blog, Middle Savagery, in order to prepare for the SAA Conference session on Blogging in Archaeology. Terry Brock will be presenting a paper in the session (read his responses here), but we will all participate in answering the questions over the next few weeks.
Question 1: The emergence of the short form, or blog entry, is becoming a popular way to transmit a wide range of archaeological knowledge. What is the place of this conversation within academic, professional, and public discourse? Simply put, what can the short form do for archaeology?
Katy Meyers: Blogging as Community and Open Access Knowledge
Blogging in archaeology is a powerful tool for the transmission of information and opinion in a more accessible and open format. It allows for a range of both knowledge, often not covered in professional journals or magazines, to be dispersed among the discipline and the public. However, as blogging increases as a form of scholarly communication, the question is how we fit this type of knowledge into our preconceptions of academic work. These brief snippets of archaeological data are critiqued as unmonitored, un-refereed, and not subject to the same standards as the classic forms of scholarly work. However, this is not entirely true. As much as the author does have free range over their opinions, they are subject to the critique of the greater archaeological audience. Blogging is a way of throwing your ideas into the academic community; your work is open to criticism and debate.
This new form of information sharing is a way to open the conversation to all levels of academic, and speed the growth of our collective knowledge. Instead of open dialogue between scholars around the world limited to large professional conferences, blogging serves as a way to continue the conversation throughout the year with anyone who can access a computer. In the MSU Campus Archaeology Program, blogging is a way for us to share what we are working on, but also to open the conversation up to the whole community. By writing these short, more informal posts, we are making archaeology more accessible. When we share our data, we open ourselves up to critique, but the benefit is that we increase the public’s awareness of the presence of archaeology in their own community and that way that their history is being constructed.
Chris Stawski: The Blogging Paradigm
The short form, or blogging, has revolutionized authorship and writing, and has coincided with one of the largest trends in the computer world to date: social media and smart devices. The key word for this dramatic paradigm shift that blogging has brought about is access. Blogging is many things, but first and foremost, it is accessible. With the use of mobile devices, laptops and pads of all sorts, information is so readily available and so easily created and shared, that people are scrambling to keep up.
In the realm of anthropological archaeology, blogging is creating a niche. It has been used to create journals in the field to more professional publication-style entries in the office. It has been used as a public forum for engagement where the audience may be infinite in composition, and it has been used, well here for example, in a more structured format where the audience is more specialized. Once again, the beauty in blogging is its accessibility, its adaptability.
My hope is that for archaeology, we do not try and usher blogging into one course or the other, but instead utilize its ability so that it can adapt to many forums and to address a range of audiences. Many think that blogging in archaeology needs to be refereed, and taken down a more “traditional” path. Yes, that is one course that may be explored. We must realize, though, that when we do that, we are challenging the basic principles on which blogging was founded. We are limiting its accessibility, and instead of blogging, we are now just creating an on-line, short-form publication. I would like to see blogging in archaeology continue to create a link between the public and the archaeologist, to enhance the public’s perception of archaeology and continue to make this knowledge accessible to any and all.
Kristin Sewell: Blogging: What’s in it for writers?
My colleagues have shown the benefits of the short form and how blogs as a medium of knowledge transmission have opened the world up for immediate and unlimited access to information exchange. The internet is, after all is said and done, the modern oracle. To borrow a phrase from the popular game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the internet is the best “phone a friend” lifeline anyone could ask for. Blogs offer access to all with the only requisites being an open internet port and moderate curiosity. For archaeology, that means knowledge that used to be accessible only through professional membership and admission to university is now available to anyone. Blogs clearly have a benefit for scholarly researchers and the reading public at large.
But why write? As a graduate student, I am advised by a chorus of professors and advanced students to write, write again, and write some more. Practice the craft of composition and analysis! Whether you struggle for an hour and produce 200 words or churn out 10 pages of text with the greatest of ease, the advice is always the same: write and write every day. There’s a universe of literature on the subject of how to become a better writer – much of it in the blogosphere—with advice on exploring topics, generating ideas, and producing words for the page. But in this case, the answer is in the question, young grasshopper. Blog! Not only does blogging allow the writer to concentrate in a single area of interest—a luxury for many students—but blogging allows the writer to get ideas published and reviewed by a broad audience of critics many of whom are avid and knowledgeable readers in the very subject area of interest! The short form provides an opportunity for readers to read and writers to write with near limitless possibilities. So, I say, blog, blog again, and blog some more. Have a voice. Be heard. Be read.
Lynne Goldstein, CAP Director: Blogging and Engagement
From the perspective of Director of Campus Archaeology, blogging (for us) has accomplished a number of things that traditional forms of writing and engagement have not been able to do. First, we are able to reach many more people in many more places (both academic and public) than we have ever been able to reach by traditional means. Second, readers are far more likely to engage with a blog – they will post comments and ask questions that might otherwise never get asked or answered. A professional can try to explain or clarify a concept for an amateur, or a member of the public can ask direct questions from an archaeologist. Professionals themselves can use blogs to discuss issues with other professionals. We have had the experience of all of these types of engagement with our blog. Finally, blogs can provide some basic discussion and ideas for more traditionally published papers and books. In trying to understand some of the comments, one may well develop an important aspect of a paper that might otherwise not happen.
Although a seemingly extraneous example, we have found that people become so engaged with our program and its social media that we routinely get visits from many when we do fieldwork, and when we complain that it is cold, folks even bring us coffee! It’s great when that happens and we are very appreciative, but it also tells us that we have an engaged, supportive, and committed audience for what we are doing.
How should blogs count in an academic setting? I’m not sure, but I think they should count in the tally of what the individual has done. Blogs are certainly the most directly reviewed kind of publication, by professionals and others, but I think they represent an extremely productive way to set forth ideas and concepts that can be subsequently turned into more traditional academic works. Blogs can also be further developed into different forms of public engagement, and academics who do such work should really be rewarded for this.
One thing that most people don’t talk about in terms of blogs and social media – the responsibility that it places on professionals to respond to inaccurate or problematic material. If we want effective tools, we have to take part in the discussions and fulfill our obligations as professionals.
I have to admit that before I created the Campus Archaeology Program, I had not given a lot of thought to blogging. However, after my experience over a 2.5 year period, I would never begin a project without blogs and other social media. The great thing about blogging and other social media is that it is not static and that people understand that the form is improved with engagement.
Grace Krause: The Missing Link
Others have put very relevant emphasis on the role of blogging for easy distribution of academic knowledge and debate, but for me short form plays a slightly different role. Blogging is news, whether the individual updates of our CAP field school students or the international solidarity expressed in finding truth during the recent internet blackout in Egypt. Much of the information and opinion expressed on blogs is transient and will never be formally published, but this does not mean there is no value in fast-paced reporting. Rather, blogging represents a missing link in the academic thought process that was rarely seen before the rising popularity of digital media. This is what is happening, this is what we’re thinking about right now as opposed to waiting months or years for an official publication, if it ever comes. Blog entries are Polaroid pictures of archaeological ideas, instant and unpolished, but nevertheless the perfect way to watch those ideas germinate and develop over time.
At the end of March, I will be taking part in a session at the Society for American Archaeology Conference in Sacramento entitled “Blogging Archaeology”. The session is organized by Colleen Morgan, a graduate student at Berkeley, and the author of the blog “Middle Savagery“, one of the premier archaeology blogs. I will be presenting a paper about the archaeology blogging project we did this past summer during the archaeological field school, and co-authoring a paper with Sarah Nohe of the Florida Public Archaeology Network about the use of social media in public archaeology.
In preparation for the session, Colleen has organized a Blog Carnival on a surrounding a series of questions relating to blogging and archaeology, and has opened the floor to all who would like to participate. For those of you who are archaeologists and blog, I would encourage you to take part. I will be responding to the questions on my personal blog. In all, this is an important discussion for archaeologists, as the Internet has become the primary way that most people answer questions. One of the reasons why Campus Archaeology uses a blog is to make sure that people asking questions about MSU’s past and its archaeology are getting the answers from the source. Please join us for what should be a wonderful discussion!
This week, Campus Archaeology Director Lynne Goldstein and former Campus Archaeologist Terry Brock will be heading to Austin, Texas to take part in the Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference. This conference is held each year as an opportunity for archaeologists around the world to gather and give presentations and posters on the research they are conducting. Last year, Campus Archaeology presented a poster on using Digital Social Media to engage the community in their research, a poster that spawned a number of other archaeologists throughout the country using social media in this way.
This year, Terry and Dr. Goldstein will present another poster about why institutions of higher education are important places for archaeologists to research. Over the past few years, we have conducted a number of archaeological investigations throughout campus. While our discoveries have held important cultural meaning to MSU’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni, they also provide an important glimpse into how higher education has grown and changed over time. For example, the excavations at Saints’ Rest, which have revealed small trash pits of cut bone and ceramics, may tell us a good deal about how sparse and basic life was like for the earliest students. In contrast, excavations at Brody Hall, which revealed a massive landfill from the 1930s and 40s, suggests that the community in East Lansing had grown substantially during the previous 70 years, due primarily to the impact and growth of the university.
Our poster addresses the potential questions that could be analyzed by research programs on college campuses, addresses the challenges faced by the unique context of university’s, talks about who the key community stakeholders are in these programs, and suggests a process by which these programs can be carried out. We have found the Campus Archaeology Program to be a successful model with which to conduct archaeology on a college campus, and hope that this poster will encourage others to develop such a program. We have provided the poster on Slideshare, so that you can see what we are up to. We’d love to have your feedback!