Tag: Cultural Heritage

Campus as Museum: A Campus Archaeology Mobile Experience

Campus as Museum: A Campus Archaeology Mobile Experience

Here at CAP we think a lot about different ways of sharing our research. We can—and do—present at conferences, give public lectures, and publish site reports and journal articles. While these avenues are great for communicating our work to other experts, they are probably not…

MSU Campus Archaeology Receives 2017 Michigan Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation

MSU Campus Archaeology Receives 2017 Michigan Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation

On Tuesday, May 2nd, MSU’s Department of Anthropology, Department of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, and the Office of the President received the Michigan Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation and a special tribute from the State of Michigan Legislature on behalf of MSU Campus Archaeology. The…

The CAP Summer Season So Far

The CAP Summer Season So Far

The summer field season has started out pretty busy this year. During our first day of monitoring the fourth phase of the North Campus Infrastructure Improvements, we received a call from Granger regarding some bricks that were found by the Museum. They were beginning to open up a large pit to remove and replace a steam tunnel junction underneath the Museum’s West Circle parking lot. The bricks were covered by a layer of concrete and remained insitu, mortar and all. Nearby this feature we found a large amount of concrete, brick, stone, and metal rubble. We did a quick rescue to record and learn what we could from the find as it had to be removed to progress the steam replacement.

Remaining foundation of Williams Hall
Remaining foundation of Williams Hall

I spent some time before construction began making some maps of the affected area using overlays with historic maps of the area and the locations of current buildings, sidewalks, and roads. Based on the maps I made, we are pretty sure the wall and rubble we found near the Museum was part of Williams Hall, which burned down in 1919.

Map overlay with 1915 buildings
Map overlay with 1915 buildings

Following the Williams Hall discovery, we continued to monitor by the Museum as well as the pulling up of the parking lot in front of and the sidewalks around Olds Hall. We also dug some test pits in the green space to the east of Olds Hall as well as underneath the parking lot located between Olds Hall and the Main Library. Neither of the surveys revealed anything of concern, although we began finding brick, cement, glass, nails, and other metal underneath the sidewalks around Olds Hall.

A couple of days following the Williams Hall discovery, a series of bricks that looked like a corner was found while we were digging shovel test pits underneath some of the sidewalks by Olds Hall. We opened the area up a bit and realized that the bricks were still arranged like a wall with an ash-heavy soil on one side that was full of nails, metal, and glass. There was also a large amount of loose bricks, mortared-stone, and cement around the wall. We dug down on the other side to find that after a few courses, the bricks stop at a layer of cement that continued into the bottom of our unit. We also chased the wall to either end until we found where the bricks stopped. After cleaning up and documenting, as well as consulting the maps I made, we believe it was a wall from the old engineering shops that burned down with the original engineering building.

We started the second week of the summer off right with some grilled cheeses from the MSU Dairy Store! We are currently working in the lab to finish up accessioning and cataloging artifacts from last summer and those we have from this summer so far. We are also continuing to monitor the steam tunnel construction and will keep you posted of any further developments!

CAP at the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values Conference

CAP at the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values Conference

This May, the Campus Archaeology fellows will be presenting our research projects at the interdisciplinary Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values conference held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The goal of this conference is to bring together scholars from multiple fields in order to discuss…

My 3D artifact Odyssey: Introduction to MSU LEADR

My 3D artifact Odyssey: Introduction to MSU LEADR

Last semester I began a quest to create 3D renditions of some of our artifacts and display them ever so eloquently on the CAP website. As mentioned in my previous posts, I used 123D Catch, a free photogrammetry application that can be used right on your…

The Importance of Cultural Heritage

The Importance of Cultural Heritage

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Thankfully MSU students typically have no trouble finding something green to wear today.

In the past week, the intentional destruction of archaeology sites and materials by ISIS has been making headlines. If you’re not familiar with the situation an excellent summary can be found on CNN. This brazen disrespect for cultural heritage resonated across the archaeological community. In an interview on NPR Iraqi archaeologist Abdulamir al-Hamdani described the destruction from an archaeologists viewing, “… seeing heritage of Iraq being looted. It’s not only Iraq’s heritage, it’s the heritage of the world. It’s the memory of the humankind”(source). UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova declared, “the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime”(source).

This issue, and the subsequent online discussion, got me thinking about the importance of the work we do at campus archaeology. Each community, be it as large as a county or as small as a university campus, contains a distinctive cultural heritage. Campus archaeology works to mitigate and protect the archaeological resources on MSU’s campus. The physical remains of this legacy needs to be maintained not just for the present population of students and staff, but also for past and future Spartans. The material culture we examine on campus represents much more than the physical objects to MSU culture.

Today, there are over 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide (source). Over half a million people share the experience of attending MSU. The work done here, and else where to protect cultural heritage is important to maintain cultural memories. And although historic ceramics, or documenting the remains of an old are clearly different than the endangered objects in Iraq, the impetus behind protecting the resources is the same.

It was recognized that we needed a campus archaeology program because it’s important to MSU as a larger culture to preserve the past to protect the future. Even though Iraq isn’t directly a part of many of our heritages, we can recognize that its part of our larger heritage as humans… the same as MSU.

Adventures at the MI State Historic Preservation Office

Adventures at the MI State Historic Preservation Office

The identification and protection of cultural resources at the state level is crucial for managing prehistoric and historic heritage across the nation. Each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands has a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), that oversees the analysis and identification of…

Cultural Heritage Management: what is it?

Cultural Heritage Management: what is it?

For the past few weeks, I have been scouring the internet and pouring through books and articles trying to get an idea of what constitutes cultural heritage management, cultural heritage planning, and how archaeology is integrated into this process.  It’s a concept which is relatively…

Announcing ANP 491: Methods in Cultural Heritage

Announcing ANP 491: Methods in Cultural Heritage

CultureheritageTo apply for this course, please click here for the application and send it to Dr. Goldstein at lynneg@msu.edu