Tag: excavation

Summer 2019 Re-CAP

Summer 2019 Re-CAP

Campus Archaeology had an exciting summer field season, from the archaeological field school to field crew work across campus. We also hosted a class for Grandparent’s University and painted the MSU Rock! Below you can read more about each project. Archaeological Field School This summer…

Introducing the Site of the 2019 CAP Summer Field School

Introducing the Site of the 2019 CAP Summer Field School

Still searching for an archaeology field school for this summer? The Campus Archaeology Program will be offering a field school—right here on MSU’s campus—from May 13 to June 7, 2019. A field school is one of the best ways to learn what it takes to…

Summer 2018 Recap

Summer 2018 Recap

This summer was an eventful one for the Campus Archaeology Program field crew! We monitored construction, conducted several pedestrian and shovel test surveys, excavated one test unit, conducted lab analysis, and helped with the IB STEM archaeology camp and grandparents university. Plus, we uncovered an entire cow skeleton! Below you can read in more detail about each project.

Continue reading Summer 2018 Recap
Continuing Preparations for Summer Construction on Campus

Continuing Preparations for Summer Construction on Campus

As the weather warms and summer gets closer, the Campus Archaeology Program is gearing up for yet another busy season. While our excavations occur primarily in the summer, months of planning and preparation take place before the first trowel is stuck in the dirt. Many…

1882 Indian Head Penny

1882 Indian Head Penny

For the most part, Unit C of our excavations has mostly produced nails, glass and ceramic shards, and a few fragments of small animal bones but last Friday (06/02) we uncovered an 1882 Indian Head penny. This type of penny has been popular among coin…

2017 Campus Archaeology Field School

2017 Campus Archaeology Field School

Announcing the 2017 Campus Archaeology Field School!

We are pleased to once again offer our on-campus field school.  This five week field school will take place May 30th – June 30th, 2017.  The class takes places Monday through Friday from 9am – 4pm. Students enroll for 6 credits of ANP 464. This class is open to MSU students and non-MSU students. There is a $150 equipment fee that is used to supply students with excavation tools.  At the end of the field school students will keep this toolkit. Space is limited to 20 students, and applications are due to Dr. Goldstein (lynneg@msu.edu) by March 5th.

Through excavation, lab work, and digital outreach students will examines several unique and interesting places on MSU’s historic campus.  In this course students will get the opportunity to actively engage in archaeological research. You will learn excavation methods, survey techniques, how to map and record an excavation unit, laboratory methods, cultural heritage and digital outreach engagement, as well as an introduction to archival research.

This summer we plan to excavate in two areas: Beal’s Botanial Lab and Station Terrace.

Beals Lab:

Beal in the botanical garden. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections
Beal in the botanical garden. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections

Dr. Beal is an important person in early campus history.  Though Beal served as a botany professor at MSU (then MAC) from 1871-1910, he made mark on campus that survives to this day.  The Beal botanical garden (directly east of the MSU main library), established in 1873 is the oldest continuously operated university botanical garden in the U.S.  Beal also started, what is today, one of the longest continuously running experiments in the world!  In 1879 Beal buried 20 bottles containing seeds with the intent to see how long a seed could lay dormant and still germinate.  The next bottle is scheduled to be dug up and opened in 2020.  The location of the experimental bottles is a closely held campus secret.  Beal was known as an incredibly eccentric professor, and the design of his first botanical laboratory was fittingly eccentric as well.

Beal's first Botanical Laboratory - Image Source: MSU Archives & Historical Collection FLICKR
Beal’s first Botanical Laboratory – Image Source: MSU Archives & Historical Collection FLICKR

Beal's Botanical Lab after the fire - March 1890. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.
Beal’s Botanical Lab after the fire – March 1890. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

Built in 1879 (more detail), this building burned to the ground on March 23rd 1890.  Although specific details about the fire have been lost over time, we do know that lab equipment (such as microscopes) was salvaged from the wreckage and the fire prompted the university to establish a fire brigade. We’ve established that portions of the building foundation still exists, and field school students will have the opportunity to excavate in this location.

Station Terrace

Station Terrace - Photo courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections
Station Terrace – Photo courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections

Station Terrace stood at the souther end of what is now the Abbot street entrance.  This building was constructed between 1892-1895 and originally housed visiting scholars from the experimental research stations. It was also later used to house bachelor faculty members, the East Lansing Post Office, and the Flower Pot Tea room (read more). The building was moved off campus in the early 20s but the foundation, as well as many artifacts remain.  After excavations at Beal’s lab it’s expected that the field school will move to this second location.

For more information about the field school, head on over to the field school webpage.

Download the application. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have here, on Twitter, or email Dr. Goldstein directly.

 

References:

http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2015/msu-gardens-ranked-among-best-in-the-us/

http://www.cpa.msu.edu/beal/research/research_frames.htm

http://onthebanks.msu.edu/Object/3-F-21F/meeting-minutes-1890/

Campus Archaeology Summer Work Update #1

Campus Archaeology Summer Work Update #1

Spring classes have ended, thousands of people have graduated, and a relative calm has spread over the campus. While many people kick back and relax over their summer vacation, this is the busy season for us here at CAP. During the summer we’re busy excavating,…

Noteworthy: Digging Into What People Choose to Write Down

Noteworthy: Digging Into What People Choose to Write Down

In continuation of my semester-long research project on Beaumont West, MSU’s sole prehistoric site excavated by CAP, I have entered the initial stages of report writing. This requires not only the results of the artifact analyses, but also the details of the site excavation so…

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!

Ten Years Since Saints’ Rest… A Brief History of Campus Archaeology

Ten Years Since Saints’ Rest… A Brief History of Campus Archaeology

For those of us who have been involved in Campus Archaeology for a while, it is hard to believe that it has already been almost a decade since the first MSU excavation occurred. In honor of this, we are beginning the 2015 year by looking…