Meet the 2017 CAP Fellows and Undergraduate Interns

The 2017-2018 school year has just begun here at MSU.  Several large changes are in store at CAP this year, including the pending retirement of CAP director Lynne Goldstein and the addition of associate professor Stacey Camp. We’re excited to continue working on several ongoing projects and begin new and exciting research projects. So please meet the 2017-2018 CAP graduate fellows and undergraduate interns!

CAP Graduate Fellows

Lisa Bright

Lisa Bright

Lisa Bright: Lisa is a 4th year Anthropology Ph.D. student.  This year Lisa will continue as Campus Archaeologist for her third, and final year.  Her dissertation research focuses on focuses on the paleopathology and nutritional status of a historic paupers cemetery in San Jose, California. This year Lisa will be working with other fellows on their projects, supervising three undergraduate internships, and working to complete reports and process artifacts from this summer.

 

Susan Kooiman

Susan Kooiman

Susan Kooiman:  Susan is a 5th year Anthropology Ph.D. student, returning for her third year as a CAP fellow. Her dissertation research focuses on pottery use, cooking practices, and diet of precontact Indigenous groups in the Upper Great Lakes of North America. This year, she and Autumn Beyer will be continuing their project documenting foodways on campus during the Early Period (1855-1870) of MSU’s history. This includes expanding their research and disseminating the results of the project through publication, conference presentations, and other outreach opportunities.

Autumn Painter

Autumn Painter

Autumn (Beyer) Painter: Autumn is a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology. Her research focuses on prehistoric foodways through the analysis of animal bones in the Midwestern United States. This is her second year as a CAP fellow, and she and Susan Kooiman will be continue to work together on their project researching food on MSU’s historic campus.

 

Jeff Painter

Jeff Painter

Jeff Painter: Jeff Painter is a fourth year Ph.D. student at Michigan State University who is returning for his second year as a Campus Archaeology Fellow. He is a prehistoric archaeologist focused on foodways, ceramics, and migration in the late prehistoric Midwest. For CAP, he continues his focus on foodways and ceramics, investigating the diversity of dining patterns through time on MSU’s historic campus.

 

Mari Isa

Mari Isa

Mari Isa: Mari is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Anthropology. For her dissertation research, she studies the biological and biomechanical factors that contribute to bone fractures. Her other research interests include the potential social and biological impacts of malaria in Late Roman/Early Medieval Tuscany. Mari is returning for her second year as a CAP fellow. This year she is excited to be working on various projects including creating new digital media for msu.seum to highlight recent projects by CAP fellows and interns on topics such as sustainability, foodways, and gender.

Jack Biggs

Jack Biggs

Jack Biggs: Jack is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology with a focus in bioarchaeology of the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica.  Specifically, he is interested in human growth and development and how infants, children, and adolescents interacted within society and how social constructions of age affected their experience of the physical and social world around them.  He conducted some summer field work for CAP in 2016 putting in test units at various locations across campus, including Station Terrace and Beal’s Laboratory.  This is his first year as a full CAP fellow and is very excited to be a part of the team.

Undergraduate Interns

Kaleigh Perry

Kaleigh Perry

Kaleigh Perry: My name is Kaleigh Perry, and I am a senior at MSU this year. This past summer, I participated in the CAP Field School and now I have been blessed with the opportunity to be an intern for CAP for the school year. Whereas my interests mostly lie in Forensics, specifically taphonomy – the science of understanding what happens to an organism as it decomposes – the Field School has peaked my interest in Archaeology. Now that I have some field experience, I am excited to get more experience working in a lab and doing research.

Cooper Duda

Cooper Duda

Cooper Duda: My name is Cooper Duda andI’m starting my junior year here at MSU.  I have a twin brother, Devin, who just transferred here for Criminal Justice.  I participated in the CAP Field School this summer, which helped me become more interested in archaeology.  Although I do enjoy archaeology and Cultural Resource Management, I plan on going into Forensic Anthropology for graduate school.

Desiree Quinn

Desiree Quinn

Desiree Quinn: Hi, my name is Desiree Quinn and I’m a junior Anthropology major. I’m interested in studying bioarchaeology and environmental anthropology/archaeology. After attending the CAP field school this summer, I became certain that archaeology is the field for me and I am excited to learn more about the research side of archaeology this year!

 

Privy Seed Germination Experiment: Introduction to Intern Becca Albert’s Project

Hi, I’m Becca Albert, and I’m a CAP undergrad intern this semester.  I participated in the 2015 field school, volunteered in the CAP lab last year, and worked on the field crew last summer. My internship project for this semester includes testing to see whether seeds found in the West Circle privy in June 2015 will germinate. These seeds were identified as raspberry seeds (id courtesy of Dr. Katie Egan-Bruhy) it will be difficult to determine what species they are until they grow (if they grow!) The privy is dated to campus’s Phase I (1855-1870), with diagnostic artifacts dating to the 1860’s and 1870’s. University archival records of the Board of Trustee meeting minutes from 1875 indicate that Beal ordered around 300 raspberry bushes to be planted on campus. Whether these were for botanical experiments or for food sources is unknown, however it is unlikely that these weren’t used as a food source, as foraging for berries in the area and farming was a great contributor of food for the students. Financial records from Saint’s Rest also indicate that the boarding hall was purchasing upwards of 130 quarts of berries a week during the summer. Again, no specific species is indicated, but this does provide archival evidence of berry consumption. These seeds were found in association with a flower pot, so although these could have been digested, these could also have been the product of a failed botanical experiment.

Seed from the privy under magnification. Image source: Amy Michael

Seed from the privy under magnification. Image source: Amy Michael

The seeds I am using for my experiment were first separated from 10 grams of night soil by hand and then weighed. The total weight of all the seeds was 0.2 grams, so not a very hefty sample size. These seeds were evaluated under a stereomicroscope to make sure what we picked out were actually seeds, and were counted. The total number of seeds from this sample was 174 seeds – that’s about .001 of a gram for each seed. To test whether these seeds germinate, we will be using two experimental methods. The first method is a simpler experiment, like one that you might try as an elementary school experiment – this follows some of the thinking for an experiment I tried with Lima beans in third grade! Several seeds will be placed in between some damp paper towels, which will then be placed on a plate, and sealed into a plastic bag. This bag will then be placed somewhere warm, like on top of a refrigerator, and will be checked periodically to see whether some of the seeds germinate. The sealed plastic bag will allow the moisture and humidity inside the bag to stay constant, however after a week or so, these paper towels will be replaced with new moist paper towels both to prevent mold, germinated seeds from attaching to the paper towel, and to increase the humidity inside the bag periodically. These methods are adapted from this article from the SFGate Home Guides Website, however many modes of basic seed germination follow steps similar to these.

Man digging up seeds for viability experiment, likely H. T. Darlington. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

Man digging up seeds for viability experiment, likely H. T. Darlington. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections.

The second method is one that is more scientifically rigorous, and includes following methods that are used in Beal’s famous seed longevity experiment. Beal’s experiment essentially asks the question of how long can a seed lie dormant before it cannot germinate. This experiment is in its 137th year, with the next experiment occurring in 2020. The previous testing year for the Beal seed experiment reported three species as germinating, with around a 46% success rate for one species, a 2% success rate from a second species, and a 4% success rate for the third species (Telewski 2002). CAP is working under the assumption that the privy was likely damaged in the 1876 fire that destroyed Saints Rest, making these seeds 3 years older than the Beal seeds.

My experiment includes placing approximately 50 seeds in a growth chamber for a specified day/night cycle, humidity, and temperature. The seeds themselves are placed in a pre-determined soil mixture and kept in damp soil. The seeds will be checked periodically to see if germination occurred, and to keep the soil damp. Following the methods used for Beal’s experiment will not provide an opportunity to test their methods, but is also an homage to the man who provided a lot MSU’s more interesting early history.

Several scientists around the world have been able to germinate seeds from prehistoric contexts (Sallon 2008, Yashina 2012). Archaeologists in the United States have found seeds in historic privy excavations however, germination experiments have not been attempted because they are generally larger assemblages with a variety of species and a greater importance has been placed on determining the species present (Trigg 2011, Meyers 2011, Beaudry 2010, Dudek 1998). If these seeds germinate, it would be an interesting addition to the germination of seeds well past their prime.

Stay tuned for updates as the experiment progresses!

Resources:

MSU Archives & Historical Collections:
– Madison Kuhn Collection Volume 82, Folder 11, Box 2531, Collection IA 17.107 (Records for July 1870).
– UA 1 State Board of Agriculture/Board of Trustee Records. Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes Notes: 1875

Meyers, Ciana Faye, 2011. The Marketplace of Boston: Macrobotanical Remains from Faneuil Hall. Thesis.

Beaudry, M. C, 2010. Privy to the feast: eighty to supper tonight. Table Settings: The Material Culture and Social Context of Dining in the Old and New Worlds AD, pp. 1700-1900.

Dudek, Martin G., Lawrence Kaplan, and Marie Mansfield King, 1998. Botanical Remains from a Seventeenth-Century Privy at the Cross Street Back Lot Site. Historical Archaeology, pp. 63-71.

Meyers, Ciana Faye, 2011. The Marketplace of Boston: Macrobotanical Remains from Faneuil Hall. Thesis.

Sallon, Sarah, Elaine Solowey, Yuval Cohen, Raia Korchinsky, Markus Egli, Ivan Woodhatch, Orit Simchoni, and Modechai Kislev, 2008. Germination, Genetics, and Growth of an Ancient Date Seed. Science 5882(320), pp. 1464.

Telewski, FW and JAD Zeevaart, 2002. The 120-yr period for Dr. Beal’s seed viability experiment. American Journal of Botany, 89(8), pp. 1285-1288.

Trigg, Heather, Susan Jacobucci, and Marisa D. Patalano, 2011. Parasitological and Macrobotanical Analyses of a Late 18th Century Privy, Portsmouth New Hampshire.

Yashina, Svetlana, Stanislav Gubin, Stanislav Maksimovich, Alexandra Yashina, Edith Gakhova, and David Gilichinsky, 2012. Regeneration of whole fertile plants from 30,000 y-old fruit tissue buried in Siberian permafrost. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(10) pp. 4008-4013.

How to Germinate with Paper Towels. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/germinate-paper-towels-22813.html

 

Contextualizing CAP’s GIS: Introduction to Intern Jasmine Smiths Project

Hi, I’m Jasmine Smith, and I’m a CAP undergrad intern this semester. I’ve been working with CAP since I participated in the Summer 2015 field school.  I also did an internship during Fall 2015 where I examined the laboratory glass found at the Gunson site.  I was also able to work as part of the CAP field crew this summer. My project for CAP this semester involves working with a geographic information system to create a map showing where CAP has found artifacts from different time periods. The four historical periods CAP focuses on are separated into phases: phase 1 (1855-1870), phase 2 (1870-1900) and phase 3 (1900-1925) and phase 4 (1925-1955). Using GIS will allow us to visualize the distribution of artifacts we have found from each of these phases.

This past Tuesday I was able to go into the lab and look at artifacts from past excavations to get an idea of what time periods the artifacts come from. We can usually give an estimate of how old an assemblage of artifacts is depending on what we know about the site from archival research and what types of artifacts were found. Now that I have an idea of what artifacts are from each phase, I can figure out how I want to display this in the GIS.

An aerial photograph of MSU’s Campus. Every dot represents a excavation unit or test pit CAP has dug during archaeological surveys. This image does not show all of the excavations completed.

An aerial photograph of MSU’s Campus. Every dot represents a excavation unit or test pit CAP has dug during archaeological surveys. This image does not show all of the excavations completed.

CAP has used ArcMap for several years to do a number of projects. One of the things I use the most is a map that show’s every single place CAP has dug on campus. This map is basically an aerial photograph of MSU’s campus with different layers for each of the sites we’ve excavated. Each layer includes either point data that represents individual shovel test pits or polygons that represent trenches/pits. Each layer also consists of a detailed description of the site and what was found there. We also have a layer that shows historical buildings that are no longer standing. This is very helpful for giving us an idea of where we should dig on campus.

During the semester I will be adding new layers to this map for the sites we excavated the past two summers, as well as entering metadata missing for sites excavated in previous years. Other ideas that might be interesting to explore using GIS would be creating a map of the most interesting artifacts CAP has found. This would include artifacts we mention often such as the doll head from the historic privy, the men’s shoes from station terrace, etc. Another thing that might be interesting to do in the future would be to create a map showing the distribution of different artifact types around campus.

Working with GIS is something that is very new to me. I never thought much about it until this past spring semester when I took GEO 221, Intro to Geographic Information. After talking to people in the Anthropology department, I learned that GIS is a very sought after skill in Archaeology. This summer Lisa Bright, the campus archaeologist, suggested I do an internship working with CAP’s GIS. I thought this would be an awesome opportunity and so far I’ve learned a lot. I am definitely seeing how GIS can benefit archaeology.

 

Maker’s Marks from the Gunson Assemblage

My project involves examining where, what company, and the timeframe the different marker’s mark, collecting from the excavation from the Admin/Gunson site, came from. As we wrapped up with Unit A on Monday, I finished taking and collecting pictures of the marker’s mark found from each level. After sorting them out into groups, I came to the conclusion that the majority of the dishware was from K. T. & K Co. (Knowles Taylor & Knowles), Johnson Bros, and the Homer Laughlin China Company. I am still in the processing of determining where and what company the other marker’s marks are from. It’s difficult when only parts of the marker’s mark is present or has been damaged.

Marks & Library has been an excellent resource that I have turned to. They have images of different kinds of maker’s mark and can help with determining the timeframe of which they were used to and from. I have also looked at a few books in the arts and humanities part of MSU main library. They have several books about ceramic, dishware, and marker’s mark.

I think the most different and interesting piece of marker’s mark from Unit A would have to be C. Ahrenfeldt Limoges from level 10. Limoges style porcelain was produced near the city of Limoge, France beginning in the late 18th century and continues to this day. It does not refer to a specific manufacturer, but rather the style of ceramic. This piece appears to have two marker’s mark printed together. C. Ahrenfeldt Limoges comes from the company Charles Ahrenfeldt and the second marker’s mark comes from the company Charles Ahrenfeldt & Son. On the other side includes some flower decoration. This is helpful because having one piece of decoration can help determine what the complete dish would have looked like and can possibly help determine the timeframe of the marker’s mark.

Unit A Level 10 Limoge

Unit A Level 10 Limoge Front view

 

Unit A Level 10 Limoge

Unit A Level 10 Limoge Back View

 

Not all of the marker’s mark has decoration present on the opposite side. Since my project focuses on determining the company and timeframe of the maker’s mark, not having the decoration doesn’t hurt my research but can only help it.

I am very excited to start the next unit. I would like to compare the different marker’s mark from Unit A to the other units to see if there are more fragments of maker’s mark that possibly could be are from the same company but a different timeframe or even a different company.

Looking for Lab Glass

As we continue to sort and catalogue artifacts from the Admin/Gunson assemblage we’ve come across a lot of lab equipment, mainly glass. My project involves examining lab glass we found at this site and trying to figure out what it is.

Bleb Test Tubes - Unit A

Bleb Test Tubes – Unit A

The main type of equipment we have found while cataloguing unit A are hollow glass tubes. Some of these tubes have a rounded end like a regular test tube, while others have a strange bubble-like end. After looking through books on laboratory glass blowing I was able to identify these bubble-like ends as a “bleb” or bleb test tube. We’ve found these tubes in a number of different sizes.

 

 

Other interesting lab equipment we’ve found includes parts of beakers, a microscope slide, and a syringe stopper.

Syringe Stopper - Unit A

Syringe Stopper – Unit A

Glass Stir Stick

Glass Stir Stick – Unit A

We’ve also found pieces of bottles that have chemical formulas (possibly ammonium hydroxide) labeled on them. We identified them as coming from the Wheaton glass company.

Wheaton Lab Glass - Ammonium Hydroxide

Wheaton Lab Glass – Ammonium Hydroxide

Insurance Document - Image used with Permission from University Archives

Insurance Document – Image used with Permission from University Archives

During our trip to the MSU archives I didn’t find much that helped me identify the lab glass or what it was used for. However, from looking through insurance papers I found that laboratory glass equipment was specifically listed as not insurable. This tells us that maybe lab glass was inexpensive and easily replaceable or that lab equipment was too expensive and dangerous.

As the semester comes to a close I hope to gain more information by visiting the glass blower on campus that blows glass specifically for the chemistry department. Hopefully they can tell us more about what we have found and what this glass was used for.

Some of the questions I hope to answer going forward with this project are: What lab did this equipment belong to? Why was it mixed in with the various other types of things we found at this site such as dishes and perfume bottles? Was it tossed out as garbage? If so, why?

Meet the CAP Interns and Volunteers

You’ve already meet the CAP fellows, now meet our awesome interns and volunteers.

Alissa Lyon: Howdy! I’m Alissa Lyon, undergraduate senior majoring in both Anthropology and French and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. Currently I’m working as an intern for the Campus Archaeology Program after having completed its field school this past summer. My blog posts about it can be found here (http://campusarch.msu.edu/ANP464FS/author/lyonalis/). Being afforded this internship in order to expand my archaeological experience is extremely exciting for me. I want to eventually go to graduate school, but as I have yet to decide what I would like to study that won’t be for a while. I have an interest in prehistoric or pre-contact civilizations, though which one is hard to say as they’re all so interesting. (I suppose that’s the complaint of all anthropologists—they just have too many interests!) I do love Ancient Egypt in particular, and during my class on the matter I blogged (http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp455-fs14/author/lyonalis/) and wrote an entry about Abu Roash (http://matrix-msu.github.io/daea/sites/abu-roash.html) on the Digital Atlas of Egyptian Archaeology (http://matrix-msu.github.io/daea/).

I am also serving on the Undergraduate Anthropology Club executive board this year and like to participate in French Club events as well. Got to keep busy somehow!

Jasmine Smith: Hi Everyone! My name is Jasmine Smith. I am majoring in Anthropology and minoring in museum studies here at MSU. This summer I participated in the Campus Archaeology Program Field School that took place on campus behind the Hannah Admin building. This allowed me to learn a lot about MSU’s history that I probably wouldn’t have known otherwise. This semester I will continue working with Campus Archaeology as an intern. I look forward to gaining hands-on experience with archaeology while learning more about MSU’s history. Go Green!

Pa Vang: My name is Pa Vang. I am a fourth year student studying Anthropology. I came to MSU in 2012 with a major and mindset in Human Biology/Pre-Med hoping to attend medical school. However, after learning more about my interest I switched to Biosystem Engineering but then finally settled down with an interest in Anthropology. Never would I have imagined Anthropology as a major. What drawn me to it was the ability to learn about people, the past, and the different disciplines I was going to be able to study in one major. What I am interested in learning while in CAP is the history of MSU and the different techniques in becoming a successful researcher.

Becca Albert: Hello! My name is Becca Albert and I am a volunteer for this year for the CAP program. I am a second year student here at MSU, dual majoring in anthropology and plant biology. My interests include dietary reconstructions, archaeobotany (especially microbotanicals), public archaeology, and urban archaeology and anthropology. I am currently a professorial assistant for Dr. Lovis, researching the plant diet of a middle woodland population in the Upper Peninsula. This summer I participated in the Campus Archaeology field school, helping to excavate the admin site. This year I hope to get more experience working in the lab and making conclusions about the artifacts we found this summer. I am excited to continue on with Campus Archaeology to help discover, organize, and research MSU’s rich history below the ground.

Hunter Thane: Hello, my name is Hunter Thane. I am currently in my fourth and final year as an Anthropology major. I am interested in working in the CAP lab so I can take a closer look at some of the artifacts that I helped to unearth this summer in the CAP field school.

Kristin Dossier: Hi there! My name is Kristin Doshier and this is my last year at MSU. I am majoring in Anthropology and hope to study bio archaeology in grad school. I decided to attend the MSU campus archaeology field school over the summer which was very interesting, educational, and of course fun. The field school taught me many valuable skills and helped me decide what to focus on in my future. I’m also working towards earning a minor in museum studies. I have had the opportunity to work with museums in multiple aspects including collections and have been lucky enough to work with artifacts and even put together a student curated exhibition. I am very glad that I get to continue working with CAP this semester because it’s a great way for students to learn and get hands on experience. I’m hoping to get more experience and improve my research skills by working in the lab.

CAP at the UURAF

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/

 

Final Project Update

With the semester coming to a close, it is time, sadly, to write my last blog. All semester I’ve been working long and hard, looking up information to share about the women who attended M.A.C. in the early 1900s. With some help from the wonderful archivists in the MSU archives, I have came up with enough information to write a fairly lengthy paper, and with the comments Dr. Goldstein has given me, I will be able to finish it up within the next week. Visiting the MSU archives this semester was probably one of the more exciting and intriguing parts of my semester (you know you’re a history geek when…). Seriously though, not only was everyone so willing to help out there, it was also such a change of pace to research something I was actually interested in, rather than for a mandatory topic for a mandatory gen-ed class. But that’s undergrad I suppose. Anyway, because I won’t be presenting my work until the spring, I will continue to work with Dr. Goldstein, perfecting my paper, and putting together the final poster I will use to present my research during the next semester.

Venus Statue in Morrill Hall, via MSU Archives

As I’ve discussed in some of my other blogs, my research on the early women of M.A.C. also morphed into research on Morrill Hall, once known as the Women’s Building, and casually called the coup by the men of the college. This is because that building was used for everything the women needed at the college, so it makes sense the research on the two topics go hand in hand. I spent much of my time at the archives looking at scrapbooks, which was really cool, because instead of looking at a published paper or official document as a source, I was looking at something that these women put much time into crafting. The scrapbooks showed what they thought was most important to keep from their college years, and to be honest, it’s not much different than what many college girls now a days would find important. There is an incredible amount of Sororian club pamphlets and invitations pasted to the pages, there are many pictures of themselves with their friends (mostly in or near the Women’s Building), and other random assortments of documentations of activities that were important to them. Of course I also had to look at published works too, to get more information, but the scrapbook research was definitely a highlight of my work during this internship. I also got to look at copies of pictures taken of the inside of the building during the early 1900s. One of my favorite pictures is of the interior of the front entrance, with a statue of Venus. In one of the archive folders, I read a handwritten note requesting some art in the Women’s building. One of the requests was for a statue of Venus, to portray, “ levity, perfect physical development and mental power.” It was really cool to read this and then see the picture of the actual statue.

I also worked with Blair down in the CAP lab, working to make a typology for future CAP members and interns. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time to finish it this semester, but we will continue work next semester. We’ve almost completed the project, so it won’t take too long into the spring semester to finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time working as an intern for Campus Archaeology. It only made me more confident in my decision to become an anthropology major. I will admit, sometimes I struggle with the choices I could be making in regards to my future, but I know when it comes down to it, I want to spend the rest of my life doing things I love, and my passion for archaeology and research is enough to know that this is the right direction for my life. I thank CAP for helping me to reach this conclusion. I also want to thank Dr. Goldstein and Katy for helping me when I had questions during this internship, and for teaching me the basics, just in general. I really am so lucky to have had this opportunity and I very much look forward to working with CAP in the future.

Beauty Demolished, But Never Forgotten

I’ll be honest, when I first started my research project for my Campus Archaeology internship, I didn’t realize how much I would fall in love with Morrill Hall. Before this semester, I knew barely anything about that old red brick building. To me, it was just a building that was next to the Grand River ramp, and I’d been in there maybe once or twice, and I’ll admit it was only to use the restroom while tailgating before the Spartan football games. However, when I opened those scrapbooks from the MSU archives to learn about the women who attended the college in the early 1900s, I started to notice that red building that seemed to be in every other photograph.

I eventually ventured over to that part of campus, to visit the building I was learning so much about. Everything I had read from recent articles is true – the building is crumbling, the floors creak and bend when walked on, and the dust is beginning to layer on deep. The second floor is completely empty of the English department that once resided there, but there are messages on the wall, quotes from famous authors, and notes to the building itself, phrases that say, “you’ll be missed, Morrill,” and “no history deserves to be torn down.” Up on the third floor, the History department is in the midst of clearing out its contents, and on the fourth floor, one can look out the window and see over the rooftops of the other old buildings in the area. In fact, there is a door there that leads to the roof, and I’m quite jealous of those who have managed to get through that door. (The door is currently locked, trust me, I tried.)

Inside of Morrill Hall from early 20th c., via MSU Archives and Historical Records

However, if you’re quiet enough, and if you’re still enough, you can almost still hear the giggling of gossiping girls, or the scolding of strict Deans, or even the soft closing of a fire escape window that may or may not have been opened to let in a young lady who had missed curfew. The air is so thick with the memories the building has saved over the past century, and walking through the halls was quite a moving experience, at least for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so much about the building, and I could imagine what it used to be like back in the hay-day of its long life. I guess you, whoever is taking the time to read this, will have to go walk through its halls one last time and get back to me.

Anyway, construction on Morrill Hall began in 1899, and the building was completed in 1900. It was the first official dormitory on the campus of M.A.C. built solely for the young ladies of the college, meant both to house them, and to hold lessons in. I was fortunate to come across an article in the MSU archives written by a May Kyes Allen, who was one of the first women to stay in the dorm after it was built. In the article, she recalls, “The building was then the last word in modern convenience, and we considered ourselves very fortunate to secure rooms there after Abbot Hall and The Terrace. But the floors were not yet laid in the halls, and we had to trail our long skirts through piles of mortar and debris, leaving clouds of dust behind us.” There is so much more just in this article, not to mention many of the other sources I’ve found, that tell the stories of the young women that were the first ones to experience the beauty and magnificence of the Women’s Building, later to be called Morrill Hall. I won’t go into depth in this blog; if you’re interested in finding out more, come spring I’ll be doing a presentation on everything I’ve found. In the meantime, go check out Morrill Hall yourself. Even if you’ve walked the halls a million times, go one more time, and say farewell to the building. It may seem cliché, but it won’t be around much longer, and you’ll regret it if you don’t one last time visit the place that holds so much history.

CAP Typologies

Whiteware Ceramic Sherds

While I’ve been visiting the archives a couple of times a week, looking for information I can use for my research project, I’ve also been down in the CAP lab with Blair, putting together a type collection that can be used for future CAP members, in order to help classify artifacts that have been/will be found. Since I haven’t had much experience thus far in archaeological labs, it’s been interesting to learn what exactly a type collection even is, and to get the opportunity to look at all the collections that Campus Archaeology has obtained since it was first started. During my first visit down to the lab, Katy helped me to understand the difference between the types of ceramics we have (earthenware vs. whiteware vs. stoneware, etc), the difference between the types of nails we have, and ways to classify the types of glass we have. To someone who has had experience in the lab, this may all seem like very trivial stuff, but for someone who had never seen a type collection before, or had gotten to classify artifacts before (namely, me) I had to start somewhere, and learning the basics was definitely necessary. I was given a couple of informational sheets to look over, along with some websites, until the next time I could get back in the lab.

Different types of Nails

As an undergraduate, this work in the lab has really helped me learn some necessary skills that I will continue to use as a graduate student and into my career life. Granted, I’m not necessarily looking to be a historical archaeologist. As of right now, I’m looking into graduate schools that will help me focus on bioarcheaology, specifically in Central America. However, this doesn’t mean that what I’m doing in the CAP lab won’t help me in the future. What a typology is and how it is formed/used is necessary to know for working with artifacts from any time period, not just historical artifacts. Even though bioarcheaology focuses on human skeletons, all archeological fields can be connected in some way or other, and it could definitely be useful to me to someday use what I know about typologies to help with whatever research I happen to be doing. It’s also been nice to get some experience in the lab, just in general. As an archeologist, I will definitely spend much of my future in labs, and learning the dos and don’ts of a lab is obviously important. Not to mention lab experience looks good on graduate school applications, which is definitely something I’m keeping in mind as I get closer to graduation.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s also been a good experience to work with someone else in the lab. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t extremely knowledgeable about type collections, and it’s been nice to work with a graduate student who knows more. Blair has been very enjoyable to work with, and she offers up good suggestions that I otherwise may not have thought of. It’s also been nice to get to know a graduate anthropology student. As a junior, I’m starting to look into graduate schools and what kind of life I will live after I graduate from MSU, and working with not only Blair, but with Katy and some of the other graduate students too, has given me a peek at that.

For an actual summary about what Blair and I have been doing in the lab, take a glance at her blog entry. It’s been a rewarding experience working down there with her, and I have to say, there is really no better way to learn about this great university’s history than actually getting one’s hands on the actual artifacts that tell us so much.