Last Tuesday, November 12, 2019, Campus Archaeology hosted their first Open House. For two hours, Campus Archaeology opened our lab doors to the public. Campus Archaeology strives to have a standing relationship with the community through our numerous outreach events each year, as well as…
Next week is the annual Midwest Archaeological Conference (October 10-12, 2019) in Mankato, MN. Below is a list of dates and times of all MSU presentations. This includes past, present, and retired MSU graduate students and faculty. Included is a poster on the Campus Archaeology…
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 Dr. Stacey Camp taught a 4-week archaeological field school that took place on Michigan State University’s campus. We had 15 students, and 2 volunteers participate! The field school focused on learning more about a historic homestead that was located on the corner of Shaw Lane and Hagadorn Road. You can learn more about this area’s history in a previous blog post.
The field school students were taught archaeological field methods in addition to learning how to conduct archival research, use digital technology (KoBoToolbox) to record data, artifact drawing, how to make 3D artifact models using photogrammetry, and how to identify and research artifacts.
Munsell also visited the field school to show us a few of their products and see how we typically use their soil color book. The products they brought and taught us about included their new Munsell CAPSURE Color Matching Tool! You can read more about their visit in our Color Me Excited blog post.
We will be posting blogs written field school students about their experience throughout the year.
Field Crew Work
The CAP field crew worked all across campus during the summer, from the Brody Neighborhood construction to the South River Trail sidewalks near the Business College Complex. Most of the work that took place by the CAP crew was for construction mitigation.
These projects included monitoring construction taking place near the Brody Neighborhood Complex and shovel test excavations for the Munn Ice Arena renovations, Williams Hall sidewalks, Parking Lot 7 sidewalks, Student Services sidewalks, and the South River Trail sidewalks. The CAP crew used the South River Trail sidewalk project to teach the archaeological field school students how to conduct shovel test pit surveys.
In addition to construction mitigation, the CAP Crew finished field research project on the Sanford Natural Area historic Sugar House. A report on the results of this research will be available on our website later this fall!
This year, Grandparent’s University participants in our History Beneath Our Feet: The Archaeology of MSU class learned about the archaeological field school that took place, and then assisted us in cleaning artifacts uncovered just weeks before from MSU’s campus. We also had coloring pages, 3D artifact models, a stratigraphy game, and artifacts available for the participants to interact with!
Painting the Rock
In order to promote the MSU Campus Archaeology Program and the archaeological field school taking place on campus, the CAP crew painted the famous MSU Rock. The 3D model made of the rock was then included as the final artifact #ArchaeologyofMSUin20 series.
Stay tuned to learn about our 2019-2020 Graduate Fellows and undergraduate interns!
Over the past couple of months, Campus Archaeology has been in communications with Girl Scout Regional Program and Event Specialist, Bethany Wilson, to develop an archaeology badge for girl scouts across Michigan. We are elated about our new partnership! These annual events will be a unique opportunity to teach young girls a variety of components of being an archaeologist, while showing that girls like to get dirty too!
This event will serve a minimum of 50 girls from across the state of Michigan in a single day. We plan to host this event in two sessions during the day in order to better serve the Girl Scout Brownies (2nd and 3rd grade) with a more personal experience. There is potential for including more age groups at a later date after the program well-established. The event will be structured as half-day workshop with the girls circulating through a series of 5 stations focusing on different aspects of fieldwork, including excavation, field photography, mapping, artifact identification, and soil classification.
At the excavation station, attendees will learn to layout a grid, learn the importance of methodical excavation, and different techniques for digging a grid unit. Next, they will get to photograph artifacts while learning the importance and difficulties of lighting in the field and other critical features, such as using a scale and north arrow. The mapping station will allow the girls to draw hand maps of a grid unit, followed by the artifact identification station where the girls will learn to identify stone tools, pottery, and several historic artifacts. Finally, at the soil classification station, attendees will compare a series of soil samples to a Munsell chart to determine the soil color and determine the composition of the soil (e.g. clay vs sandy). Understanding the soil type and soil color variations within an archaeological site provide important clues for identifying features, such as fire pits, as well as informing preservation expectations of organic materials.
The structure of this event will also provide the members with opportunities to earn more than one badges in a single event, such as badges for photography and mapping. To earn the archaeology badge, the girls will complete five steps: 1) become an archaeologist, 2) interpret the past, 3) discover a new culture, 4) preserve history, and 5) share their story. These steps can be completed in a variety of ways, such as meeting a museum curator, learning to categorize, log, and store artifacts, going to a local archaeological site, doing research on an artifact, and many more.
Over the next several weeks, Campus Archaeology will be working closely with Bethany Wilson to finalize the “Digging into the Past” badge program. We will set a date and location for the event, which will appear in the new program manual released to all Michigan Girl Scout member families in March. We are very excited to see the design of the new badge and to educate the future women of archaeology.
Dr. Amy Michael is a biological anthropologist whose research examines the microstructure of human bones and teeth in order to address questions ranging from health and social identity in the ancient Maya to the effect of lifestyle factors on skeletal age. She is currently a…
For the past several years, the Capturing Campus Cuisine project has resulted in some wonderful collaborations and outreach opportunities between CAP and other MSU programs. Our partnership with MSU Culinary Services has resulted in a successful historic luncheon reconstruction and “throwback” meals with the MSU ON-THE-GO Food Truck.
Our latest collaboration is with the MSU Student Organic Farm (http://www.msuorganicfarm.org/) which was established to provide Michigan State University students with hands-on training in sustainable farming. It revives a tradition from the earliest days of the university, when it was known as the State Agricultural College, where students worked on the campus farms and gardens daily so they could put to practice what they learned in the classroom.
Those who follow us know that outreach is a big part of what we do in the Campus Archaeology Program. Every year, CAP participates in several public outreach events including Michigan Archaeology Day, Grandparents University, ScienceFest, and more. These events are important because it gives…