In our previous blog, Jeff Bennett introduced the concept of Open Archaeology and some of the ways that Campus Archaeology (CAP) is maintaining and furthering our position within the framework of Open Archaeology. One of the ways in which we plan to further our efforts […]
Tag: Public Outreach
Chris Stawski was involved with Campus Archaeology at its inception, beginning as an archaeological technician in the summer of 2008. Chris also held the position of Campus Archaeologist during the 2010-2011 academic year. During his tenure with CAP, he was a crew chief twice during the Campus Archaeology Summer Field School, and helped to create the framework for a Geographic Information System database for campus archaeological and historical research and analysis.
Chris earned his PhD from Michigan State University with a focus on archaeology in 2012, and since has been applying his skills in higher education, where he had taught for 5 years as an adjunct faculty member in the Anthropology Department at San Francisco State University.
Chris currently works at the University of California Berkeley’s Extension Program, and assists the Dean’s Office in project management and research. It is in this position that he uses his skills first developed working as Campus Archaeologist, which include establishing and maintaining campus partnerships, effectively communicating with external stakeholders and departments, and collaborating in multi-disciplinary research.
Q: You were in of the first groups of CAP fellows, what was it like when you were all establishing the program and how did it change over your tenure?
A: While CAP was first being established, the focus was on trying to figure out what we were working with archaeologically and trying to get a sense of the history and pre-history of the campus. A parallel focus was trying to be good campus partners. I took a lot of meetings with folks across campus to help foster collaboration and to make sure people knew who we were and what our mission was. This was where Dr. Goldstein was so successful in the early years of CAP, and its due to her laying the groundwork for these relationships that made CAP a truly successful program.
A: As things went on, people started to take more notice, and we emphasized the outreach in an effort to engage both the internal community at MSU, the larger archaeological community, as well as the local East Lansing community. The summer field schools were a great success in this respect, and really made people aware of what we were doing on campus. Archaeologically, over time we got a good handle on the landscape and what we may expect to find, and started building models that were informed by the survey and excavations we did. This led to more structure for the program, more opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate participation, and more research.
Q: What was your year as Campus Archaeologist like?
A: My year as Campus Archaeologist was spent organizing. I worked with some very excellent undergraduate interns, and together we helped to curate, standardize and structure the artifact collection for CAP. That was a big undertaking, but very helpful for all future collections. My own personal project was to build the framework for a Geographic Information System (GIS) for the archaeological investigations we did. It was pretty bare bones in the beginning, but subsequent people at CAP have improved upon the database and structure since I left. My final months as Campus Archaeologist were spent helping to run the 2nd ever CAP Summer Field School.
Q: What was your biggest challenge as a Campus Archaeologist?
A: My biggest challenge was social media. Terry Brock and Dr. Goldstein were so good at using these platforms for CAP, and I was completely illiterate in terms of Twitter and Facebook. But I kept at it because that was a crucial way in which we interacted with the public. As an archaeological program, I would have to imagine that we were a very early adopter of social media, especially Twitter. I have since gotten a bit better with Twitter, but it is still not my strong suit 🙂
Q: What was your favorite part of CAP (highlights)?
A: My favorite parts of CAP were the summer field schools, working with the undergraduate interns on their projects and seeing them present at the undergrad symposium, and just being in the field. You never knew when you may be called in to go to a construction site, or be asked to do some initial investigation of an area. It was so fun loading up my truck and heading out with my peers to go excavate on a nice fall day. Those are some of my fondest memories from my time at MSU.
Q: What were the major projects that you work on/with fellows on?
A: Like I had mentioned earlier, one of the biggest projects was curating and providing a structure to the artifact database at CAP. The other major project was the Faculty Row project, which was a huge construction undertaking in the oldest part of campus. That was my first major project, andI spent all summer helping to oversee and mitigate the major earth moving being done. That was also the first time we used GIS at CAP. We found a great map of the old Faculty Row buildings, and I was able to take that map and overlay it on the current aerial imagery of campus to get a better idea of where we may find archaeological sensitive areas and material.
Q: What are you currently working on now?
A:Currently I am the executive assistant to the Dean of the UC Berkeley Extension Program. I help to manage the Dean’s Office as well aid in managing projects, research and analysis related to the mission of the program. Prior to this role, I was an adjunct lecturer in the Anthropology Department at San Francisco State University.
Q: What was the most important thing you got out of CAP? How do you bring what you learned in CAP to what you do now?
A: For me, CAP was the best example of how you do archaeology and research in higher education, while simultaneously being a good campus partner and engaging in multi-disciplinary and cross-departmental collaboration. It helped to take me out of my “anthro/arch” bubble, and showed me the value of inclusivity and teamwork. Good research must take on a collaborative aspect, and you must be diverse in how you approach your work. Whether that is a diversity of people, different perspectives and viewpoints, or a variety of departments/programs, it is an essential aspect of all the work I have done since my time at CAP.
I want to thank Chris Stawski for allowing me to interview him and for his excellent perspectives into the early years of the Campus Archaeology Program.
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 […]
Throughout our careers, we as archaeologists participate in public outreach programs. Whether through public dig sites, school programs or artifact identifications, outreach programs come in many shapes and sizes and can be rewarding in unexpected ways for everyone involved. Being raised by my grandparents, I […]
Today is officially Day of Archaeology (#dayofarch). http://www.dayofarchaeology.com
Here at Michigan State, we have finished the field school, completed most construction-related projects, and are cleaning artifacts, organizing things and preparing for the new school year. I (Lynne Goldstein) am personally doing conference calls and trying to catch up on a variety of things that are due.
The field school was in a great location this year – along the river and right behind the Administration Building. The location was not only lovely and prime territory for duck and goose watching, but it is also a high traffic area, with lots of people – including administrators – walking by daily. Here is a shot I took from the Provost’s office:
Archaeological work outside the field may sound dull, but it really is not always the case, as I noted yesterday on Facebook:
“Sometimes meetings are very enjoyable. Just returned from a meeting about new campus historical markers, focusing on the “Sleepy Hollow” area. MSU wants to include info on the prehistoric site we found at the edge of the hollow, as well as info the MSU Campus Archaeology Program has on historic sites and events in the area.
After the meeting, we went and inspected a couple of sites, then I visited the Beal Botanical Garden because all of the Eastern Agricultural Complex domesticates were blooming – goosefoot (Chenopodium berlandieri), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), marshelder (Iva annua), and squash (Cucurbita pepo).”
The Lansing State Journal ran an article this week on archaeology in Michigan, and we are very pleased that we are featured, along with Fort Michilimackinac and others.
The field school excavated a really interesting historic site that was apparently a single dump episode – in 1924, the head of grounds for the campus (also a Professor of Horticulture) remodeled and modernized his house and used the construction debris as fill for a low spot along the river, not far from the house. Everything we found dates from 1890s-1925. Field school students blogged about the work and what they found, and you can find those posts here:
Our regular CAP posts continue, and this link tells you about the outhouse we found which is probably linked to Saints Rest, the very first dormitory on campus. We are very excited about this find because we have been searching for an outhouse associated with the dorm for a long time. Archaeologists like outhouses (well, old ones that don’t smell anymore) because no one goes after anything they dropped into one, and people also often used them as a dump for debris.
We do have some sidewalk work to do on campus, and this often yields really interesting things. The University replaces sidewalks with some regularity (they are now trying to install “green” sidewalks everywhere), and there is often undisturbed stuff beneath the old sidewalks.
Co-written by Lisa Bright and Nicole Geske Campus Archaeology participates in community education and outreach when possible, especially when we are specifically asked. But, with limited resources and time, we can often only accommodate large educational or MSU sponsored events. Therefore we find ourselves debating […]
Campus Archaeology is proud that we can give undergraduate students at MSU such an intensive, hands-on experience in archaeology. Our interns are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in every aspect of archaeology, from the research, to the lab work, all the way to full-scale […]