Tag: research

CAP Lab Open House

CAP Lab Open House

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 

MSU at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting 2019

MSU at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting 2019

Interested in hearing what MSU graduate students and professors are presenting at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology? Below is a list compiled including the names, title of presentation/poster, date, time, and location for each MSU scholar! We hope to see 

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 be an archaeologist, because you learn by actually doing archaeology. CAP summer field school students will earn course credits while gaining hands-on experience and developing key archaeological skills: how to survey, excavate, and map sites, how to identify and interpret artifacts in the lab, how to record and communicate findings, and how to maintain and preserve cultural heritage.

CAP Field School students digging on the banks of the Red Cedar River behind the Admin Building.

Past CAP field schools on MSU’s historic campus have focused on a number of sites across the oldest area of campus known as the “Sacred Space,” a midden associated with construction from Professor Gunson’s house, and Station Terrace, a building that served many uses ranging from housing for bachelor faculty to a post office. 

The 2019 summer field school will focus on the site of a historic homestead, located near present day Shaw Lane and Hagadorn Road on the eastern edge of main campus.

Over the past year, the CAP team has conducted archival research to learn more about the history of this area. Using documents such as U.S. Census records, plat maps, and deeds, we were able to discover how the land was used and who lived there from the mid-1800s to the time it became part of campus in the 1950s.

Peter Toolan and his family owned a strip of land between modern Hagadorn Road and Bogue Street (Plat Book of Ingham County, 1939). From at least 1870 until at least 1920 Peter, and later, his son Peter Jr., farmed land in Meridian Township (U.S. Census 1870-1920). After Peter Jr. died his sister, Mary Rogers, became the head of the household (U.S. Census 1940). Census records from 1940 indicate Mary rented space on the property to John Wesley and Lucy Westrom and Lawrence and Annie Bush (U.S. Census 1940). By 1953, the Westroms must have owned the Toolan property, because warranty deeds show that John Westrom and his son Chester transferred ownership of the land to the Michigan State Board of Agriculture in June of that year.

Plat maps are documents that show divisions of a piece of land. This map from 1939 shows the parcel of land belonging to Peter Toolan. http://www.historicmapworks.com/Atlas/US/31498/Ingham+County+1939c/.

We also consulted historical maps and aerial photographs to learn about any potential buildings associated with these families. Within the investigation area planned for the field school, these documents show evidence of various structures on the Toolan property. A USGS topographic map of the East Lansing area shows that there was a structure on the property by at least 1909 (USGS 1909). However, since the Toolans were in the area since the 1870’s, a cabin or house could have been present there long before the map was made. The first moderately clear aerial photos of the area, from October 1953, show a house and possible outbuildings on the eastern edge of the Toolan property (MSU IPF). All of these structures appear to have been removed by 1965 (MSU IPF), probably to make way for Holmes Hall’s construction. Based on this evidence, we expect that structural remnants or historical artifacts dating from the 1870s to the 1950s are likely associated with the families living on the Toolan homestead.

October 1953 aerial image of the Toolan home lot. Hagadorn Road is just outside of the image to the right. The image shows the main house on the left, as well as one or two smaller outbuildings to the right. https://apps.gis.msu.edu/facilities-information-tool/maps/campus/

CAP first began investigating this area during summer 2018 in response to construction projects taking place near the Shaw and Hagadorn intersection. In May, the CAP team conducted pedestrian and systematic shovel test pit surveys. The team recorded various artifacts including colored glass, milk glass, decorated and undecorated ceramics, bath tile, nails, medicine bottles, and butchered animal bones. In June CAP returned to host an Archaeology STEM camp for IB high school students at the site. Most of the artifacts found in May and June are consistent with dates between the mid to late 1800s and the 1950s, the period it was occupied by the Toolan and later the Westrom and Bush families.

IB STEM camp students screen dirt to look for artifacts.

We are excited to learn more about this site because it is one of the few known homesteads in the area that may have been in operation around the same time the university was founded and throughout its expansion. Investigation of this homestead can give us insight into the growth of campus and the surrounding city of East Lansing. As we continue work this summer we hope to find more artifacts and potentially locate structural remnants from the house associated with the Toolan, Westrom, and Bush families.  

If you’re interested in joining the team for the 2019 field school, you can find more information and the application form here. Applications are due to CAP Director Dr. Stacey Camp (campstac@msu.edu) by March 1, 2019.  


References

Michigan. Ingham County, Town of Meridian. 1870 U.S. Census, page 18.

Michigan. Ingham County, Meridian Township. 1920 U.S. Census, Sheet No. 9A.

Michigan. Ingham County, Meridian Township. 1940 U.S. Census, Sheet No. 20A.

United States Geological Survey. Michigan (Ingham County), Mason Quadrangle. Map. U.S. Department of the Interior. 1909. Accessed: http://historicalmaps.arcgis.com/usgs/

Plat book of Ingham County, Michigan. Meridian Township. Map. W.W. Hixon & Co. 1939. Accessed: http://www.historicmapworks.com/Atlas/US/31498/Ingham+County+1939c/

MSU Infrastructure, Planning, and Facilities (IPF) Public GIS. Accessed: https://apps.gis.msu.edu/facilities-information-tool/maps/campus/

  • Aerial image, October 15th 1953
  • Aerial image, 1965
Modeling the Past: Photogrammetry and Anthropological Research

Modeling the Past: Photogrammetry and Anthropological Research

For my CAP project this year, I decided to do something at which I feel I’m particularly good: creating 3D models of artifacts found during CAP excavations. I have been using digital technologies to render 3D models for about three years now and have created 

MSU at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

MSU at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

Next week is the annual Midwest Archaeological Conference (October 4-6, 2018) in Notre Dame. Below is a list of dates and times of all MSU presentations, posters, and discussants. Included in these are two posters on Campus Archaeology projects that you should check out! Friday, 

The Sweet Side of History: Investigating an Old MSU Sugar House

The Sweet Side of History: Investigating an Old MSU Sugar House

Speaking as a person with a serious sweet tooth, maple syrup may be one of the greatest products of nature. It is tasty, versatile, and can be made by anyone with enough maple trees and a hot flame. It also has been a part of life in the upper Midwest for longer than many people realize. While evidence of prehistoric production has largely alluded archaeologists, archaeological and documentary evidence demonstrate the production of maple sugar foodstuffs by early historic Native American tribes in the 1700s, if not earlier (Thomas 2005; Thomas and Silbernagel 2003). Since that time, different people and different technologies have shaped the production process, as maple syrup and sugar became important foodstuffs across the country. While not quite centuries old, MSU also has a long history of working with maple products. This year, as part of our work for the Campus Archaeology Program, myself and Jack Biggs will be researching this history, as well as investigating an old, abandoned MSU sugarbush (a forest stand used for maple syrup production).

Continue reading The Sweet Side of History: Investigating an Old MSU Sugar House

Big Changes Coming in MSU Campus Archaeology’s Future

Big Changes Coming in MSU Campus Archaeology’s Future

The 2017-18 academic year will be a momentous one for MSU Campus Archaeology. We are now an established entity in the University with our own budget and clear goals, but as of May 2018, I (Lynne Goldstein) will be retiring from MSU, and the MSU 

Four Pickles for Dinner? Trials and Tribulations of Archival Research and Tips for Success

Four Pickles for Dinner? Trials and Tribulations of Archival Research and Tips for Success

History is fleeting yet enduring. We hardly ever realize that we are making it, but the remnants of our historic actions can sometimes remain long after they are done. Things casually jotted down, random papers and notes tucked away—these are items we don’t realize that 

CAP- Year in Review

CAP- Year in Review

As the final week of the semester winds down, CAP wanted to look back at all we’ve accomplished this year. In addition to our public outreach projects, which included Michigan Archaeology Day, Science Fair at Bennett Woods Elementary, Science Fest at East Olive, and the Haunted Campus Tour, our CAP fellows have been hard at work on their own projects and papers.

Katy Meyers-Emery

This semester, I’ve been working on a number of projects. The first is research into the history, archaeology and perceptions of the Sacred Space. This work will be presented at the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values Conference as part of the SAA sponsored session. The second is preparing for the summer Campus Archaeology field school. I will be the Teaching Assistant for the field school, which is an exciting opportunity for me to learn to teach in this unique manner. In addition to these two projects, I also helped with the creation of a game for Science Fest and other kid’s archaeological events. The game involves a mock stratigraphy with different types of soil based on what they think the artifact is and how old they think it is. I helped develop a proposal for a sustainability grant, and also tested out some new digital methods of recording in the field. As usual, I have blogged throughout the semester on a variety of topics, helped to maintain and update the website and aided in Science Fest.

Nicole Geske

I researched the best way to approach our outreach. From seeing what others have done for their archaeological outreach, it was determined that we should instead focus on creating “toolboxes” that could be loaned out to various teachers or educators. These have not been fully completed as of yet, but we have a list of topics and materials that would be included within them. At this point, we just need to create them. It was also determined that there were some instances that were better suited for us to interact with students directly, especially for campus- based events, suh as Science Fest and Grandparents University. For these events,  I developed and modified activities that could be utilized. I also examined sustainability through time on campus for our presentation at the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values Conference in May. Finally, I accessioned and cataloged the collections from previous excavations and field work on campus.

Josh Burbank

This year my projects included completing a panel on the history of students at MSU to be displayed at the new Graduate School location in Chittenden Hall. I’ve been working with Amy on the presentation for the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values Conference. Our paper seeks to understand if “gendered” spaces can be predicted on campus. Throughout the year I conducted research at the University Archives to learn more about MSU’s original Engineering Building, which was destroyed by a fire in 1916, and Wells Hall #2, which was demolished in 1966 to make room for an addition to the Main Library. This research was done in preparation for the upcoming field school.

Amy Michaels

During the fall semester I worked on two different panels for the Chittenden Hall displays. The first panel reviewed the history of the building through time, while the second panel focused on the history of Lab Row. Throughout both semesters, i continued to collect data from the University Archives for the gendered landscape project. A summary of the project will be presented at the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values Conference. Finally, I completed a draft of the gendered landscape paper the I will work on with Dr. Goldstein to submit for publication.

Lisa Bright

This year I focused on the completion of a panel for the Chittenden display. The panel discussed the relationship between CAP and Graduate School. This spring, I spent extensive time in the archives researching the possible origin of the Hannah Admin assemblage. Kate and I were able to locate a possible source for the high quality ceramics, the Ana Bayha Home Management House. Finally, I’ve been working with Nicole and Amy on a presentation for the the Cultural Landscape and Heritage Values Conference on MSU’s sustainability practices through time.

Blair Zaid

I’ve had three major projects this year.  The first was the Sacred Space panel for Chittenden Hall. I integrated the work of previous CAP fellows with what I learned from the cultural heritage course with Dr. Goldstein to create a publicly accessible display of the links between MSU, archaeology, and cultural heritage. My year long project in 3D technology has introduced me to a number of resources and people through twitter, campus, and plain old face-to-face conversations. My ultimate goal was to identify a free and easy way to display 3D pictures of on the CAP website.  This project is still underway and as I’ve teamed up with members of MSU LEADR to bring the project to completion this summer. For my last major project I am working with Kate on a presentation for the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values conference. This paper will explore potential relationships between MSU’s prehistoric site to their cultural heritage initiatives. Ultimately, we are attempting to come up with some meaningful ideas for how to incorporate local Native American pasts into MSU’s present.

Anthropology Students Present at UURAF 2015

Anthropology Students Present at UURAF 2015

Friday I had the privilege of evaluating the Anthropology section of the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) in the MSU Union. I was very impressed with the quality of research and the ability of each presenter to discuss their project goals and outcomes.