MSU Campus Archaeology is a program that works to mitigate and protect the archaeological resources on Michigan State University’s beautiful and historic campus. The premier Land-Grant College, Michigan State University (MSU) has a cultural heritage that exists not only in our rich traditions and academic values, but also underneath our feet, below the ground that we walk on every day.

The Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) works with multiple departments across the University to make sure that this cultural heritage is protected. Each construction project on campus that disturbs the earth is properly mitigated by CAP. Almost the entire process of completing an excavation project, from design to historical research to excavation to reporting to outreach is completed by MSU undergraduate and graduate students, advancing their education in unique ways. CAP also works to contribute to the public understanding of MSU’s cultural heritage through contributions to academic journals, giving talks and presentations on campus, and developing outreach opportunities throughout the community.

The Campus Archaeology Program is committed to community engagement. Our primary focus is on the MSU community, educating them about their cultural heritage, and how archaeology can be used to discover a community’s past. In doing so, we hope to encourage a greater respect for the campus space, reflecting the University’s commitment to good stewardship to the campus and its environment.

We use many forms of engagement. One approach is through digital social media, including social networking sites such as InstagramTwitterFacebook, YouTubeSketchfab, and Flickr. We also provide lectures to campus classes and community groups, engage in collaborative research opportunities with other campus units, and do our best to educate the public during site visits out in the field.

Our primary mode of engagement, however, is with the people who work in Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities. This is a large community at Michigan State, who are rarely seen, yet who play a critical role in the shaping of our University culture. We will continue to work with them to make sure that the advancements that are necessary for the future pay homage and respect to the past, and that through our partnership, we will be able to foster a greater respect for the work that they do at our University.


How can you be involved in Campus Archaeology?


Follow us on online: 

Follow our blog, like our Facebook page, check out our pictures on Flickr, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Sketchfab, and YouTube. We are constantly updating with minute by minute updates from the field, posts about our recent findings, and tidbits about our research, methodology, and interesting things we discover about MSU’s history. Please make comments, ask us questions, and talk amongst yourselves about what we’re finding!

Explore our educational opportunities: 

We have a number of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to work with us, including internships, graduate assistantships, research projects, and field school opportunities.

Look at our Research: 

We are developing a database of our written reports for members of the MSU community, particularly those engaged in campus construction, to see what areas of campus are archaeologically sensitive. Additionally, we will be posting links to additional research that has been published in academic books and journals, and papers and posters presented at professional conferences.