This past summer has been one of the busiest, if not the busiest, summers of my time as director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. While we did not have a field school as we generally run them every other year, a remarkable discovery was …
Author: Stacey Camp
Greetings! This is Dr. Stacey Camp, Director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. This past year has been one of constant change for our program. We have a new Campus Archaeologist, Ben Akey, after saying goodbye to our last Campus Archaeology, Jeff Burnett. We have …
For those of you just joining our blog for the first time, I am Dr. Camp, the Director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program (CAP). I am entering my 5th year here at MSU, and my 13th teaching as a tenure track faculty member at a land grant university.
This past year and a half has been one filled with anxiety and challenges. We mourn all of the people lost to COVID and the substantial impact it has had on our lives.
While most of our campus was remote up until August 2021, CAP worked on construction projects during the pandemic to ensure the university remained in compliance with federal and state guidelines concerning below ground heritage.
In fact, this past year was one of the busiest for our program due to taking on a federal compliance project that involved campus, city, state, federal, and tribal agencies. We learned how to go through the Section 106 process with the aid of many on and off campus partners. This included assessing, mitigating, and monitoring the construction of a substantial bike pathway that transverses much of our beautiful campus. Our CAP fellows and staff spent the summer overseeing the project, laboring in the heat with masks on to keep each other safe.
We also oversaw a substantial construction project at the beginning of the pandemic back in May 2020. The project lasted through August 2020. This project has resulted in several forthcoming publications and multiple public (online/remote) talks about our findings at conferences and at the MSU Science Festival in the spring of 2021. Artifacts from this construction site, which is located on Service Road, reveal campus life during the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.
We oversaw a smaller, but equally important construction project involving the area known as Spartan Village, which is most recently used to house graduate students. Part of that property has been converted to build a new TechSmith building. After conducting substantial historical research on the property, we conducted a geophysical survey with the assistance of MSU alumni Dr. Duane Quates in the fall of 2020. We used Dr. Quates’ data to help inform test excavations on the site later during the 2020-2021 academic year. We monitored construction on the site this summer (2021), which revealed numerous artifacts and building foundations.
We also continue to be involved in tree plantings on campus to ensure dirt removed as part of their planting is screened for artifacts.
Though our mission will remains clear – to protect and mitigate below ground resources on MSU’s campus while training students in archaeological research and public history – this year has also given us time and space to reflect upon what we have accomplished and what we would like to do for our community in the coming years. As we discussed in our blog last summer, we are working towards sharing more about the diverse communities who have lived and work on campus.
We have committed towards working closely with communities we have yet to serve in our surrounding region, but much of this work is on pause until we feel it is safe to do so. And while we have fallen short of some of our ambitious goals for this past year due to the burnt out, stress, and exhaustion that comes with living and working through a pandemic, we intend to keep them at the forefront of our planning for the coming years. We wish to work with the many communities who have resided on and owned MSU’s land and plan to develop policies that ensure proper consultation during construction projects.
I want to conclude by thanking all of our CAP staff and fellows for working so hard and learning to quickly adapt to in-flux new protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to thank the many staff with whom we have worked this past year+ of a pandemic. I also want to thank the undergraduates who helped us this summer with cataloging amid still very stressful times. We appreciate the ongoing support for CAP.
Greetings from Dr. Camp, the Director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. This summer has been one of great concern for our community and nation as well as one where we have had to rethink how we approach Campus Archaeology amid a global pandemic. Under …
Since March 2020, our world here in Michigan and in the United States has come undone. Inequities invisible to some but known and repeatedly experienced by people of color, particularly Black Michiganders, in the past and present have been laid bare before our feet. To …
As the end of my first year as the Campus Archaeology Program Director is coming to a close, I wanted to share some reflections and thoughts about our work. First, I wanted to say that I have been very lucky to work with our CAP Fellows, who are so engaged and enthusiastic about the work they do and about CAP. They are the backbone of our program and put a public face to the profession of archaeology.
What I also greatly appreciate about CAP is how we form partnerships across campus with a variety of groups and units. These collaborations range from working with the MSU Eat at State ON-THE-GO Food Truck, MSU Grandparents University, MSU Science Festival, Infrastructure, Planning, and Facilities (IPF), MSU Archives, and the MSU Paranormal Society to deliver outreach to our campus community, MSU alumni, and visitors to MSU. We also take CAP’s work off campus, bringing exhibits and outreach materials to events like Michigan Archaeology Day and local libraries and schools. CAP is unique in that it is able to engage people from all walks of life and interests beyond the ivory tower of academia.
Our reach is broad. As the new CAP director, I plan to continue to expand our sphere of influence. One example of this is our recent visit to MSU’s W. K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS). KBS was donated to MSU (or MSC as it was known in the past) by W. K. Kellogg, who is best known for being the founder of the Kellogg Company. Kellogg had many interests beyond the cereal that bears his name. He became fascinated with birds after hearing a lecture at a sanitarium and went on to build what is today the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary at the Kellogg Biological Station. He imported an international menagerie of birds to his sanctuary and then donated it to Michigan State College (now MSU) in 1928. Since then KBS has been an innovative research station that is of interest to ecologists, biologists, ornithologists, farmers, and, now, archaeologists.
Kara Haas, who serves as the Science Education & Outreach Coordinator for the W. K. Biological Station, and several other staff and volunteers at KBS gave us an engaging tour of the sanctuary and property. We saw architectural drawings of the property, fed trumpeter swans, located some extant archaeological features associated with KBS’ earlier days, and went on a fascinating tour of Kellogg’s ornately decorated and designed manor house. The CAP crew was also treated to a delicious meal at the dormitories attached to the manor.
I am hoping that this trip might generate future research projects for CAP, undergraduate students, and youth in Michigan. This is just one of the many examples of the type of partnerships we seek to build across campus, across the region, and across the state of Michigan. I look forward to continuing to share our new adventures as we learn about the people who once lived on and inhabited MSU’s properties.
In honor of World Teachers’ Day, we thought we would share our experiences working with students and teachers this past summer (2018). In the fall of 2017, Doctors Lynne Goldstein (former CAP Director), Stacey Camp (current CAP Director), and Leigh Graves Wolf (Clinical Associate Professor …