CAP Update: Spring 2022

CAP Update: Spring 2022

Here at Michigan State we welcome winter as we return to classes and our labs. I would like share what we have been up to over break and provide a preview of what CAP will be working on this semester.

What We Did Over The Break

Logo for the 2022 SHA conference

Over break CAP fellows finalized our presentation for the 2022 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology where we were to present at a session on Campus Archaeology and Community Collaboration. This conference was held from January 5 – 8 in Philadelphia, PA. Unfortunately, the representatives from CAP elected not attend the conference due to the current rise in COVID-19 cases, but Benjamin Akey kindly recorded our presentation so it could be played in our absence.

In this talk we share our investigation of the mid-20th century Service Road midden (trash dump) found at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan and the related history of temporary post-World War II student housing on campus. The first part provides a historical overview of the post-World War II campus and of the midden site. The second and third sections explore in greater depth the cosmetic vessels and institutional ware ceramics recovered from the Service Road Midden. A study of MSU’s institutional ware ceramics provides both a reliable way to date the midden deposit and, by exploring their decorative styles, identify the places on campus where the ceramics were used and, thus, where some of the assemblage may have come from. A study of cosmetic and bodily-hygiene products provides insights into the negotiation of gendered identities on a campus that—for the first time—included a large proportion of married students and their families. 

We have added our presentation here and we hope you enjoy it:

Video of CAP’s presentation at the 2022 SHA conference

What We Have Coming Up:

This spring we are looking forward to:

  • participating in MSU’s Science Festival – we will have booth with hands-on activities, a new exhibit, and archaeologists to answer questions about the archaeology and the university’s history.
  • creating a new geocaching tours and locations
  • presenting talks on campus
  • preparing for summer fieldwork
  • sharing our archaeology choose-your-own-adventure games
  • performing new research on our lab collections
  • writing new blogs
  • and welcoming a new cohort of undergraduate CAP interns

Stay tuned for all of this and more as we continue to work to share and protect MSU’s cultural heritage in 2022 and beyond.

3 thoughts on “CAP Update: Spring 2022”

  • I enjoy all your updates especially the one on Faculty Row. There were many such building and home that were deconstructed over the last 150 years or so. The campus has grown over this long period of time and it would be interesting how many rural school were encompassed within this vast area that are now gone or repurposed. Growing up on College road I had the privilege of attending one of these schools located on the corner of College and Cavanaugh now Jolly Rd. It was purchased by MSU back in the early 60 torn down in about 1960. The school, (Island School) has my home for 9 years and was wondering if anything was saved from the brick building? If I remember it was built in 1886. It would be neat if at some later time and excavation could take place on that corner to try and recover what was dropped from so many students pocket and lunch sacks over the many years we played there. Thanks again for keeping us updated on our past.

  • Hello Lanny,

    Thank you for the kind words, we are pleased to hear you enjoy these updates. As for the Island School, it appears on US topographic maps until ca. 1962 (, being named on the 1911 (updated 1943) map and indicated on the 1962 map. The school is also visible in aerials in the 1938 and the 1950 ( Lastly, looking at the county atlases (;type=simple;q1=Ingham+County+(Mich.)+–+Maps) there is a school at that location as early as 1874, though possibly a different school building.

    Unfortunately I would think that nothing was saved during demolition, unless it was by private individuals , you could however contact the Holt-Delhi Historical Society (, who may know more. If we every do an excavation there we will be sure to announce it! If you would be interested in sharing your stories about the school we would love to hear them and could set something up. Email us at

    Thank you for your kind message and information.

  • Thank you so much for your reply and for all the maps it’s so fun looking back at our history in that area. I’m still working on getting around in all of this information you sent me but I love it. The Island school had a large basement and maybe back in 1963 or so when they tore it down they might have just buried it, or at least part of it. We had a very large play ground just south of the school and I’m sure lots of things were dropped over many years of use. I have just one picture of the school but many fond memories the years I spent there. I would love to set down with you to remissness those years which were the best years of my life. Please keep me in mind and maybe this summer we can set up a date to talk. I usually get on campus several times a year to visit the gardens and ice cream store and just walk around. I might even try and find one of your digs. Best regards and again THANK YOUR.
    Lanny Reed
    Portland Mi

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