Intern Update: MSU’s Prehistoric Past

This is a Campus Archaeology Intern Update by Billy

Right under our feet, thousands of years ago, lived people that called this their home. Of course none of the buildings were here yet, and the landscape looked quite a bit different. This semester I plan on discovering a little about what their life was like, who they were, where they settled, what materials they used, and when were they were here.

I’m going to use the research found by the CAP field school, work with MSU faculty, and do independent research to investigate these questions. 3 CAP interns, including myself, are going to present our findings at an conference later on in the year. I’m hoping to learn a lot and gain valuable experience.

Late Archaic projectile points from the Beaumont Site
Late Archaic projectile points from the Beaumont Site

Early campus didn’t look like it did today. Most of the area was swamp and woodlands. The area would almost completely flood over making it uninhabitable part of the year. This means that settlers that were here, were only here temporarily. While most people around this time were settling near water, the people who settled on early campus had to settle a little ways away from the river due this heavy flooding. Which explains why we found some of the objects where we did. We believe the artifacts we’ve found are from the late archaic and early woodland period due to the shape of projectile points and because of other local sites with similar features dated around this time.

The early settlers were most likely foragers and small game hunters. The feature and artifacts we found would suggest that this was a temporary occupation. This may have even been a seasonal hunting spot. Vegetation, seeds, and nuts, like walnut, acorn, and beech, would have been a source of food along with small game like deer, elk, raccoon, muskrat, and goose.

Well my work is cut out for me researching who was here, how they lived, what materials they used, and when they were here. I’m hoping to learn a lot from other local sites and artifacts have been found in the area. I’m hoping this will give me good insight and help me apply the knowledge to the early settlement we have found.

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