Field School Recap: Week 2, In the Shadow of Beaumont
Our second week of field school moved us from the Old MSC Power Plan to just west of Beaumont Tower, across West Circle Drive from the Library. Although we continued to dodge raindrops for the entire week, we managed to survey an enormous area in just over three days. Digging shovel test pits became a regular act for the students, and we began to reap some interesting rewards in the forms of bottles, nails, and, as is the norm here on MSU’s campus, brick.
Based on our finds, we have decided to focus our excavations in three different spots west of Beaumont Tower. The first is located directly under Beaumont Tower, where we located a number of foundation stones and construction material. Expanding the units will allow us to determine if there are any intact features or walls located here, which would be related to College Hall, MSU’s first building. The second is a bit further to the west, where a number of STPs were turning up a layer of cultural material, including some intact bottles and an interesting knob, possibly a piece of an old microscope, which had a patent date of 1889 stamped on it. The third spot is along the path leading to Sleepy Hollow, where a number of STPs produced a variety of artifacts along the slope. These included bottles and brick; we are hopeful that more trash deposits will be turned up.
One of the benefits of working on campus at MSU is that there are a number of in-house experts on a variety of things related to archaeology and MSU’s history. We had two guest lectures during week 2. Frank Tewlewski, a Professor of Plant Biology and the Curator of the Beal Gardens, gave us a lecture about the historic trees and gardens located on MSU’s campus. Dr. Bob Brinkmann, a professor of Geography from the University of Southern Florida, gave students an introductory lecture on soils, and their relationship to archaeology. Special thanks to both of these lecturers!
In addition to our new units, we will begin posting a number of blog posts written by the students about their first week at field school, like this firstone from Kayla Habermehl. Please give them a look, a read, and ask questions! We also added two new students from Kalamazoo College, who will be with us for the rest of the season.
We also got a bit of press this week: The State News wrote an article about our excavations, and MSU News came out and did some fantastic photography!
As always, please follow along on Twitter and Facebook, and check out (some less professional) photos from the second week on Flickr!
Author: Terry Brock