Autumn Digging at MSU!

This Thursday and Friday, October 28th and 29th, the Campus Archaeology Program will be doing some late October digging on campus.  We are very excited to be getting out and digging again, and have a great crew lined up to help.

The digging this week will be something a little different for CAP.  We will be doing STP survey on the north side of the Life Sciences building, where the proposed Nursing Building will soon reside.  The construction here provides CAP a unique opportunity to do archaeological testing on the south side of campus.  If you have been following us through the years, you know that a large part of our research and digging has focused on the north side of the river, in the oldest part of campus.  However, as CAP is dedicated to providing the history of MSU as a pioneer land grant institution, we must understand all aspects of how MSU came to be.  A large part of this is the expansion south in the early 20th century.

Research at the MSU archives has provided several clues as to the history of this area.  Starting in the 1930’s, MSU began purchasing acreage that was once private farmsteads.  The University maps of the area, from the early 1940’s, details how this land was developed under MSU into areas specifically for agricultural education.  The area that is now east of the Baker woodlot, where we will be digging, was allocated for soil sciences.  This whole area, from Hagadorn to Jolly, was a major expansion and remains to this day a major aspect of the land-grant, agricultural mission of the university.

Archaeologically, we expect to find remains of these early 19th century farmhouses, as well as evidence of MSU’s expansion and alteration of the landscape as it was converted for educational purposes.  Ultimately, MSU’s archival records only go back so far, so we might be surprised as to what we find!

In any case, it will be exciting to be out digging on MSU’s campus in the autumn.  If you are in the area, please stop by and say hello, and check Twitter and Facebook for updates from the field!

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