Conference Poster on Archaeology and Higher Education

This week, Campus Archaeology Director Lynne Goldstein and former Campus Archaeologist Terry Brock will be heading to Austin, Texas to take part in the Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference. This conference is held each year as an opportunity for archaeologists around the world to gather and give presentations and posters on the research they are conducting. Last year, Campus Archaeology presented a poster on using Digital Social Media to engage the community in their research, a poster that spawned a number of other archaeologists throughout the country using social media in this way.

This year, Terry and Dr. Goldstein will present another poster about why institutions of higher education are important places for archaeologists to research. Over the past few years, we have conducted a number of archaeological investigations throughout campus. While our discoveries have held important cultural meaning to MSU’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni, they also provide an important glimpse into how higher education has grown and changed over time. For example, the excavations at Saints’ Rest, which have revealed small trash pits of cut bone and ceramics, may tell us a good deal about how sparse and basic life was like for the earliest students. In contrast, excavations at Brody Hall, which revealed a massive landfill from the 1930s and 40s, suggests that the community in East Lansing had grown substantially during the previous 70 years, due primarily to the impact and growth of the university.

Our poster addresses the potential questions that could be analyzed by research programs on college campuses, addresses the challenges faced by the unique context of university’s, talks about who the key community stakeholders are in these programs, and suggests a process by which these programs can be carried out. We have found the Campus Archaeology Program to be a successful model with which to conduct archaeology on a college campus, and hope that this poster will encourage others to develop such a program. We have provided the poster on Slideshare, so that you can see what we are up to. We’d love to have your feedback!

Author: Terry Brock

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