For most people, Detroit is known as the Motor City. With the big three companies situated around the city, Detroit is a proud producer of automobiles for customers all over the world. However, what people don’t know is that cars aren’t the only product that …
We’ve found some interesting artifacts on campus, some of which can be a little difficult to identify, and others that are a little bit weird. There are random chunks of metal, bent and rusted until identification is impossible. Old bottles that have lost their labels and have weird embossing that make determining function hard. We’ve even found human hair! Many artifacts we find are more industrial and relating to building construction- items that we don’t run into on a daily basis. Others are things no longer used by our society such as parts of slate pens or inkwells. Usually, with a little bit of cleaning, research into potential artifacts and imagination we can come up with at least an idea of use or function.
I’m totally stumped on this one. This large circular hunk of concrete was given to us by construction workers putting in new steam pipes south of Beaumont Tower. The concrete has a horseshoe embedded in it, that appears to be some type of handle. There’s even a nail still in one of the horseshoe holes. They said it was a sump pump cover, but that doesn’t really make sense. It might be from an old cistern. It is definitely more homemade or make do. The thing is quite heavy show it would be a great cover for something that needed protecting. One suggestion from the department it that its an early version of a kettleball… Not too sure about that one.
Author: Katy Meyers Emery
We are now deep into the throws of creating a typology for the CAP artifacts from across campus to establish a system for adding new objects during future work. In archaeology this set of artifacts is called a type collection which allows us to be …
If you’ve been following our twitter feed or facebook, you know that we are hard at work surveying beneath the sidewalks around Linton Hall and Beaumont Tower. As part of the campus construction, a majority of the sidewalks within the sacred space are being renovated. Sidewalk replacement involves removal of the old walk, flattening the ground, laying down sand, and then covering the area with fresh cement. This process is fairly quick, and most walks are removed and replaced in an afternoon. However, the sacred space is an important area for MSU’s history. By digging beneath the sidewalks as they are removed we are able to get a glimpse at sections of the sacred space that we haven’t been able to access. These sections are also protected by the sidewalks and are therefore more likely to contain preserved artifacts.
With a team of grad students we began working two weeks ago, and have been fairly busy since then following the demolition crews. So what has been underneath the sidewalks you tread across everyday? Here are some of our finds from these surveys.
Beaumont Northwest Sidewalk Survey: Salt Glazed Stoneware
Ceramics are one of the primary types of objects we find on campus, although usually it is more delicate plain whiteware. This piece of pottery is stoneware. Stoneware is thicker than whiteware and non-porous, which means it is impervious to liquid even without a glaze. This particular piece has a grey glazed exterior, light yellow-white paste, and a brown salt glazed interior. You can see that it has an ‘orange peel’ like interior, which is indicative of the salt glazing process. This glaze is important because it makes the interior even more sealed against liquids and perfect for domestic kitchen use.
Beaumont North Sidewalk Survey: Square Cut Nails
When we find metal from the 19th century it is usually so rusted that it makes identification of what it exactly is very difficult. Nails look like reddish brown tree stems (and can be easily confused with them) instead of the smooth grey metal they actually are. While digging to the northwest of Beaumont Tower we found two surprisingly clean square cut nails. This style of nail was used from the 1820’s to 1910’s. Their great preservation makes them an invaluable resource as we can use them to train students in identification. (To learn more about styles of nails we fin on campus you can read a previous blog post on the subject)
Linton Hall South Sidewalk Survey: Glazed Brick
Throughout campus we find bricks. They were collected from the demolished historic buildings and used to modify the landscape. We find them primarily around the river banks where they would have been dumped to prevent flooding. During this section of the survey we found dozens of bricks. Since we have found hundreds of these, we don’t usually keep them. We do however keep bricks that have been painted or glazed. We found a number of bricks with a grey glazed exterior. During the firing process, this paint was added. This makes the brick impervious to weather and reduces deterioration. Our bricks appear to have primarily a grey salt glaze to them.
Author: Katy Meyers Emery
On June 7th during an excavation in West Circle Drive we recovered a paperclip. Now, you should know that we don’t keep anything that is definitely modern. We don’t keep the crushed beer cans from tailgating or the McDonald’s straws from littering. We did keep …