In CAP this year, we’ve been brainstorming about public outreach activities. We’ve been focusing on activities for kids – who sometimes need a little extra help engaging with archaeological materials. This is my first year as a graduate student at MSU, and my first year …
With COVID-19 still dictating much of our day-to-day lives, Campus Archaeology made the early call to put all of our outreach events for the foreseeable future online or in some digital format. One of our most popular and fun events we put on is the …
The Campus Archaeology Program has been hard at work this semester prepping for our collaborative event with Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan. The goal of this event is to teach young women about a career path in archaeology and award them with an archaeology badge upon completion. The badge program is entitled Digging Into the Past and is offered to scouts between ages 7 and 10 years. We aim to demonstrate the scope of archaeology and that there is more to archaeology than just excavation. We also want to teach them that professional archaeologists represent all genders, from various backgrounds, young and old.
The event has changed from its initial
conceptualization. We initially planned for attendees to rotate through stations
focusing on different aspects of field work: excavation methods, screening,
field photography, map drawing, etc. However, we realized that most archaeologists
spend approximately one to three months in the field (as much as they can get
in during the summer) and the rest of the year is spent analyzing what they
collected from the field or researching and on publishing on specific research questions.
We want this to be accurately represented in out outreach events. So, we redesigned
the event to reflect a typical day as an archaeologist as well as meet the Girl
Scout guidelines for the badge.
To earn an archaeology badge, scouts must attend one of the two half day sessions and complete five activities (schedule below). These activities include:
Creating a time capsule: Scouts will be asked to provide a list of items they would include in their time capsule. They are also asked to describe the container they would use and how well they think it will preserve. Finally, we ask them what they think someone will think of their items in 100 years when they capsule is recovered.
Artifact identification: Scouts will have to identify and date artifacts using common archaeology lab reference materials.
Museum curation: A presentation will be given to the scouts demonstrating how we curate different materials and artifacts in the laboratory setting.
Ceramic reconstruction: Scouts will be provided with fragmented ceramic pots (clay planters) and asked to reconstruct the vessels.
Learn a song from Michigan history: The scouts will end the day by learning a historic song that will portray the culture during historic Michigan.
We have included an interesting component to this
event. There will be two longitudinal studies conducted to examine how outreach
events can influence the perception of archaeologists and the understanding of
our discipline. First, for the icebreaker activity, scouts will draw what they
think an archaeologist looks like and to describe their archaeologists. These drawings
are completed before the scouts are even introduced to the staff or any of the event
content. We will then send out the same worksheets 30 days after the events and
ask participants will be asked to redraw their archaeologists. We are particularly
interested in if the demographics are skewed in any one direction, whether the
artist’s drawing reflects their own identity, if fieldwork is more reflected, and
if media influences their perspective (e.g. recent Jumanji movies and Indiana Jones).
This same process will be completed with the time
capsule activity. Scouts will be asked to create a new time capsule worksheet
30 days after the event and being exposed to different aspect of archaeology
and the types of research question in which we are interested. Here, we are
interested to see if/how the scouts will change the narrative of their capsules
after learning how well items preserve and what can be learned for them. We
hope to see that the participants think more about what they would like people
of the future to know about life and culture today after learning more about
archaeology. Approval for both studies is currently being awaited from IRB. Upon
approval, Campus Archaeology will publish the findings of these studies.
The Girl Scout event was scheduled for March 14, 2020
in East Lansing. However, given developments of COVID-19, we are postponing until
a later date.
Last Tuesday, November 12, 2019, Campus Archaeology hosted their first Open House. For two hours, Campus Archaeology opened our lab doors to the public. Campus Archaeology strives to have a standing relationship with the community through our numerous outreach events each year, as well as …
MSU’s Campus Archaeology Program is well known in our community for our public outreach events and our archaeological excavations. These activities allow our archaeologists to be visible members of our MSU community and gets us out of our laboratories so we can teach and dig! …
Campus Archaeology had an exciting summer field season, from the archaeological field school to field crew work across campus. We also hosted a class for Grandparent’s University and painted the MSU Rock! Below you can read more about each project.
Archaeological Field School
This summer Dr. Stacey Camp taught a 4-week archaeological field school that took place on Michigan State University’s campus. We had 15 students, and 2 volunteers participate! The field school focused on learning more about a historic homestead that was located on the corner of Shaw Lane and Hagadorn Road. You can learn more about this area’s history in a previous blog post.
The field school students were taught archaeological field methods in addition to learning how to conduct archival research, use digital technology (KoBoToolbox) to record data, artifact drawing, how to make 3D artifact models using photogrammetry, and how to identify and research artifacts.
We will be posting blogs written field school students about their experience throughout the year.
Field Crew Work
The CAP field crew worked all across campus during the summer, from the Brody Neighborhood construction to the South River Trail sidewalks near the Business College Complex. Most of the work that took place by the CAP crew was for construction mitigation.
These projects included monitoring construction taking place near the Brody Neighborhood Complex and shovel test excavations for the Munn Ice Arena renovations, Williams Hall sidewalks, Parking Lot 7 sidewalks, Student Services sidewalks, and the South River Trail sidewalks. The CAP crew used the South River Trail sidewalk project to teach the archaeological field school students how to conduct shovel test pit surveys.
In addition to construction mitigation, the CAP Crew finished field research project on the Sanford Natural Area historic Sugar House. A report on the results of this research will be available on our website later this fall!
This year, Grandparent’s University participants in our History Beneath Our Feet: The Archaeology of MSU class learned about the archaeological field school that took place, and then assisted us in cleaning artifacts uncovered just weeks before from MSU’s campus. We also had coloring pages, 3D artifact models, a stratigraphy game, and artifacts available for the participants to interact with!
Painting the Rock
In order to promote the MSU Campus Archaeology Program and the archaeological field school taking place on campus, the CAP crew painted the famous MSU Rock. The 3D model made of the rock was then included as the final artifact #ArchaeologyofMSUin20 series.
Stay tuned to learn about our 2019-2020 Graduate Fellows and undergraduate interns!
In our previous blog, Jeff Bennett introduced the concept of Open Archaeology and some of the ways that Campus Archaeology (CAP) is maintaining and furthering our position within the framework of Open Archaeology. One of the ways in which we plan to further our efforts …
To celebrate Anthropology Day, we decided to share a little bit about what each of us typically does during a day or what a good day as an anthropologist looks like! Dr. Stacey Camp:As an academic, my work varies from day to day, month to …
Chris Stawski was involved with Campus Archaeology at its inception, beginning as an archaeological technician in the summer of 2008. Chris also held the position of Campus Archaeologist during the 2010-2011 academic year. During his tenure with CAP, he was a crew chief twice during the Campus Archaeology Summer Field School, and helped to create the framework for a Geographic Information System database for campus archaeological and historical research and analysis.
Chris earned his PhD from Michigan State University with a focus on archaeology in 2012, and since has been applying his skills in higher education, where he had taught for 5 years as an adjunct faculty member in the Anthropology Department at San Francisco State University.
Chris currently works at the University of California Berkeley’s Extension Program, and assists the Dean’s Office in project management and research. It is in this position that he uses his skills first developed working as Campus Archaeologist, which include establishing and maintaining campus partnerships, effectively communicating with external stakeholders and departments, and collaborating in multi-disciplinary research.
Q: You were in of the first groups of CAP fellows, what was it like when you were all establishing the program and how did it change over your tenure?
A: While CAP was first being established, the focus was on trying to figure out what we were working with archaeologically and trying to get a sense of the history and pre-history of the campus. A parallel focus was trying to be good campus partners. I took a lot of meetings with folks across campus to help foster collaboration and to make sure people knew who we were and what our mission was. This was where Dr. Goldstein was so successful in the early years of CAP, and its due to her laying the groundwork for these relationships that made CAP a truly successful program.
A: As things went on, people started to take more notice, and we emphasized the outreach in an effort to engage both the internal community at MSU, the larger archaeological community, as well as the local East Lansing community. The summer field schools were a great success in this respect, and really made people aware of what we were doing on campus. Archaeologically, over time we got a good handle on the landscape and what we may expect to find, and started building models that were informed by the survey and excavations we did. This led to more structure for the program, more opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate participation, and more research.
Q: What was your year as Campus Archaeologist like?
A: My year as Campus Archaeologist was spent organizing. I worked with some very excellent undergraduate interns, and together we helped to curate, standardize and structure the artifact collection for CAP. That was a big undertaking, but very helpful for all future collections. My own personal project was to build the framework for a Geographic Information System (GIS) for the archaeological investigations we did. It was pretty bare bones in the beginning, but subsequent people at CAP have improved upon the database and structure since I left. My final months as Campus Archaeologist were spent helping to run the 2nd ever CAP Summer Field School.
Q: What was your biggest challenge as a Campus Archaeologist?
A: My biggest challenge was social media. Terry Brock and Dr. Goldstein were so good at using these platforms for CAP, and I was completely illiterate in terms of Twitter and Facebook. But I kept at it because that was a crucial way in which we interacted with the public. As an archaeological program, I would have to imagine that we were a very early adopter of social media, especially Twitter. I have since gotten a bit better with Twitter, but it is still not my strong suit 🙂
Q: What was your favorite part of CAP (highlights)?
A: My favorite parts of CAP were the summer field schools, working with the undergraduate interns on their projects and seeing them present at the undergrad symposium, and just being in the field. You never knew when you may be called in to go to a construction site, or be asked to do some initial investigation of an area. It was so fun loading up my truck and heading out with my peers to go excavate on a nice fall day. Those are some of my fondest memories from my time at MSU.
Q:What were the major projects that you work on/with fellows on?
A: Like I had mentioned earlier, one of the biggest projects was curating and providing a structure to the artifact database at CAP. The other major project was the Faculty Row project, which was a huge construction undertaking in the oldest part of campus. That was my first major project, andI spent all summer helping to oversee and mitigate the major earth moving being done. That was also the first time we used GIS at CAP. We found a great map of the old Faculty Row buildings, and I was able to take that map and overlay it on the current aerial imagery of campus to get a better idea of where we may find archaeological sensitive areas and material.
Q: What are you currently working on now?
A:Currently I am the executive assistant to the Dean of the UC Berkeley Extension Program. I help to manage the Dean’s Office as well aid in managing projects, research and analysis related to the mission of the program. Prior to this role, I was an adjunct lecturer in the Anthropology Department at San Francisco State University.
Q: What was the most important thing you got out of CAP? How do you bring what you learned in CAP to what you do now?
A: For me, CAP was the best example of how you do archaeology and research in higher education, while simultaneously being a good campus partner and engaging in multi-disciplinary and cross-departmental collaboration. It helped to take me out of my “anthro/arch” bubble, and showed me the value of inclusivity and teamwork. Good research must take on a collaborative aspect, and you must be diverse in how you approach your work. Whether that is a diversity of people, different perspectives and viewpoints, or a variety of departments/programs, it is an essential aspect of all the work I have done since my time at CAP.
I want to thank Chris Stawski for allowing me to interview him and for his excellent perspectives into the early years of the Campus Archaeology Program.
Those who follow us know that outreach is a big part of what we do in the Campus Archaeology Program. Every year, CAP participates in several public outreach events including Michigan Archaeology Day, Grandparents University, ScienceFest, and more. These events are important because it gives …