Water Sanitation at MSU

Given the national focus on the Flint water crisis, where I am a resident, I thought I would take a closer look at water safety and its conveyance within MSU. Water and its safe supply has been a concern for human populations for thousands of years from the Neolithic into the present (history of water …

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Eureka! A Laboratory Glass Makers Mark

We’ve been working our way through cataloging materials excavated during the summer 2015 field school. Last semester the interns, volunteers and I finished unit A. It contained an astounding 8,617 artifacts weighing 52.48 kilograms! As we’ve previously discussed, the Gunson assemblage is a mix of household (plates, cups, vases, condiment jars, bottles), personal (toiletries, cosmetics), …

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From Surgical Theater to Trash Pit: The Resurrection of a Listerine Bottle and What It Can Tell Us About Campus Activities

Listerine Bottle from  Level B Lisa Bright, the reigning Campus Archaeologist, wrote to me recently to say that she had discovered a Listerine bottle in the Admin/Gunson assemblage that was excavated during the CAP field school this past summer. While a Listerine bottle may seem like a fairly innocuous item (especially when found in the …

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More Than Just Nightsoil: Preliminary Findings from MSU’s First Privy (MAC Poster Presentation)

At the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Lisa, Amy and myself got the opportunity to present some of our preliminary findings from the privy that we uncovered during Summer 2015. Here, I’m going to share some of the findings from our poster, and the poster itself for those who are interested! In June, 2015 during routine construction …

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Administration/Gunson Assemblage

One of the major tasks for the semester (in reality probably the entire school year) is to sort, catalog, and accession the artifacts from the Summer 2015 field school. The five units produced an astounding volume of artifacts. We began the field season under the impression that the trash pit was associated with the Bayha …

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A Living Place of Education

Tree in the Botanical Gardens at Michigan State University   The places we inhabit habituate us. The virtues they cultivate are grounded in the values they embody. In 1855, a natural opening in the oak forest of the Burr farm was selected as a fitting site for the creation of the Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.) …

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It’s a Brick . . . Outhouse

The summer field season has continued to be busy. Last Monday, while making our routine monitoring rounds of the North Campus Infrastructure Improvements construction site we noticed a concentration of bricks and dark soil near the Museum. As previously mentioned, the first week of the season we located the partial foundation of Williams Hall near …

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Breaking All (or some of!) the Rules: Finding Subversion in the Historical Record

As I’ve researched female students on the historical campus this past semester, I keep finding that humor and resiliency are recurring themes in their scrapbooks and journals. Interestingly, it seems that the mechanism of humor may have been used to deflect contentious attitudes about the female presence on a campus that had been historically male-oriented …

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