Campus Archaeology searches for artifacts
Doctoral students in anthropology, from left, Nikki Silva, Blair Starnes, who also studies African American and African studies and Campus Archaeologist Katy Meyers run dirt through a filter near Beaumont tower on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Justin Wan/The State News
For campus archaeologist Katy Meyers, age isn’t a bad thing.
“It’s the trash of the past … and it’s all at least 150 years old,” the graduate student said.
Meyers led a team of MSU Campus Archaeology graduate students around North Neighborhood for the last two weeks digging shovel test pits, or “big holes,” in hopes of uncovering history that literally went unwritten.
During the school year, construction determines where the group surveys; for this project, the group is digging northwest of Beaumont Tower, where construction currently is taking place.
The most recent dig uncovered numerous artifacts, including an underground boiler room.
“We found a lot of pipes and bottle caps on campus,” Meyers said. “We knew students were breaking the rules even during the 1850s.”
Department of Anthropology professor Lynne Goldstein said the Campus Archaeology program ensures MSU is “a good steward of its past.”
“What that means is before we go ahead on (MSU’s) road to wherever we’re going … the idea is to make sure not to destroy the past,” Goldstein said.
Although many colleges offer dig sites for anthropology majors, Goldstein said MSU presents an opportunity to students no other universities offer. She said schools such as Harvard provide, at most, a few sites for digging, while MSU allows Campus Archaeology to dig anywhere the campus expands.
Campus Archaeology offers one campus archaeologist position, graduate office fellowships, undergraduate internships and, every other summer, a field school.
Wednesday marked anthropology graduate student Nikki Silva’s first experience digging with Campus Archaeology.
“I attended Baylor University … for my undergraduate degree, and we had nothing like this program — which is a real shame because construction was always occurring on campus, which has been around since the late 1800s,” Silva said.
Although Silva said nothing major was found at Wednesday’s dig, she remains hopeful that there are artifacts nearby.
Meyers said her teams usually are a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, but she said the most recent group is composed only of graduate students because MSU Landscape Services’ sidewalk construction “came up unexpectedly,” and the group needed to quickly find interested, qualified volunteers.
After the two-week dig, Campus Archaeology tweeted, “Another successful archaeological survey! We’ll be out digging again in a couple weeks, so if you missed us, you’ll get