Here we summarize the current state of knowledge about the precontact archaeology of the Michigan State University (MSU) campus as revealed through work conducted by the MSU Campus Archaeology Program (CAP), the MSU Museum, and the Department of Anthropology. A multipronged approach places this collective work in programmatic, institutional, historical, geographic, and archaeological context. The history of CAP and its impact on campus operations and understandings of campus history demonstrate the strength of such programs. Unpacking the MSU Museum collections reveals additional insight into the deep Indigenous history of university lands. Results of the first systematic excavations of a precontact Archaic site on the MSU campus, the Beaumont West site (20IN205), are reported alongside accounts of systematic archaeological survey conducted over a span of 70 years, recent geomorphological work, and the cumulative collections of precontact material culture from the MSU campus housed at the MSU Museum. Collectively, this paints an engaging multifaceted story of an ever-changing natural and social landscape that highlights the value of understanding the role college campuses can play in providing information about the distant as well as the recent past.

You do not currently have access to this content.