I am very pleased to announce the launch of Capturing Campus Cuisine (http://earlyfood.campusarch.msu.edu/index.html)! This website showcases a research project co-created by Autumn Beyer and Susan Kooiman as Campus Archaeology Fellows. This project uses food remains excavated from a historic privy at Michigan State University (MSU) to explore and recreate the food environment of the campus during its Early Period (1855-1870). Archaeological analysis and archival research were used together to investigate historic foodways on campus.
The Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) aims to document the history of Michigan State University, both through archaeological excavation and archival and documentary research. Since 2005, CAP has conducted surveys and excavations across the MSU campus to mitigate potential damage to archaeological sites caused by construction, and they have also engaged in targeted excavations to answer specific academic questions concerning MSU’s history.
The Capturing Campus Cuisine website includes five components. The first section is the landing page, also doubling as the about page, providing a description of the project. The second section includes pages that discuss MSU’s historic food practices including production, acquisition, processing/preparation, and consumption. The third section contains pages that discuss the archival and archaeological analysis that took place in order to recreate the early historic food practices on MSU’s campus, as well as site and lab visits around campus. The fourth section summarizes the meal reconstruction event, a 1860s lunch that included food items that would have been consumed by students and faculty in the universities early history. Finally, the fifth section is an interactive atlas of MSU foodways, where visitors can learn about specific areas on campus that are related to production, acquisition, processing, consumption, and food education.
As the early foodways of MSU’s history are explored and researched by Campus Archaeology Fellows, this website will be updated with more information and images. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about the project!