Archaeological society hosts professional presentations

Both students, faculty, and other guests attended the Holes: A Beginners Guide to Food Storage on Jan. 20 in Allendale, MI.

Kasey Garvelink

Both students, faculty, and other guests attended the Holes: A Beginners Guide to Food Storage on Jan. 20 in Allendale, MI.

Taylor Fussman

Grand Valley State University welcomed a Michigan State University student to campus on Wednesday to shed light on her subterranean storage research experiment.

MSU graduate student Kate Frederick presented her experiment, “Holes: A Beginners Guide to Food Storage,” to the Wright L. Coffinberry chapter of the Michigan Archaeological Society (MAS) at GVSU on Jan. 20.

The Coffinberry chapter came to Grand Rapids in 1951 and has since made it a goal to unite advocating and professional archeologists and anthropologists through the common interest they share in the subjects. One way this goal is achieved is through weekly presentations, like the one by Frederick.

Wesley Jackson, lab supervisor and instructor for the anthropology department at GVSU, said the presentations for the semester will include topics such as primitive weapons in the prehistoric Americas, shipwreck archaeology, and geophysical survey by many talented doctors from universities across the state.

Frederick’s visit was the first of the new semester. She focused on her experiment and the ways she drew information from archeological, ethnographic and ethnohistorical records to accurately recreate below-ground food storage pits in northern lower Michigan.

Frederick talked about the process she used to perform the experiment, the lessons she learned throughout the span of the experiment, the degree of success she had with the food storage pits and the importance of her research experiment to overall archeological research.

“I really enjoy telling everyone about my research,” Frederick said. “Experimental research tends to intrigue everyone, from tenured professors to college freshmen, allowing the topic of archaeology to become more approachable to all those interested.”

Members of the Coffinberry chapter gathered with other attendees prior the presentation to discuss various artifacts they had brought with them to share with the others.

“I’m excited to learn more about our ancestors and our past,” said Madison Adams, a student that attended the event.

Throughout Frederick’s presentation, the members of the audience were able to pose questions to her as well as offer suggestions for future experiments she may want to conduct based on their knowledge of the subject.

“Archaeology has a tendency to hide in the ivory tower of academia,” Frederick said. “Organizations like MAS appeal to the general public and puts the opportunity to interpret the past into their hands.”

The Coffinberry chapter at GVSU encourages students, faculty and the community to attend the monthly presentations and learn about archaeology from people who are eager to teach.