Archaeology in the Arb

28 February 2023
Archival photo of the Carleton College Farm

Fall term, Sarah Kennedy, Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Humanities and Archaeology, taught an archeological methods and lab course focused on the Olin Farm site, homesteaded in 1857 and now part of the Cowling Arboretum.

Land registration certificate for Olin Farm

Students researched texts, historical documents, oral histories, and archival maps to learn about the animal barns, machine sheds, and dumping areas that once populated the site.

Students sift items from an archaeological dig

Once in the field, students did site reconnaissance, field walking, surface excavation, and GPS-assisted surveying. Excavation work was then completed at a series of test sites, which involved screening dirt through mesh.

students sorting bones in a lab

Found artifacts—including butchered animal bones, dishes, and jewelry—were then brought back to the lab for cleaning, curating, and data analysis. The class’s findings were shared during Community Archaeology Day in early December.

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