Old Main: Archaeology of a 19th Century College Campus

Author(s): Kaitlyn Ball

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This paper synthesizes the ongoing archaeological research of one of the first academic buildings on the Alma College campus, located in central Michigan. Old Main was built in 1886, and destroyed by a fire in 1969. Although the building only burned down 50 years ago, the cause of the fire and exact location of the foundation remain a mystery. Throughout this paper I discuss and evaluate research questions and methods used in past seasons of the project. In 2014, 2015, and 2018, students and professors in the Alma College anthropology department conducted archaeological excavations on the site of Old Main. Through a review of previous excavation reports, artifacts, maps, and other collected data, I explain how archaeological sites like Old Main are capable of providing information about 19th century college building construction, architectural materials, and renovations over time. I present results from a deeper analysis of Old Main’s artifacts and the archival record, coupled with new information from oral history and community interviews. Finally, I show why archaeology matters in understanding the life and history of a 19th century campus.

Cite this Record

Old Main: Archaeology of a 19th Century College Campus. Kaitlyn Ball. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450201)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -103.975; min lat: 36.598 ; max long: -80.42; max lat: 48.922 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25636