On Tuesday, Professor Knodell began the course with a lecture discussing archaeology as a multi-disciplinary field connecting science and the humanities. He touched on his research experiences in the field and explained the research opportunities available to students in the class throughout the term. The class then transitioned into a guided arb tour, led by the Director of the Cowling Arboretum, Nancy Braker.
The tour began in the Arboretum office. Students initially walked north past Olin Farm house and the Hillside Prairie (where Carleton students originally planted native prairie grasses). Students then proceeded to turn left to walk along the Canon river, past the Earth Day field (where students celebrated the first Earth Day by planting native and non-native species of trees), and along the Waterford Mill Pond Wing Dam to see the site of the Waterford Mill. Students observed some artifacts at the mill site; specifically, the concrete remains of a dam that once bridged the river and some trash. From there, the tour proceeded past lands recently converted from farmland into woodlands, as would naturally be observed in southern Minnesota. Students then walked east towards the site of the Women’s League Cabin. At the cabin site, students discussed the research undertaken by previous iterations of this class, and the past purpose of remains at the site. On the return to campus, students saw farm dumps containing trash from farms that previously existed on Arboretum land.
Nancy Braker explains the origin of prairie lands in the Carleton arboretum at the Hillside Prairie.
Students practice reading maps to recognize their location in the arboretum.
Students set out from campus on their tour with Nancy Braker.
Students observing the dam at the site of the Waterford Mill.
Students observe the farm dumps while Nancy Braker explains their purpose.
On Thursday, Carleton geology professor Mary Savina encouraged students to connect with their childhood homes’ topographies with a place-naming exercise. Students broke up into small groups to discuss elements of their childhood landscapes. They then created a list of features to consider when performing land surveys. Professor Savina then had students observe these features at sites, shown below on a map, around the Arb office. In their small groups, students observed the diverse ecosystems that can be seen immediately surrounding Carleton’s campus and considered which locations might be more conducive to different kinds of building (for example, a village or a fort). She concluded the class with a summary of geoarchaeology and her research on the Grevena project in Greece.
Location of the sites students surveyed with Mary Savina.
Students in the process of surveying a location.