In Spring 2015, the students of Archaeology 246 conducted research in the Carleton College Cowling Arboretum, which included a field survey and excavation at the Women’s League Cabin (WLC). Furthermore with archaeological and archival research, this course has allowed us to contribute to discussions of Carleton’s past material culture, space & place, as well as interact with the community. The final projects and research of the student’s of ARCN246 have been collected and exhibited on this website. Down below you’ll find summaries of events that our class has been involved in throughout the term. View our poster for a cumulative analysis of our work at the WLC!

New poster2

Descriptions and Pictures from Past Projects, Lectures, and Field Trips:

  • Community Archaeology Day
  • Visting Archaeologist, Tom Garrison
  • Field Trip to the Northfield Historical Society
  • Guest Lecture, Sarah Murray
  • Field Trip to the Goodhue Historical Society
  • Tour Through the Carleton College Arboretum

Community Archaeology Day

On Tuesday May 19, 2015,  our class held an outreach event. We invited members of the community to come visit the Women’s League Cabin (WLC) site in the Carleton College Cowling Arboretum. Throughout the term we have done research and excavation around the WLC, and this was an opportunity for us to give back to the community, sharing the work and knowledge we have gathered.


Poster courtesy of the ARCN246 Outreach Group & Photos are courtesy of JordiKai Watanabe-Inouye

Visiting Archaeologist, Tom Garrison

“Landscapes of Power: Art, Architecture, and Royal Authority at El Zotz”

An acquaintance of Alex Knodell, Tom Garrison, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California, gave a campus lecture on his research in the Maya Lowlands of Guatemala. Here he directs the Proyecto Arqueológico El Zotz, which is a multi-disciplinary archaeological project involving regional survey, excavation, remote sensing, and environmental and spatial analysis.  More broadly, Garrison’s research and teaching interests include ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, landscape-based approaches to ancient geopolitics, and applications of GIS and remote sensing technologies to archaeology. Garrison was a great asset for our class, especially out in the field. On site (at the WLC) Garrison showed a select group of students how to use a total station, which is used to measure points relative to space. Points and coordinates were taken by the total station during the opening and closing of contexts in trenches as well as at the end of the day. These points were critical for the construction of a GIS map.

Description courtesy of Professor Alex Knodell and ARCN246 Outreach Group

Field Trip to the Northfield Historical Society

Northfield Historical Society
Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Before the excavation and surveying process, our class visited the Northfield Historical Society (NHS). During this visit we had the opportunity to discuss with Hayes Scriven, Executive Director of NHS, and Cathy Osterman, Curator of NHS, about the importance of historical societies in a broader context. For example, as college students historical societies are a great resources when conducting research Scriven and Osterman pointed out.

Guest Lecture, Sarah Murray

“3D Modeling in Archaeology: Methods and Utility”

Sarah Murray lectured on why photogrammetry and 3D modeling is useful. Two major reasons these methods are useful: 1) easy to disseminate information to experts around the world and 2) accessibility of objects to the professionals to make a permanent true to life 3D record of objects in danger protect fragile objects from wear/breakage from multiple examinations. Additionally photogrammetry is a way to combat archaeology’s destructive nature. While excavating something you can keep an archaeological record. Moreover, photogrammetry cheaper than buying a total station.

Tips when implementing photogrammetry:

  1. Use coded targets; they are coded with bit and bytes, so you don’t have to go off of pixels
  2. Use a low ISO for little noise in photos
  3. Increased aperture for good focus

Murray was a great asset for our class; she showed the students of ARCN 246 the process of photogrammetry (i.e. the photo taking process and the implementation of related software). Photogrammetry is essentially measuring using photos, and allows archaeologists an in-depth and detailed look at artifacts and sites using 3D modeling software.  We have used this technique in our excavation of the WLC to document different context layers in all three trenches as we excavated.  Applying this technique allows us the ability to “re-excavate” the site, and easily switch between contexts when working on artifact analysis.

Field Trip to the Goodhue Historical Society

Goodhue Historical Society
Photo courtesy of GHS

Week Two our class drove to Red Wing to visit the Goodhue County Historical Society (GCHS), where James Clinton, the Education and Outreach Coordinator (education@goodhistory.org), gave us a tour. He described the museum’s interaction & involvement in the field of archaeology. The GCHS has a permanent archaeology exhibit on Native American tribes that once lived in the area. In addition to viewing the exhibit, Casey Mathern, the historical society’s curator (collections@goodhistory.org) brought out several artifacts for our class to view and handle. The artifacts included a metal spearhead, four pottery sherds, a bone fishing hook, a bone awl, and a reconstructed pot.

Photos are courtesy of the students in ARCN246

Tour Through the Carleton College Arboretum

Carleton College Cowling Arboretum

Nancy Braker, Carleton College’s Arboretum Director, took our class on a tour of the Arb. We were able to visit two historical and possible archeological sites. The two sites were the Waterford Mill and the Women’s League Cabin. In addition to visiting these sites our class had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the development of the Arb, which was brought up in a later in-class discussion regarding the potential negative impact archaeology can have.

Concluding Remarks

We would like to thank the Carleton College Archaeology & Geology Department, Nancy Braker and the Arboretum Faculty, the Northfield Historical Society, the Goodhue County Historical Society, the Carleton College Archives, Professor Sarah Murray of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Professor Tom Garrison of the University of Southern California, Professors Mary Savina and Austin Mason of Carleton College.

This site is a synthesis of the final projects of students in ARCN246 (C. Bergstrand, A. Claman, E. Farmer, M. Harder, C. Jensen, C. Johnson, C. Linneman, S. McAuliffe, J. Miller, S. Mitch,A. Moorthy, A. Moreno-Mendelson, T. Morris, E. O’Connor, P. Small, E. Starr, E. Sundberg, R. Sutherland, A. Thompson, J. Watanabe-Inouye, A. Welna, and S. Yang)

Future events and exhibits include a potential plaque with our poster in the Arb at the WLC site.

Page Created By: Claire Jensen, JordiKai Watanabe-Inouye, & Shirley Yang

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