New Campus Archaeology Blog Post

Check out the new blog post for the Campus Archaeology Program at MSU. As the archival researcher for The Program, I can’t speak enough to the benefits of digging into your local archives and historical society repositories. Many offices are run by professional archivists but are often assisted by avocational historians, too. These folks are experts in research and often have personal knowledge of the community that can be invaluable to your investigations.

A Short Story of Luck Among the Dust Bunnies…

Dove Cemetery

Several years ago, I was visiting the San Luis Obispo Historical Society as part of my research on an abandoned cemetery in central California. I was doing the usual collecting of maps and historical photographs. As I was milling around while the archivist retrieved the requested materials, I happened to notice a box of cassette tapes. I started flipping through them and was startled to see a familiar name on one of the labeled tapes. The name was similar to one of the children whose parents were likely to have been buried in the cemetery I was researching. Since there were few records of the cemetery’s existence and almost no information on the specific people from the community with which the cemetery was associated, I was excited by the potential lead. When the archivist returned, I asked him about the box of tapes. He told me they were interviews with “old timers” from the community. Could it be? I asked myself. As it turned out, the tape I was interested in contained the reminiscences of a very elderly Miguel Cordova, one of the last residents of Dove, a small stage stop community that disappeared during the 19th century. I was researching the small cemetery associated with that forgotten town and now not only did I have first-hand accounts of life in Dove but I had a voice to go with it.

Visit your archives. You never know when you’re going to hit the mother lode!

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6 Responses to New Campus Archaeology Blog Post

  1. Martina Will de Chaparro says:

    Hi,
    Where can I find a copy of Deathways and Lifeways in the American Southwest? You cite it in one of your bibliographies but I can’t find it at the press…or in my library!
    Thanks for your help

    • Kristin says:

      Hello Martina! The citation you’re looking for is a technical report from SRI in Tucson. It’s a whopping four volumes and is available online under “final report” http://www.pima.gov/JointCourts/

      By the way, I LOVED your book and used it extensively in my research. Fantastic!

      Kristin

      • Martina Will de Chaparro says:

        Thank you! I appreciate it…I miss the archives! Like the blog…it’s rich!

        Let me know if you are ever in the Denver area…my new home!

      • Kristin says:

        I’ll be in Denver next year some time and I’d love to meet you. We have much to talk about. The cemetery I’m writing about (dissertation) had burials you’d be interested in, I’m sure. There were several adult females buried with infants or fetuses between the knees. Your book “Death and Dying in New Mexico” is the only place I’ve ever seen that referenced…

      • Martina Will de Chaparro says:

        Send me your email, and I’ll send you my contact info “off web” if you will…

      • Kristin says:

        Absolutely! My email at Michigan State University is sewellkr@msu.edu

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