Archaeology Collections

The Michigan State University collections holding unit for archaeological materials is at the MSU Museum.  Ethan Watrall Lovis, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology currenlty serves as the Curator of Archaeology at the MSU Museum, and acts as the primary contact for collections access for research, teaching, and exhibition purposes.  Collections are housed in multiple campus locations including the Consortium for Archaeological Research at McDonel Hall, and the MSU Museum Cultural Collections Center, and are cyclically exhibited in the MSU Museum.

The MSU Museum archaeological collections are focused on the Great Lakes region, particularly Michigan, and are the result of 60 years of research activity that has been carried out by MSU Museum curators and Anthropology Department faculty.  Systematic research collections from major excavations available for use by application from qualified researchers include numerous sites from the Saginaw River drainage basin, the upper Grand River system, and the northwest lower peninsula of Michigan, dating as early as 10,000 years ago through the contact and American periods of the 19th century.  Of particular interest are the growing collections from research on the MSU campus carried out by the Campus Archaeology Program.

The regional research collections from northern lower Michigan consist of numerous sites from the Traverse Corridor and Inland Waterway Archaeological Projects.  These sites date from late Paleo Indian in age, ca. 10,000 years ago, through European contact, and have formed the core of several dissertations and theses.  The archaeological collections also hold regional survey data of varying intensity and spatial focus.

Interested individuals should contact Dr. Ethan Watrall (Curator of Archaeology) or Samantha Ellens (Archaeology Collections Manager) for collections access.