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Archaeology Collections: Phase II (August 2006-December 2008)

Rehousing began by transporting archaeology objects from the archaeology cage to the conservation lab. Objects were processed—renumbered if necessary, rebagged or boxed, and data entry completed—prior to rehousing. The archaeology cage and conservation lab are adjacent to the Collie room, so collections were moved a minimal distance. Archaeology collections from the Great Plains, Wisconsin, and 38 other states were relocated and rehoused in the Collie room, and archaeological collections from the American Southwest and Mexico were rehoused in archival boxes on new open shelving units in the Cube.

Not unlike other museums with over 100 years of collecting history, the Logan Museum has used multiple, unrelated cataloguing systems to register its collections. In addition to these museum cataloging systems, many collections were acquired with numbers assigned by the collector. Many objects—especially the early archaeology collections—have as many as three different numbers written on them. As part of the archaeology rehousing project, old catalogue numbers are cross referenced to ensure that the database entry will reflect accurate catalogue information. Also common in the past was the practice of assigning one number to an entire lot of individual archaeological tools. These lots are being renumbered to reflect individual specimens and to ensure the collections are fully accessible for analytical research which often requires identification at the specimen level.

Archaeology Move Coordinator Loran Berg and student assistants fully processed and rehoused the following collections by the end of June, 2008:

  • Northern Plains archaeology collection (Bowers, 1929-1931); 40 sites, 1,002 catalogue numbers, 20,457 objects
  • Wisconsin archaeology collection; 2,877 catalogue numbers, 7,412 artifacts
  • State archaeology collection; 45 states, 1,243 catalogue numbers, 6,214 artifacts
  • Southwest Expeditions (Nesbitt, 1929-1939); 198 catalogue numbers, 8,535 objects
  • Southwest Survey (Jones, 1964-1965); 34 catalogue numbers, 4,285 objects
  • Robinson site, Northern Lakes Project (Salzer, 1965-1969); 654 catalogue numbers, >36,895 objects
  • La Magdalena and other sites, Queretaro & Guanajuato, Mexico (Godfrey, 1958 and 1960); 145 catalogue numbers, 10,394 objects

Because of the size of the archaeology collections, rehousing is ongoing. As of June 2009, Sara Pfannkuche, Visiting Curator of Archaeology, and student assistants have rehoused the following archaeology collections:

  • Beloit Archaeological Survey (Green and Pfannkuche, 2004); 10 sites, 161 catalogue numbers, 502 objects
  • Squirrel Dam, Northern Lakes Project (Salzer, 1965-1969); 1,537 catalogue numbers, >30,454 objects
  • Other Northern Lakes Project sites (Salzer, 1965-1969); 86 sites, >103,450 objects
  • Chapin Street Parking Lot site (Green and Fie, 2006); 2,067 objects
  • Highsmith site (Salzer, 1959-1961); 461 catalogue numbers, 7,476 objects
  • Domeier/Watson Mound Group (1974); 95 catalogue numbers; 2,067 objects
  • Com Ed Wepletown North Survey (Salzer, 1974); 2 sites, 2 objects
  • Wild Rivers Survey (Salzer, 1974); 43 sites, 2,404 objects
  • Pecatonica River Survey (Salzer, 1974); 132 sites, 9,116 objects
  • Rock River Survey (Salzer, 1974); 30 sites, 1,946 objects
  • Kutz (Salzer, 1961 and 1965); 1 site, 1,457 objects
  • Crandon-Exxon Project (Salzer, 1977-1978); 13 sites, 600 objects

Sara Pfannkuche has been working part-time since September 2006 to process collections from Dr. Robert Salzer’s Northern Lakes Project (1965-1969) and other collections generated by Beloit College archaeological investigations. These collections are being sorted by material type and intra-site provenience in preparation for re-cataloguing to provide greater intellectual access. Once re-catalogued, collection information is entered in the collections database and the collections are rehoused.

Collections from Paul Nesbitt’s Southwest Expeditions (1929-1939), which include artifacts from Mattocks Ruin, Starkweather Ruin, Hudson Ruin, and Wheatley Ridge have been rehoused in new open shelving in the visible storage Cube. Whole ceramic vessels from these sites were already stored in the Cube, so relocation consolidated this material and increased intellectual control. Archaeological collections from the site of La Magdalena and nearby sites in Queretaro and Guanajuato, Mexico, from Dr. William Simpson

Archaeology Deaccessions

The rehousing project is helping the Logan Museum to identify material that does not fit its scope of collections or that lacks sufficient provenience data to merit inclusion in the permanent collection. The challenge is in finding a suitable home for these mostly undocumented archaeological objects. The collections are first offered to the Logan’s education collection and then to the college’s Department of Anthropology. Working with Beloit alumni who are faculty members in anthropology departments at Boston University and California State University-Channel Islands, the Logan Museum deaccessioned over 600 specimens to help develop anthropology teaching collections at both institutions. In addition to these deaccessions, we have reunited other archaeology collections with their proper repositories (e.g., National Park Service Midwest Archaeological Center, Burnett County [Wisconsin] Historical Society, and University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Godfrey’s 1958 and 1960 investigations have also been rehoused in the Cube.