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March 29, 2017

Dig in

March 29, 2017

It was one of those mornings. I honestly thought I had plenty of time to get ready for the day. Then it became a day of wardrobe mishaps. I put on one skirt, only to remember that I needed to make a repair to a seam. Then I put on tights, only to realize they had a hole. I chose a different skirt and the hook and eye were bent and I had to use pliers to it to fix it. One shouldn’t really need pliers to get dressed in the morning and yet, there I was, standing in the kitchen doing home repair on my skirt.

When I finally had the skirt and tights right, I reached for my shirt and it wasn’t on the hanger. It hadn’t fallen on the floor, wasn’t in the laundry basket, wasn’t in the laundry room—it was just missing. I asked my spouse if he had seen it and he suggested I look behind the washer since he knew some things had fallen behind it. I found a towel, a tank top, some underwear and a placemat, (what the heck? How did that even happen?) but not my shirt. Sigh. I had to rethink everything.

How does a shirt just disappear? As my mom used to say, “It didn’t grow legs and walk away.” It has to be somewhere, right? Then again, I have plenty of socks with no partners that seem to have done exactly that. Seriously, I know it’s one of life’s biggest mysteries, but where are all those single socks? Thousands of years from now will someone dig into the ground and find an ancient single sock burial ground? Will my shirt also be there?

Jon Frey knows all about digging into the history of earlier times. He didn’t find socks (at least I don’t think he did) but he has been part of a team that discovered an ancient gymnasium at the archaeological site of Isthmia, Greece. He’s also using cool new technology, like drones and 3-D to aid in discovery. Check out the super cool MSUTODAY FEATURE: Digital Dig, to learn more about his work. The feature includes video from the site that you don’t want to miss.

One of my colleagues, Jim Peck, who is also an instructor, traveled with Frey to Greece last fall. Being on the site of the dig, Peck got to experience Frey’s research firsthand. Check out the FACULTY VOICE: Discoveries in Greece, to read Peck’s account of his time on site with Frey.

Mari Isa is a third-year doctoral student in anthropology who is interested in digging up things a lot more important that my clothing. A recipient of an NSF fellowship, her research focuses on skeletal trauma. She began her career at MSU as an undergraduate. That fall she took her first anthropology class and began working in a lab. In her words, was hooked. Check out her STUDENT VIEW: Good bones, to learn more about her fascinating studies.

Spartans are digging into mysteries every single day, whether they’re actually putting shovels into dirt or doing it another way. Just in the last few days we’ve covered stories about creating healthier aquatic homes, using new technology to map a giant virus and studying the connection between fish genes and human medicine. Inside every Spartan researcher is a curiosity that leads to a determination to solve problems, find solutions and make the world better. I do kind of wish one could solve the problem of my missing shirt and socks, but honestly, they’ve got much more important things to do. I’d rather have them do exactly what they’re doing—digging into their work and making discoveries that benefit all of us. Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo: Taken from the top of Beaumont Tower, a view of a Campus Archeology Program dig and excavation of Old College Hall, the first building on campus, in September 2009. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz


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