New lab in Asbury to create niche for archaeology at DePauw


Starting next semester students can gain hands-on archaeological experience in the new lab in Asbury Hall.
Requested by Lydia Marshall, DePauw's first permanent archaeology professor in the sociology and anthropology Department, the lab is currently under construction.
"The lab is going to be a place for students to analyze artifacts, but it's also going to be a classroom space," Marshall said. "Students can look at casts of different human ancestors and stone tools that human ancestors have made to get more of a hands-on feel for archaeology."
All of Marshall's classes are going to be in the lab next semester.
Two classrooms are being combined to create a large enough space and a sink along with a sand trap will be added. In time, the lab will be used for washing and storing artifacts as well as storing excavation equipment.
The wall between the rooms has been knocked down. An electrical outlet has been added. The sink and the floor have yet to be put in and the room still needs to be painted.
"It shows a real commitment on the part of DePauw to make this space as part of me coming in," Marshall said. "It's great and I think it's going to make what I do for students better."
Marshall worked in labs throughout her undergraduate and graduate years. Now she wants to extend that experience to her students.
"Students even asked if there should be a lab course and it made me think that having a lab would be really important to the quality of archaeological education at DePauw," she said.
Junior Kat Raymond-Judy, who worked with a few of the archaeology professors on a summer work-study program, agrees.
"Some of the archaeologist professors at DePauw have offices in Julian and some have offices in Harrison," Raymond-Judy said. "There wasn't a lab space where we could do analysis, so I'm really excited about getting our own space."
The lab's findings will be seen all over the campus and community.
Part of the focus for Marshall's classes is public archaeology, or the relationship between archaeology and the public. She is planning to pick out a 19th century excavation site in Putnam County for her students.
"We're moving forward with excavation and analysis and will share those results with the campus, community and beyond," Marshall said. "We might be able to set up a temporary exhibit at the Putnam County Museum and there are other possibilities for display and outreach."
There are display areas in and near the basement of Asbury for the findings.
Because archaeology is normally a branch of the anthropology department, Marshall's arrival and construction of the lab are important opportunities for archaeology education at DePauw.
"This is a new and exciting time for the archaeology department at DePauw for long-term program-creating," Marshall said.
It's an effective perceptive tool for students, according to Rebecca Upton, associate professor of sociology and anthropology.
"The renovation and creation of a laboratory space demonstrates the commitment of the institution to the work that faculty do," Upton said. "It will be terrific for students to literally 'see' the archaeological record and realize all that we can learn from it."