Saints' Rest


Saints’ Rest was excavated as part of the MSU sesquicentennial in order to learn more about student lives during the earliest phases of the campus. They found a stash of wood burning stoves, chimneys, wooden kegs, personal items like buckles and pipes, school supplies, and other architectural pieces. The information from the dig both supported and contradicted archival information. While it was known that students were forbidden from smoking, a number of pipes were found. The dig lasted eight weeks and included 28 units. Since the original excavation, Saints’ Rest has been reopened three times. In 2007, changes in sidewalks required further investigation of the area. In 2008 a tree was planted and archaeology was done to remove any historical material. Finally, in 2009, a feature discovered during the 2008 dig was further examined.


  • Campus Archaeology Program

Items in the Saints' Rest Collection

This group of artifacts from Saints’ Rest consists of all student school tools. The glass is an inkwell, and the metal pieces make up portions of an ink pen and a compass. When the building was razed a large number of personal items and accessories…

These metal pieces are all from doors. The parts make up portions of the keyhole, hinges, and handle. There was even a corresponding key found. When the building burned down, metal pieces like this were well preserved, although over time they have…

From the archives it was known that students used wood-burning stoves to heat their rooms. During excavation there were a number of cast iron toves piled together in one area. This area under investigation was where three chimneys had been located…

Screening was done during the Saints' Rest excavation in 2005 to prevent smaller artifacts from being lost.

During the 2005 excavation, a row of wooden barrels were uncovered. Based on the residues within them and documentary evidence, archaeologist argue that these were used for mixing mortar and plaster for the maintenance of the building.