Our Projects

Soil Sampling Project

Our main research project for the past two years has been one of soil samples taken from Tent Colony Woods in the Lakeshore Preserve. Tent Colony Woods was acquired by the University in 1911 for use as a summer “camp” for summer graduate students and their families to live to avoid rent costs and the summer heat of Madison. They essentially camped, tents on top of wooden platforms with two latrines. They eventually upscaled to temporary cabins before the camp was dismantled in 1960. The buildings are no longer there today; however, there are some maps of the site as well as pipes and post holes that show where the site was.

We set up a grid to sample the location of what use to be a cabin in order to look for isotopic differences in the soil. Over 250 soil cores were collected and later were subjected to isotope testing in UW-Madison’s Archaeological Chemistry Lab. The next step is to look for patterns in the differing concentrations of isotopes to determine if there is a difference in the soil where the cabin use to be and that of the surrounding, undisturbed soil from the area. This could be a useful method of finding historical sites when maps from that time are no longer useful in the current terrain.

Current Progress: Writing up the results for publication

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