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This report documents an archaeological investigation conducted on the property of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum (LHBM) in South Haven, Van Buren County, MI, which was given the site number 20VA78. The homestead is the birthplace and childhood home of Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. (1858-1954), a naturalist, farmer, and Professor of Horticulture at Cornell University who gained prominence as a pioneer of the progressive farming movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the spring of 2012, John Stempien, then Director of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, contacted Dr. LouAnn Wurst of Western Michigan University to request an archaeological investigation of the museum grounds. Museum personnel had located a picture dating to no later than the 1930s showing a small structure to the northwest of the main house that they speculated was a privy.

Because the structure is no longer standing, the museum wished to know if any archaeological trace remained that would provide information about the building’s purpose and date. Archaeological excavations performed by Dr. Wurst and her students found no clear evidence of a foundation where the structure was located. However, the excavations did identify an archaeological feature and artifact deposits that provide new evidence of progressive social ideologies and farming techniques as well as insight into the everyday life of the occupants of the Liberty Hyde Bailey house.