This blog includes updates from the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project sponsored by Western Michigan University in partnership with the City of Niles, the Fort St. Joseph Museum, Support the Fort, Inc. and other community groups. The Project is dedicated to archaeological research, education, community service learning, and intensive public outreach. The Principal investigator of the Project is Dr. Michael Nassaney.
On October 10th, a group of WMU
students representing the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project headed out to
Lansing for the 2015 Michigan Archaeology Day. We set up two display tables
where we shared with the public some of our new finds from the 2015 field
season. The public asked questions concerning French and Native American
artifacts as well as the activities of the FSJAP and some general questions
about archaeology itself. We also had on display a video made with a GoPro
camera by field school student Austin George during the field season. Austin’s
GoPro video gives a first person view of the activities performed by both field
school students as well as participants in the annual camp program. It gives
great insight into how public archaeology is done at Fort St. Joseph. Austin’s
will present this video at the 2016 Society for Historical Archaeology
conference in January.
featured many speakers throughout the day. One of these speakers was Terry
Martin from the Illinois State Museum. Terry has worked with FSJ students in
the past, teaching them how to identify different animal bones found during the
field season. Terry spoke about archaeological recovery of animal bones. During
his presentation he highlighted many finds from Fort St. Joseph. Another
presentation was the Ongoing Quest for the Wreck of the Griffon was presented
by Dr. Dean Anderson, Michigan’s state archaeologist. His work showed many
different false claims that were once thought to be factual claims of the
Griffon wreck. Through the use of modern science such as dendrochronololgy, it
was shown that these old claims were not the wreck of the Griffon.
Erika Loveland at Archaeology Day
Overall, Michigan Archaeology Day was a great experience
and opportunity to speak directly to the public about new finds and exciting
updates on our activities. I had a chance to walk around the event and see the
different archaeological projects going on in Michigan. I think it is important
for us to continue sharing with the public that archaeology does go on, and it
happens right in some of our backyards. It makes me proud to be a part of a
project that is so strongly focused on working and integrating the public into
their own history through archaeology.