Fort Michilimackinac

A Day at Michilimackinac – July 25, 2013

I am Curator of Archaeology for Mackinac State Historic Parks.  In the summer my primary responsibility is to direct the archaeological excavation at Colonial Michilimackinac State Historic Park.  We are currently excavating a fur trader’s house within the palisade walls of reconstructed Fort Michilimackinac.  The house was one unit in a five unit rowhouse originally  constructed in the 1730s and demolished in 1781 when the garrison was relocated to Mackinac Island.

I just opened a  new 5′ x 5′ square this week, so I spent most of my day removing sand and a buried sod layer from twentieth century park activities.

 

This is the new square i recently opened.

This is the new square I recently opened.
© 2013 L Evans

Most of the squares we are working on at the moment are below the floor level of the house.

Deep pocket of 1781 demolition matrix with barrel bands and hinge exposed.

Deep pocket of 1781 demolition matrix with barrel bands and hinge exposed.
©2013 L Evans

Because we are excavating in the middle of a popular living history site, we devote a lot of time to educating our guests.

public interpretation

©2013 L Evans

Most of the time it is great to work in a state park with running water and many other modern amenities.  The big excitement today was a broken waterline, snapped during a landscaping project.

Here is the broken line.

Here is the broken line.
©2013 L Evans

Many of the artifacts we find are tiny, the kind of items that were swept through the cracks in the floorboards, such as fishbones, seed beads and lead shot.  To find them, we waterscreen our deposit.

Robert H. spraying down some deposit.

Robert H. spraying down some deposit.
©2013 L Evans

The broken waterline slowed that process down for 1.5 hours, but our park operations crew got the line fixed and we were back to recovering little bits of history.

A Day at Michilimackinac

My primary responsibility this time of year is to direct the excavation at Colonial Michilimackinac State Historic Park.  Fort Michilimackinac was established by the French around 1715, taken over by the British in 1761, and dismantled and moved to Mackinac Island with the establishment of Fort Mackinac in 1781.  Archaeological excavation has taken place at Michilimackinac every summer since 1959 and provided the foundation of the reconstruction of about half of this fortified fur trading outpost.  We are currently excavating a fur trader’s house.

(more…)