Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Even the Animals are Interested!

The heat sure makes that river look tempting...
Hello everyone! My name is Erica Stone, one of the archaeologists digging at the fort. I am actually from Edwardsburg, and am pretty interested in local history. I recently had an internship with Carol Bainbridge at the Fort St. Joseph Museum here in Niles, and feel like I learned so much about the history of not just Niles, but of this whole area. If you need an introduction to the fort story, I would really suggest going there and looking around. You can always check out the two-headed lamb or do a scavenger hunt!

Well, we are about four days into our excavation at the fort site and are already finding some pretty interesting artifacts! In the past field seasons, there were units adjacent to the one that my pit partner and I are assigned to. In these units, a hearth feature, or fireplace, was found and partially excavated. We had some knowledge of this, and by the end of the first day, we were already finding rocks that may have also been part of that same feature.

When digging at the fort site, one of the first things that you tend to find is bone, usually small pieces that were broken by a plow in the 1800s. Instead, we were finding long pieces of bone that showed evidence of burning as well as some smaller pieces that were had been superheated, making them white because the calcium had been leached out.

Archaeology at Fort St. Joseph has all kinds of surprises for us archaeologists. Not only are we dealing with scorching heat, we also battle roots, bugs, water, and sometimes each other (but we always resolve our differences). Just today, we had to do a little battle with nature: a crawdad had crawled into our covered unit and just would NOT detach himself from my partner’s glove! We’ve had other visitors, such as chickens at the Lyne site, an ermine who pops up now and then, and some adventurous frogs all seem to want to check out just what we’re up to. So come and visit on Fridays attwo in the afternoon and for the open house, the animals beat you to it!

Erica Stone

Photo credits Cathrine Davis

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