Thursday, July 21, 2011

Greetings from N30 E23

Working through alluvium.
My name is Greg Savage and I’m one of the archaeologists working on the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project here in Niles; North30 East23 is the coordinates of the excavation unit my pit partner Amber and I are assigned to. We were a little apprehensive on day one, because unlike the other excavation units which were assigned based on previous area finds, our unit was an “exploratory unit” to see what might extend into this area. I did what I could to remain optimistic and began to refer to our unit as the “Lewis and Clark” excavation unit.

We shovel skimmed our way through 20 cm of thick alluvium – Nothing! Dr. Nassaney says “take it down to 30 cm and let’s see how things look." 30 cm – Nothing! 35 cm – Nothing! 40 cm….40 cm changed everything! We had conquered the alluvium and were now in the old plow zone where history was unfolding before us with every skim of the shovel and cut of the trowel. Bones, beads, blacksmith-cut nails, lead shot, fire cracked rock, things which have no monetary value but to archaeologists and other scientists prove invaluable for the information they yield. Yes indeed! “exploratory unit” N30 E23 is exactly where I was meant to be as an archaeologist this summer.

The Lewis and Clark unit.
Today was also special as I was able to provide a site tour to a visitor who has been a lifelong resident of Hartford, MI. He had heard about the project and wanted to stop in to see for himself what we are doing. At the conclusion, our visitor thanked me for providing the tour and for the work we are doing in historical recovery and preservation right here in his “backyard.”

I would like to invite you all to come out to the site and see for yourself what we’re uncovering in YOUR backyard. If you can’t make it to the site continue following our progress here on the blog as we sweat it out digging into the past, not only learning about Michigan history but American history and the role Fort St. Joseph played in it.

Greg Savage

Photo credits Cathrine Davis

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