Friday, November 4, 2011

Another Update on the Lead Seal found during the 2011 Field Season

Arguably the most talked about and debated artifact recovered during the 2011 field season was the small lead seal found in unit at N25 W9 reading “ORAINE DE LILLE”. The seal was first believed to have read “GRAINE DE LILLE”; however Dr. David MacDonald of Illinois State University has provided us with the likeliest interpretation. He has read it as:




The Bureau Foraine was a taxing authority in eighteenth-century France which issued lead seals and its form is typical of customs seals of the time. Dr. MacDonald also believes that the back of the seal will bear the arms of the city of Lille. We noticed a fleur de lis on the reverse of the seal; this may not be incompatible. We are looking forward to a closer examination of the seal for a decisive interpretation. Some quick searching brought up La Porte de Paris at the Place Simon Vallant. La Porte is an arch constructed between 1685 and 1692 and is decorated with the Coat of Arms of Lille (a single Lilly) as well as the Coat of Arms of France (which has three Lillies) The FSJ archaeologists thank Dr. McDonald for this information.

-Erica D'Elia

Monday, October 31, 2011


Je m’appele Cathrine Davis. It’s been a while since I wrote a blog during the field season earlier this year. It’s been a pretty wild ride since then and I have continued to do a good deal of photo work for the project, even now after the transition to the academic year. If a picture is worth a thousand words, think of how many papers I have written with just a few clicks! I am including some photos of students working in WMU’s shiny new lab in this blog for those of you who would like to see what everyday life is like for some of the nerds I work with.

In addition to helping create the face of FSJ in the publications and brochures being put together for next year, I have been traveling here and there with a contingent from the Anthropology Department, to conferences, lectures, and most recently to Grand Valley State University to celebrate the first ever National Archaeology Day. Last weekend, on the 22nd of October, GVSU hosted the celebrations for the West Michigan society of the AIA (The Archaeological Institute of America). There, several student presenters spoke about their current research and about experiences in archaeology. The topics presented ranged from excavating Mayan ruins in the jungles of Belize, to analyzing the mineral composition of ancient Turkish pottery and how it differs according to the ethnicity of the artisan, and even back to Southwest Michigan and the continuing work on Fort St. Joseph. Erica Stone (the project’s Museum Intern) and I gave a joint presentation entitled “Archaeology and Public Outreach at Fort St. Joseph.” We brought along a couple panels and display cases from this year’s open house, and overall, we were well received by the other archaeologists in attendance. As a token of appreciation, the other guest presenters, Erica, and I received line levels, key tools for archaeologists worldwide and something that always seems to be on the other side of the site when you need them. With luck, Erica and I will never need another line level again! This was a wonderful occasion to keep in touch with colleagues and even old friends from field school- Erica and I enjoyed cookies and cider with our FSJ buddy Amber Strick, who we hadn’t seen since we packed up our trowels this summer. These are the events that remind you that the future of Archaeology is getting brighter every day.

Au revoir!