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.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The Road to El Open House
And so ends
what could possibly be the crew’s last full day of digging. With preparations
for Open House well underway – what with Media Day tomorrow and the setup we’ll
be doing on Friday – it’s possible that we may not fit in as much pure
excavation as we’d like. Add that to the dismal weather we’ve got looming on
the horizon (if it even hits us; what’s up with this Michigan weather anyway?)
and our chances of pushing our units to 65 or even 70 centimeters below datum
Tabitha doing an incredible job removing a jaw bone.
okay, because we have enjoyed our time in Fort St. Joseph while it lasted. And
even though we’ve only had about a week and a half to excavate what past field
schools have had three or four weeks to do, no one is falling behind. The
shallowest unit is at least 50 cm deep – and the girls digging there could hide
in it, if they wanted to! We’ve been pushing the envelope since day one,
proving that each and every team we’ve got is made of powerhouses ready to get
down and reveal the history hidden beneath the ground. Though we may not have
the time to fully complete our excavations, each and every one of us is
yearning to take out just one more trowel full of dirt, because that may be
what it takes to find a Jesuit finger ring or a complete trigger guard or even
unit became the first feature of the season – feature 23, in fact, a huge ash
deposit in the east side of our unit, almost taking up an entire meter of
space. Though it was only about four centimeters deep, it raised a lot of
questions: where did this come from? Why is it here? Is this from a chimney, or
a hearth, or perhaps something else? Hopefully future field schools will be
able to find the answer if we can’t. This year we did dig up old units to get a
bigger picture of where two civilian houses were located. Maybe one summer
years from now, some new baby-faced undergrad will dig up our little unit and
find a chimney or even a foundation wall to the house. Who knows! The
possibilities are endless.
Joe being Joe.
we hid sniffles of despair as the conclusion of our field season races toward
us, we did end the day on a positive note. Down in South Bend, Indiana, in a
really cool and fun museum, the Center for History, we heard a lecture from Joseph
Gagné about the militia in New France. Before the presentation began, we took
twenty minutes or so to explore the museum, taking in all of the interesting
exhibits they had on display. One of my personal favorites was a painting of a
woman sitting in front of her vanity. At first the scene seems tranquil, quiet,
and at peace; until you step back and see that her profile and gilded mirror
together give the image of a brilliant white skull against a black backdrop.
There were tons of other interesting things to see, such as old advertisements
and outdated exercise machines. And to top it off, we learned of the militia
and military policy in New France with a fluent French speaker and an extremely
comfortable auditorium. A combination of soda and cookies provided by the
museum helped ease us into our after-lecture glow as we enjoyed the warm stone
of the pavement outside. It was a great end to a good, not-too-hot day.
We can only
hope that tomorrow will be just as nice and let us get our hands dirty a few
more times before we all have to go home.