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.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Going Ostrich: Sticking Our Heads in the Ground
Today we learned that archaeological field work is
subject to the world around us.From the
moment we stepped outside this morning we knew it would be a long day.The sun was barely over the horizon and it
was already blazingly hot.The weather
forecast for this week repeated two words, “hot” and “humid”.It would cost a lot of money to air-condition
the forest, so we had to tough it out.This tends to make very irritable archaeologists.As we headed out into the field, it was clear
that everyone was excited to be back and eager to get down to work.
A flake of chert stone tool production
Not much was uncovered today.A few chert flakes were found, as well as a
piece of lead shot with some white corrosion on it.This shows that we are approaching the level
of ground that represents a time before the site was inhabited.We will be heading down to the Fort site
later this week so stay tuned for upcoming discoveries and tales from the
The chert flakes represented at the Lyne site offer
us a unique idea of the kind of stone tool production that took place in this
area.We are finding small pieces
(roughly the size of the nail on your little finger) as well as larger pieces
(some 4 or 5 cm in diameter).The larger
pieces represent early stage reduction and the smaller pieces represent late
stage reduction.With this information,
we can conclude that on this site, stone tools have been started, finished and
even refined on the Lyne site.Every
stage of production is represented on one site!
Washing some artifacts discovered this summer
Despite the heat and humidity, we were all very
happy just to be digging again.The heat
could not dampen our spirits!Unfortunately, some rain that swept through close to 3pm dampened the
site a bit too much to continue our work.
We arrived back at the stables a little before 4pm
and Katelyn was gracious enough to give us a “rainy day lecture” on some work
she has done on cataloguing ceramic artifacts from an archaeological dig in
Iowa.She photographed and catalogued
roughly 1500 artifacts!
Today was also our first day doing lab work.We learned how to properly wash artifacts and
soon we’ll learn the entire process of how an artifact goes from the ground to
part of our collection.
Who can tell us more about Goldie?
We had another guest visit us at the stables today
while we were grilling burgers and corn on the cob for dinner!Dr. Nassaney pointed out a huge bird perched
on top of the stable roof.James soon
identified it as a golden eagle, which would be a sweet band name.We noticed that the eagle had its mouth open
and appeared to be drooling.We looked
this up on the internet and learned that this might indicate that the eagle had
just mated.Any eagle enthusiasts out
there?Tell us if you might know
anything more about this guy!