Monday, July 29, 2013

Time Detectives!

Dr. Michael Nassaney speaking with Dr. Monty Dobson.  A star is born!

       This past week was an exciting one in the field! On Friday, the students, staff and volunteers of the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project got our fifteen minutes of fame.  A film crew from PBS came to the dig site to interview Dr. Nassaney on the Fort’s involvement in the fur trade and the Seven Years’ War.  The title of the documentary series is America from the Ground Up and will be airing in the spring of 2014 with four hour-long episodes.  This project is being headed by Dr. Monty Dobson, an archaeologist/historian/filmmaker and assistant professor at Central Michigan University.  Clearly Fort St. Joseph was an important part of America’s historical past!  For more information on this documentary and to watch part of the pilot episode for free, go to


                On Friday we ended our first week with campers.  We spent the week in the company of some awesome middle-schoolers who learned a lot from us and even taught us a few things in return.  Teaching these kids how to dig and identify artifacts really helps us remember how to be good archaeologists ourselves.  A few of them even had better eyes at finding artifacts than us!  They pulled out a lot of really interesting artifacts, including large beads and gun parts.

                This week we start working with life-long learner campers.  Anyone above the age of sixteen can get involved.  I think it will be fascinating to experience the difference between these campers and the middle-schoolers.  Our learning community is growing!

Me, looking intrinsically sweet with my trowel.

                Monday evening we had a discussion about how to remain excited about archaeology even when we are not finding hidden temples and lost civilizations.  Dr. Nassaney told us to think of ourselves as “time detectives” in the field.  We look for clues, like detectives, to give us a broader view of the big picture of what happened here at Fort St. Joseph or anywhere else.  Think of an incomplete puzzle of the Mona Lisa.  Even though pieces are missing, we can guess what the rest of the picture looks like based on the information we have.  That is exactly what archaeologists do.  We find pieces of the past, and try our best to assemble a fuller picture of our history.

              Make sure you come to part 3 of our lecture series titled “The Other ‘Kitchen Debate:’ Changing Foodways Among the Michiana Potawatomi in the early-1800s” by Dr. Ben Secunda of the University of Michigan and NAGPRA project manager this Wednesday July 31 at 7pm at the Niles District Library.


1 comment:

seth said...

What a goof Aaron! Keep up the motivation!