Sunday, October 20, 2013

Public Presence and Future Plans

One of the FSJ displays at Archaeology Day.
If you thought that the Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Project was taking a break because the 2013 field season is over, you thought wrong!  We've been hard at work in the lab back at Western Michigan University working on further analysis of the artifacts recovered this season.  Beyond that, we've been spreading the word about Fort St. Joseph!
Saturday, October 12th was Michigan Archaeology Day at the Michigan Historical Building in Lansing.  Last year attendance was estimated around 500-600 people throughout the day.  This year almost half that amount of people came through the door in the first hour.  We brought several posters and artifact cases and had many visitors interested in the project.  The staff at Archaeology Day seemed to be a bit short handed so our FSJAP students had the opportunity to help run kids’ activities.
Last week, the project was approached by Mary Burleson, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Linden Grove Middle School and asked us to talk to her classes about the Fort St. Joseph project and archaeology in general.  Alex Brand and I talked to five different classes throughout the day about what archaeology is, what we do at Fort St. Joseph and at WMU, and what kind of careers can be made with a degree in anthropology.  I got to talk to them for a bit about my passion, underwater archaeology, which most of the kids did not even realize existed as a field of study.  Many of the students seemed very interested in what we had to say and some even showed interest in our summer camp program.  At the end of the day, it was a very exciting feeling to think that we talked to over 100 kids about archaeology.
On October 19th, Dr. Michael Nassaney and Alex Brand presented a paper on the history of Fort St. Joseph and the French in the St. Joseph River Valley at the Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference. Alex also presented a poster on the field work from the past three years. We also had the opportunity to invite other members of the academic community to the conference we are currently planning for next summer that will take place in Niles, MI. There we will discuss the field work that has taken place at FSJ, as well as the future of the project. For now, we’re working on our next booklet, planning for the SHA conference, and continuing to process the artifacts and information recovered from the 2013 field season. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our work in Kalamazoo, and thanks for your support!

            -Aaron Howard

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