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.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Flood Plain Firsts
The clearing of the site (Photo Credit: Austin George)
Hi, I’m Dale Kraai and I am from
Grand Haven. I’m a senior, double majoring in anthropology and economics at
Western Michigan University.
Today was our first day at the Fort
St. Joseph site. We began the day by clearing the site of its green growth with
the use of grass whippers, rakes, and a weed whacker. Once only soil remained
beneath our feet, we moved on to setting up the area to begin our archaeological
work. After removing a couple of wolf spiders the size of my hand, an ant
colony including their queen, and a warren of mice, our supplies were freed.
Our spoils consisted of pallets that we use to traverse the mucky site and support
us while we screen the dirt that may contain the artifacts that will help us
glean information about Fort St. Joseph. The pallets were set across a small
ditch with the tetrapods placed above them. These structures are designed to
allow us to wet screen our potential findings by placing them on top of a
screen mesh while spraying them with water to dislodge the dirt into the ditch
The tetrapods after set up (Photo Credit: Austin George)
Once they were ready for use we began our final project for the day. My
pit partner and I outlined the area that we will begin excavating tomorrow. From a
starting point, we mapped out a one by one meter square and then lined it with
string, making note of the elevation differences between each point. This
excavation unit was purposefully chosen since its northern points align with a
past unit that begs further investigation. The previous unit holds a fire pit
used by the residents centuries ago. I’m excited to get a more in depth look
into their daily lives. With that, we tidied up the field for the day and hit
the showers. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead tomorrow!