Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Special Invitation from the Principal Investigator

Dear friends, colleagues, and fort followers,

This photo was captured at a community meal in 2010.
I would like to personally invite you to attend the 2017 Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Open House. This year’s theme is “Community Partnerships: Building Meaningful Connections Through Archaeology.” Western Michigan University’s 42nd annual Archaeological Field School students have been hard at work discovering how community partnerships played a role at Fort St. Joseph. The students, in conjunction with community collaborators, are examining relationships when the fort was occupied (1691-1781) to determine how interactions affected the lives of Fort St. Joseph occupants. At our upcoming Open House, visitors will get the chance to examine our recent finds, witness Living History reenactments, tour local monuments, ride in a replica of an 18th-century canoe, and engage with student and staff archaeologists conducting real time excavations.

This year’s theme of “Community Partnerships” builds on work conducted by WMU students last semester who reached out to various community groups in Niles to explore shared interests and ways that we might work together. Community groups and academics recognize the importance of collaboration for implementing their goals and visions. The initial search for Fort St. Joseph was conducted by Western Michigan University archaeologists in partnership with Support the Fort, Inc. and the City of Niles. This initiative (the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project) has grown to become a long-term, multidisciplinary, community-based research endeavor that aims to investigate and interpret the history and archaeology of the fur trade and colonialism in the interest of the public. The Project has the potential to engage a wide group of stakeholders on a variety of topics that are explored in this year’s Open House.

Even 7 years later, community partnerships remain at the heart of the project.
This photo was taken on Monday at another community meal.
        I hope that you plan to visit the site this upcoming weekend (August 5-6) to attend a unique event in southwest Michigan. Be sure to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know, meet an archaeologist, fill out a survey, and tell us what attracted you to Fort St. Joseph. I look forward to seeing you and sharing our findings as we continue to investigate and interpret one of the most important sites in the western Great Lakes region in collaboration with so many community partners.

See you soon!

Michael S. Nassaney, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology
Principal Investigator
Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project

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