Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Big Shebang!

           Hello all, it’s Meghan again! All of us at the archaeological field school are so thankful for your love and support at the Open House. The Open House is truly a culmination of the staff and student’s hard work throughout the semester as we invite the public to visit the site and become immersed in the 18th century. We invited re-enactors, who helped us to display and explain the life of an 18th-century French voyageur, tradesmen, and Jesuit priest among others, as well as the Sarrett Nature Center, who provided voyageur canoe rides along the St. Joseph River. We invited members of Fernwood Nature Center who displayed animal pelts akin to the animals uncovered during our excavations. Next to Fernwood, Dr. Terry Martin displayed and explained different types of animal bones found at the Fort St. Joseph site. My fellow students kept busy providing tours of the entire site, showing kids archaeological techniques, discussing our recent finds at the artifact cases and pit tours, and demonstrating the wet-screen procedure.
            Most of my weekend was spent giving pit tours, working the artifact case, and demonstrating wet screening techniques. My favorite place to be at the Open House was the pit tours. It was wonderful to show the public all the hard work my colleagues had put into their units. I was even more excited to show my own unit to the public, as well as my family and friends who have supported me this summer.
            My unit is N24 W11, alias Bertha, and this unit is a section of house four.
A worm's eye view of Bertha.
Bertha was opened because we were trying to intersect one of the fireplaces within the proposed blacksmiths’ quarters. I loved explaining to the public how the archaeological evidence from this summer and previous summers helps us to determine what an area may have been used for or what an area may have been in the 18th century. Fort St. Joseph does not have blueprints or maps of where the buildings were placed, or even how many buildings were at the fort. Therefore, all of the work the students and staff put into their excavations helps to determine the size of the fort and all of its functionalities.
            I am thankful to be part of an archaeological project that is community-based. I enjoy being able to give the Niles’ community a piece of their history back. At the Open House I had a few people tell me they grew up in the area and were happy to see excavations happening. The support from the community allows the Fort St. Joseph archaeological project to continue with their work. So, thank you to each and every one of you who support our work and for attending the Open House. We would not be able to do it without you.
Field school squad before going on the canoe ride.
The archaeological field school is now in its final stretch. The rest of our week will be spent photographing, mapping, profiling, and backfilling our units. It is bittersweet to see my time at field school come to a close because I have made lifelong friends. I will miss our time spent laughing and learning in the field, as well as the late nights spent in the stable loft playing cards and watching movies. The field school has been the most influential and rewarding class that I have taken at Western.


No comments: