Archaeologists Find Rare Artifacts At Site In Fort Michilimackinac

A unique discovery in a place rich with history, archaeologists have made rare finds just days apart.

Mackinac State Historic Park archaeologists have discovered two pieces of silver and a brass crucifix all within one week.

The work is part of an ongoing dig. They’re looking for historic artifacts within Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City.

9&10’s Aaron Parseghian spoke with archaeologists about why these finds are so unique.

“It’s all a piece of the puzzle and the more pieces of the puzzle we have the better our picture is,” said Archeology Curator Lynn Evans.

At the Straits of Mackinac, archaeologists are digging, sifting and discovering artifacts, that better piece together the history of Colonial Michilimackinac.

“We are looking for anything that’s not a rock or a root, things that we find most commonly are a lot of little things that would have fallen through the cracks,” explained Evans.

They have been working at the site of an 18th century fur trader’s home for a little less than a decade; but just over the past week have made some rare discoveries.

“Last week we found two pieces of trade silver and that’s really unusual for Michilimackinac. Trade silver is an excellent marker for the British time period in the Great Lakes fur trade but we’ve never found a whole lot of here at the site here in general,” said Evans.

On Monday, a volunteer found a brass crucifix. They think it dates back in time  even earlier than the silver.

“It’s probably one of the most unique things I’ve found here, it tells us a lot about the past. It’s pretty cool, you get to run around and show everyone the cool artifact it’s kind of like a kid in the candy store,” said Volunteer Archaeologist Katie Guttman.

An exciting moment after days, even years of work.

“It’s an important part of the past. Piecing together parts of history, finding out things that they’ve never wrote down, like what they are, what they wore, stuff they didn’t think was important to write down,” added Guttman.  

The artifacts give a better picture of history, but even more reasons to keep digging.

“To us it’s all important. It’s good to know what kind of things are being traded. One of the things we don’t know is what this would have been traded for,” said Evans.