Northern Michigan in Focus: Colonial Michilimackinac Dig


Imagine finding something 230 years old, and then doing it over and over again.

That’s been happening this summer up in Mackinaw City.

Corey Adkins explains in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“This house has been great the last couple of years. It seems like every other week we can count on finding something that gets us really excited,” said Dr. Lynn L.M. Evans, curator of archaeology.

It’s been a great year at the archaeological dig at Colonial Michilimackinac.

“We are back at the same trader’s house that we have been working on since 2008, but it gets better and better,” said Dr. Evans.

They’re finding hardware that would have been used on guns.

“So it’s actually a side plate from a trade gun, and the reason it was discarded was because the tines had broken off of. Other than the tines being gone, it’s in beautiful shape. It’s cast brass and we can see the serpentine form, so it’s like a sea dragon. You can see its scales and veins, and you can see the details on its head,” explained Dr. Evans.

This particular side plate was for a specific customer.

“This weapon reflects the demands of the indigenous buyers, so it is a smaller caliber, it’s shorter, it’s more lightweight and it’s more decorative than a military arm. So things like the side plate are much more decorative than you’d find on a British soldiers,” said Craig P. Wilson, curator of history.

They’ve dug up a fork, parts of a plate and the bottle of a bottle, but their biggest find?

“We’re looking at the bezel of a ring. You can see the bands coming off the sides and then you have this raised cameo bust, so the hair is a different color and eye and face and chin,” explained Dr. Evans.

Colonial Michilimackinac: It’s just a fun place to experience history, and see it come right out of the ground.

“I just want to mention that this is the 60th anniversary summer of archaeology here at Fort Mackinac, so we are very proud of that. There is no end in sight, people ask how long are you going to dig, we still have a third of the fort to go and many, many decades of work to do,” said Dr. Evans.

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus