Michigan History Museum - 2016 Michigan Archaeology Day

Date:  October 01, 2016  
Time:  10:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Location: 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48915

Walker Tavern artifacts: belt buckle, pharmaceutical bottle, 5 stone projectile points, 4 buttons.

Here's your chance to meet archaeologists, to learn of their research and to see one-day-only exhibits from their excavations and underwater explorations. Add to this a cartload of fun family activities, and, by the end of the day, everyone will "dig" history! Come early—you'll receive a free 2016 Michigan Archaeology Day poster while supplies last.

The day will include:

Download and print a PDF of the 2016 schedule

Admission to Michigan Archaeology Day is free of charge. The annual event is presented in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The Michigan History Museum—flagship of the Michigan History Museum System—is located in the east wing of the Michigan Library and Historical Center. Sunday admission and weekend parking are free. Read more Michigan History Museum visitor information.

We invite you to explore our online calendar, where you'll find all Michigan History Center events throughout the state.


An archaeology information station in the museum lobby offers free handouts about archaeology from the State Archaeologist. Also in the rotunda, you'll find information about the State Historic Preservation Office; the Conference on Michigan Archaeology; the Michigan Archaeological Society; the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and the Michigan Department of Transportation.


11 a.m.
Pioneers of the Pleistocene: The Archaeology of Michigan's First Peoples
Presenter: Dillon Carr, Grand Rapids Community College

The first inhabitants of Michigan began colonizing the region as glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age. These pioneering Michiganders, whom archaeologists call Paleoindians, encountered a vastly different landscape than is present in the state today. This presentation will provide an overview of archaeological insights into Paleoindian life. It will also explore some of the key research on the Paleoindian period in Michigan, such as efforts to understand how humans responded to large-scale climate change at the end of the Ice Age.

How Did We Miss That Site? Reconstructing the Elusive Archaeology of Sleeping Bear Point
Presenters: Dr. William A. Lovis, Michigan State University; Dr. G. William Monaghan, Indiana Geological Survey; and Dr. Alan F. Arbogast, Michigan State University

Sleeping Bear Point (SBP) is a prominent coastal landform within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Archaeological survey of SBP in the 1970s did not record any archaeological sites; however, in 1990, a pre-contact Late Woodland occupation was found. Artifacts from the occupation are present in a soil layer buried in the dunes, including ceramics dating to between AD 900 and 1300. Here, we summarize field investigations that have clarified the natural and cultural development of archaeological deposits at SBP. We ask the question: How did the 1970s survey miss the site?

1 p.m.
Lumber, Labor and Looting at Coalwood
Presenter: Dr. LouAnn Wurst, Michigan Technological University

During the early 20th century, Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company (CCI) operated cordwood lumber camps in what became the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Michigan Technological University's archaeological research at these sites focuses on how looting has affected the sites and what we can learn about the lives of the workers and their families. This talk describes our investigation of three lumber camps in the Coalwood District and highlights unexpected conclusions about the impact of site looting and about the lives of the lumber camp workers.

2 p.m.
Lake Huron Red Tails: The 2015 Tuskegee Airman Project
Presenter: Wayne Lusardi, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Lieutenant Frank H. Moody was tragically killed on April 11, 1944, when the Bell P-39Q Airacobra he was piloting crashed into Lake Huron. Only 22 years old, Lieutenant Moody was part of the now-famous Tuskegee Experience - one of the airmen often referred to as Red Tails. He was one of fewer than 1,000 African American men who were trained to fly army aircraft during World War II. The project to document the crash site, dubbed "Red Tail 2," was much more than an archaeological investigation of a wrecked aircraft: it was a dive into history-and into a man's life.

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  • Practice hitting a deer target using darts and an atlatl (spear-thrower) like those used by native peoples in Michigan forests thousands of years ago. Presenter: Mike Mauer, Michigan Archaeological Society
  • Look for pieces of the past in a mock excavation and learn how archaeologists document sites. (Kids under 10; excavations begin every half hour.) Presenter: Alexandra Conell, Alma College Sociology and Anthropology Department
  • Uncover clues, solve puzzles, and work as a team to rescue archaeologists from certain peril! These Michigan History Center-designed Breakout games are for groups of two to six people, so assemble your team and stop by to attempt one of our three challenges. Presenters: Rachel Clark and Sarah Gross, Michigan History Center
  • Practice making pottery much like the way people did a thousand years ago. (Materials donated by Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group.) Presenter: Mary Jeakle, Commonwealth Heritage Group
  • Watch how people made stone tools to hunt and butcher game before there were guns and steel knives. Presenter: Douglas Alcorn, Michigan Flintknappers

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Museum, Second Floor

Great Lakes Hunting, AD 20
Barbara Mead, Retired Assistant State Archaeologist

What's the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist? What are all these other "-ologies" anyway?
Cameron Wood and Janet Beylin, Cranbrook Institute of Science

Warner Pioneer Homestead and Hicks School
Tim, Kerry, Anna and Megan Bennett, Warner Pioneer Homestead

Muir Bridge Salvage Archaeology
David Cusack, Upper Grand Valley Chapter of the Michigan Archaeological Society

Pottery and People in Michigan
Dr. Janet Brashler, Grand Valley State University Department of Anthropology

A Town Named For Salt
James Peters and Mark Corrao, Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Archeological Society

Saginaw County Sites
Leslie Shuster, Saginaw Chapter of the Michigan Archaeological Society

Analysis of Early Historic Glass Beads found in Michigan
Dr. Heather Walder, Michigan State University Department of Anthropology

Campus Archaeology Program
Dr. Lynne Goldstein and Lisa Bright, Michigan State University Department of Anthropology

Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project
Western Michigan University Department of Anthropology

Dr. Lynn Evans, Mackinac State Historic Parks

Community-based Archaeology with the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways
Shannon Martin, Ziibiwing Center

Rocks that Made Michigan
Dave Berquist, Mary Gowans and Roni Sionakides, Central Michigan Lapidary and Mineral Society

Analyzing the Archaeological Landscape of Windigo, Isle Royale National Park
Marley Chynoweth, Michigan Technological University Industrial Archaeology Program

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Wayne Lusardi, State Maritime Archaeologist, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Worker's Experience in the Northern Forest: Lumber Camps in the Hiawatha National Forest
Tyler Allen, Matthew Durocher and James Schwaderer, Michigan Technological University Department of Social Sciences

Huron Manistee National Forest Heritage Program
James Renn, Amanda Campbell, Russ Snyder and Laura Louks, United States Forest Service

Sawing Logs and Saving Lives: The Archaeology of Deer Park, Michigan
Dr. Robert Chidester, Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. Cultural Resources Group

Current Archaeological Research at CMU
Dr. Sarah Surface-Evans, Central Michigan University Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Oakland University Archaeology Program
Dr. Jon Carroll, Oakland University Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice

Research in Metropolitan Detroit and Southeastern Michigan
Dr. Krysta Ryzewski, Dr. Thomas Killion, Dan Harrison, Samantha Ellens and Kat Slocum, Wayne State University Department of Anthropology

Using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to Explore and Document Shipwrecks in the Great Lakes
Dr. Mark Gleason, Grand Valley State University Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Alpena Community College

Nautical Archaeology Program
Dr. Mark Holley, Northwestern Michigan College Anthropology Program

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Updated 09/23/2016