Michigan History Museum - 2017 Michigan Archaeology Day

Date:  October 28, 2017  
Time:  10:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Location: Michigan History Museum, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48915

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 hands-on activities, and, by the end of the day, you'll already be thinking that you can't wait to come back next year!

The day will include:

Be sure to pick up your free 2017 archaeology poster and other goodies while supplies last. All activities are offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. unless a specific time is noted in the schedule below.

This event is included with museum admission. You can save on admission and receive other great benefits when you become a Michigan History Center member.

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.


In the Rotunda, First Floor

Michigan State Historic Preservation Office
Bethany Berdes

Conference on Michigan Archaeology and Michigan Archaeological Society
Dr. Michael Hambacher and David Cusack

Michigan Department of Transportation Archaeology
Chris Stephenson and Dan Lauterbur 

Michigan Historic Preservation Network
Elaine Robinson and Xiaohan Bao Smith

Research Tools for Archaeologists at the Library of Michigan
Matthew Pacer and Edwina Murphy

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Introductions by Dr. Dean Anderson, State Archaeologist

11 a.m.
Shipwrecks, Mastodons and Artifacts: A Career in Archaeology
Presenter: Wayne Lusardi, State Maritime Archaeologist, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

State Maritime Archaeologist Wayne Lusardi is stationed at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena. Wayne's career began 30 years ago working with archaeologists and paleontologists, and helping reconstruct mastodon skeletons for exhibit. His interest in scuba diving and conserving artifacts led to a graduate degree in maritime history and nautical archaeology. Work on the wreck of the pirate Blackbeard's ship, and the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor followed. Today, Wayne's duties at Thunder Bay include documenting the nearly 200 shipwrecks in northern Lake Huron, managing archaeological collections, and engaging the public through education and outreach programs.

A Beginners Guide to Food Storage
Presenter: Kate Frederick, Doctoral Candidate, Michigan State University Department of Anthropology

Learn how experimental archaeology was used to understand the technology behind prehistoric food storage. Drawing on archaeological, ethnographic and ethnohistoric information, this research accurately recreated subterranean storage pits for the late Late Woodland period (A.D. 1000-1600) of the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The experiment tested the efficiency, capacity and reliability of prehistoric hunter-gatherer food storage pits.

1 p.m.
No Passport Required: Tracing Past Population Movements Using Glass Trade Beads
Presenter: Dr. Heather Walder, Visiting Assistant Professor, Northern Illinois University

During the 17th and 18th centuries, glass trade beads circulated widely across North America, where they were exchanged for furs, food and other goods. This was also a period of dynamic population movements among Native American groups, in particular Huron-Wendat communities. Using laser technology to analyze the composition of beads from archaeological sites in both Ontario and Michigan, it is now possible to trace distinct glass bead "recipes" across the Great Lakes region. In doing so, we gain new insight about the movement of people during a time of intensive intercultural interaction in Michigan and beyond.

2 p.m.
Dugouts: Canoeing the Old-Fashioned Way
Presenter: James Renn, Forest Archaeologist, Huron-Manistee National Forest

Dugout canoes are among the earliest types of boats fashioned by humans. Preserved examples of these watercraft have been found all over the world, usually submerged and embedded in lake bottoms or river beds. As an experimental archaeology project, the Huron-Manistee National Forest Heritage Program and the Hartwick Pines State Park interpretive staff teamed up during the summers of 2016 and 2017 to construct two dugout canoes using traditional methods. Working with Eastern White Pine logs, the team examined the efficiency and effectiveness of construction techniques, and then tested the viability of their finished products on the Au Sable River.


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Front Lawn
Archaic Hunting Skills
Presenter: Mike Mauer, Michigan Archaeological Society

Practice hitting a deer target using spears and an atlatl (spear-thrower) like those used in Michigan forests thousands of years ago.

Scavenger Hunt Check-In
Presenter: Michiganology, Michigan History Center

This is the check-in location for scavenger hunt participants. When you have completed seven or more tasks from the scavenger hunt list found in the event agenda, bring your insert and any other required proof here to claim your prize.

Time Lab (kids under 10)
Mock Excavation and Stratigraphy Lesson
Presenter: Alexandra Conell, Alma College Sociology and Anthropology Department

Look for pieces of the past and learn how archaeologists document sites. Free archaeology activity books!

Learning Lab 1
Break Into History
Presenters: Rachel Clark and Sara Gross, Michigan History Center

Uncover clues, solve puzzles and work as a team to help our archaeologists. These Breakout games are designed for groups of two to six people, so assemble your team and stop by to attempt one of our challenges.

Learning Lab 2
Pinch Pots
Presenter: Commonwealth Heritage Group

Make and decorate your very own pottery using centuries-old techniques. (Materials donated by Commonwealth Heritage Group)

Museum, Second Floor
Flintknapping Presenter: Douglas Alcorn, Michigan Flintknappers

How did people hunt and butcher game before there were guns and steel knives? Watch an expert make stone tools to get the job done.


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Special Exhibit Gallery, First Floor

Huron-Manistee National Forest Heritage Program
Presented by James Renn, United States Forest Service

Greensky Hill Methodist Mission Church and The Circle of Trees: Archaeology, History and Oral History of a Traditional Cultural Property/Landscape near Charlevoix
Presented by Dr. Misty Jackson, Arbre Croche Cultural Resources; Calvin Gillett, Private Consultant; and Melissa Wiatrolik, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Museum, Second Floor
Galleries, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Aviation Archaeology in Michigan
Presented by Wayne Lusardi, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

What's the Difference between an Archaeologist and a Paleontologist? What Are All These Other "-ologies," Anyway?
Presented by Cameron Wood, Cranbrook Institute of Science

Warner Pioneer Homestead
Presented by Tim and Kerry Bennett, Warner Pioneer Homestead

2017 Archaeological Field School Results
Presented by Dr. Sarah Surface-Evans, Central Michigan University Archaeology Program

Campus Archaeology Program
Presented by Dr. Lynne Goldstein, Stacey Camp, Lisa Bright, Susan Kooiman, Jeff Painter, Autumn Painter, Mari Isa, Jack Biggs, Kaleigh Perry, Cooper Duda and Desiree Quinn, Michigan State University

Colonial Michilimackinac
Presented by Dr. Lynn Evans, Mackinac State Historic Parks

Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project
Presented by Erika Loveland and Anne Volpe, Western Michigan University

Community-Based Archaeology with the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways
Presented by Shannon Martin, Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways

Underwater Robots Explore Great Lakes Shipwrecks
Presented by Dr. Mark Gleason, Grand Valley State University

How Stones and Minerals Influence Archaeology
Presented by Dave Berquist, Central Michigan Lapidary and Mineral Society

Workers' Experience in the Northern Forest: Lumber and Labor in the Hiawatha National Forest
Presented by Dr. LouAnn Wurst, Matthew Durocher, Tyler Allen, Brendan Doucet and James Schwaderer, Michigan Technological University

Excavations in Copper Harbor: The Astor House and Range Light Keeper's House
Presented by Sheldon Cooper, Kyla Valenti and Morgan Davis, Michigan Technological University

Commonwealth Heritage Group: Recent Research
Presented by Donald Weir, Commonwealth Heritage Group

Oakland University Archaeology Program
Presented by Dr. Jon Carroll, Oakland University

Wayne State Anthropology Department and Gordon Grosscup Museum of Anthropology
Presented by Dr. Thomas Killion, Dr. Megan McCullen, Kelsey Jorgensen, Carly Slank, Dan Harrison, Wayne State University, and Scott Bentley, NPS River Raisin National Battlefield Park

Tales from the Printer's Privy: An Archaeological Biography from Detroit
Presented by Dr. Robert Chidester, The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc.

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Updated 10/10/2017