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History & Archaeology

Archeological dig on the proposed right of way of M-231 near Nunica in Ottawa County.
Department of Transportation

History & Archaeology

In Michigan, the known archaeological record extends from the present to about 12,000 years ago when humans, and some forms of extinct mega-fauna such as Mastodons, are believed to have first inhabited our Great Lakes region.

Michigan's archaeological resources, however, are largely invisible to the casual observer since they lay buried at varying depths beneath the surface of our modern landscape. Therefore, in order to preserve these valuable and unique resources, and as required by federal and state preservation laws, it is necessary to consider their existence and any potential effects to these resources during the planning of MDOT construction projects.

To fulfill these obligations to the people of Michigan, archaeology at MDOT is performed by professional archaeologists whose credentials meet or surpass federal criteria. MDOT archaeologists also work closely with the Office of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that a professional high standard of care is maintained in protecting and preserving Michigan's irreplaceable archaeological resources.

Cultural Resources Contacts

Shaun Miller, Archaeologist   

Bridges and Cultural Resources
Lloyd Baldwin, Cultural & Historic Coordinator

Sigrid Bergland, Cultural & Historic Coordinator

Historic Preservation Laws & Regulations

MDOT must comply with all historic preservation laws and regulations in the development of our projects. These laws include the National Historic Preservation Act and the Department of Transportation Act. MDOT's Cultural Resources Office works closely with the Federal Highway Administration, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the Office of the State Archaeologist, to identify, preserve, and minimize damage to historic and archaeological sites. They are also responsible for ensuring MDOT complies with these laws and are structured in accordance with the major categories of Cultural Resource Law, i.e., archaeology and historic architecture. A historic bridges category is included because it is uniquely associated with transportation.