Colonial Michilimackinac Archaeology

In 1959, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission contracted with Michigan State University to carry out a season of excavation at Michilimackinac. Thus began an archaeological project that has continued every summer since, one of the longest ongoing projects of its kind. Much of the west half of the fort was excavated and rebuilt during the 1960s. By 1969, it was apparent that overseeing archaeology at Michilimackinac was a full-time job, and Dr. Lyle Stone was hired as the commission’s first staff archaeologist. Excavation moved outside the walls in the early 1970s, when three rowhouses from the suburbs of the fort were discovered prior to building the Visitor’s Center under the Mackinac Bridge. In 1974, excavation resumed inside the fort walls. Leaving the west side behind, archaeologists began to work on the powder magazine, which turned out to be the most intact building ruin at Michilimackinac. Work continued in the southeast corner of the fort for the next two decades, including the excavation of multiple rowhouse units, most notably the home of Ezekiel Solomon, Michigan’s first Jewish settler. In 1998, archaeologists returned to the southwest corner of the fort to tie together current results with excavations done in the 1960s. This project resulted in the reconstruction of the South Southwest Row House in 2013.  We are now excavating part of the Southeast Row House.

Click here to view the Preliminary Archaeology Reports from Colonial Michilimackinac

COLONIAL MICHILIMACKINAC – ARCHAEOLOGICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

Evans, Lynn L.M.
     2001    House D of the Southeast Row House: Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac, 1989-1997.    Archaeological Completion Report Series No. 17.  MSHP.

     2002    Recent Archaeology at Michilimackinac: The Archaeology of Fur Traders and Archaeologists.  Paper presented at the 35th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Mobile, Alabama.  On file, Petersen Center.

Halchin, Jill Y.
     1985    Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac, 1983-1985: House C of the Southeast Rowhouse, The Solomon-Levy-Parant House.  Archaeological Completion Report Series No.11.  MISPC.

Heldman, Donald P.
      1977    Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac, 1976: The Southeast and South Southeast Row Houses. Archaeological Completion Report Series No. 1.  MISPC.

     1978    Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac, 1977: House One of the South Southeast Row House. Archaeological Completion Report Series No. 2.  MISPC.

     1984    East Side, West Side, All Around the Town: Stratigraphic Alignment and Resulting Settlement Patterns at Fort Michilimackinac, 1715-1781.  Paper presented at the 17th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Williamsburg, Virginia.  On file, Petersen Center.

     1986    Michigan’s First Jewish Settlers: A View from the Solomon-Levy Trading House at Fort Michilimackinac, 1765-1781.  Journal of New World Archaeology 6(4):21-33.

     1991    The French in Michigan and Beyond: An Archaeological View from Fort Michilimackinac Toward the West.  In French Colonial Archaeology: The Illinois Country and the Western Great Lakes, edited by John A. Walthall, pp.201-217. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.

Heldman, Donald P. and Roger T. Grange, Jr.
     1981    Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac 1978-79: The Rue de la Babillarde.  Archaeological Completion Report Series No. 3. MISPC.

Heldman, Donald P. and William L. Minnerly
1977    The Powder Magazine at Fort Michilimackinac: Excavation Report.  Reports in Mackinac History and Archaeology No. 6.  MISPC.

Maxwell, Moreau S. And Lewis Binford
1961    Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac, Mackinac City, Michigan, 1959 Season.  Publications of  the Museum, Michigan State University, Cultural Series Vol. 1, No. 1.  Lansing.

Reck, Todd M.
2004    Re-excavting Michilimackinac: Use of Harris Matrices to Analyze Stratigraphy for the Purpose of Studying French Canadians Living in the South Southwest Rowhouse of Fort Michilimackinac.  Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Archaeology, Boston University.

Stone, Lyle M.
     1973    Fort Michilimackinac Parking Lot Area: Summary of Excavations and Structural Evidence, 1970-73.  Unpublished report on file, Petersen Center.

     1974    Fort Michilimackinac, 1715-1781: An Archaeological Perspective on the Revolutionary Frontier. Anthropological Series, Vol. 2.  Michigan State University, East Lansing, in cooperation with MISPC.