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.

From mid-June to late August, Mackinac area visitors can watch archaeology in progress every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weather permitting) at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City–the site of a reconstructed 18th-century fort and fur-trading village. An interpreter is on site to answer visitor questions, explain the process, and show sample artifacts.

Help support archaeological programs within Mackinac State Historic Parks and especially at Colonial Michilimackinac by donating to Mackinac Associates’ Fall Appeal. More information can be found here. 

  • Colonial Michilimackinac Archaeology

    The archaeology program at Colonial Michilimackinac has taken place every summer since 1959, making it one of the longest ongoing archaeological digs in North America. Learn more here.

  • Current Archaeology

    Since 2007 archaeologists have been working at the Southeast Rowhouse, House E. Learn about some of the interesting finds here.

  • Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park Archaeology

    Archaeology played a key role in the development of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park. Learn more here.

  • Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse Archaeology

    While three of the four buildings at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse are original, extensive archaeological excavations have taken place at the lighthouse surrounding the barn and warehouse. Learn more here.

  • Fort Mackinac Archaeology

    Fort Mackinac retains the historic buildings standing when the army decommissioned it in 1895, but various archaeological excavations have happened at and around the fort. Learn more here.

  • Mackinac Island State Park Archaeology

    Archaeology has been carried out within Mackinac Island State Park since the 1960s, including at Wawashkamo Golf Club, site of the 1814 battle. Learn more here.

  • Historic Downtown Mackinac Archaeology

    Learn more about the two major excavations that took place in the downtown area of Mackinac Island.