Preparing for the Season

The site (between the barrels) buried under several feet of snow.

After the spring melt.

Ready to excavate.

Spring has sprung in the Straits of Mackinac region, and with spring comes the preparation for another archaeological field season. Regular blog readers will remember that at the end of last season we lined the site with heavy plastic sheeting and bales of straw. The long snowy winter was very good for preventing the wall from slumping too much. When we removed the straw and plastic last week, the site was in fairly good condition.

Sherd found in slump this week.

Some dirt always slumps off the side walls during the winter, and we screen it to check for any artifacts. We had an exciting find from the east wall of the root cellar, a large fragment of a blue and white Chinese export porcelain saucer. We excavated two other pieces of the saucer last summer, and had seen this sticking out of the profile. There is another piece still in the wall.

This week’s sherd reunited with other pieces of a saucer.

The full field season begins June 4 and we will be excavating every day through August 24, weather permitting. This will be our twelfth full season of excavation at the fourth unit of the Southeast Rowhouse. It was constructed in the 1730s and lived in by fur traders, first French and later English. It was demolished in 1781 as part of the move to Mackinac Island. We are hoping to find the bottom of the root cellar this season. There is a second deep feature west of the cellar that we are trying to better define as well. If we have time, we will expand to the north in search of the north wall of the house. The excavation takes place in the center of Colonial Michilimackinac. Please come visit and watch history being uncovered.

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