Michilimackinac Archaeology 2021 Wrap-Up

Southeast root cellar. This image shows the cellar shortly before completion. Only a gray circular area of cultural deposit, probably a postmold, and remnants of the south wall remain. 

  The 2021 Michilimackinac field season came to a satisfying end in late August. After seven seasons of excavation, we have finally reached the bottom of the southeast root cellar! The cellar was first tentatively identified in 2015. Since that time remnants of the north, west and south walls have been exposed and excavated along with a wide variety of interesting artifacts. More cellar deposit and the east wall are still present in the east profile and extending into the area of the House D excavation where the cellar was identified, but not excavated.

Central cellar. The dark soil surrounded by lighter sand is the central cellar. Six posts are now visible along the eastern edge of the cellar, two on the south, three on the west, and one on the north.

  The central cellar, on the other hand, became better defined and shows no sign of ending. It continued to yield trade goods, such as hawk bells, and structural artifacts, such as a hinge.

  A second new square was opened in the north row of squares where we eventually expect to find evidence of the north wall of the house. Both squares opened this summer are now down to the rubble layer created by the 1781 demolition of the fort.

  The newest square yielded the most interesting artifact of the second half of the season, a clear, circular intaglio set with Masonic symbols on it. The square and compass surrounding the letter G are easy to see. The surrounding symbols are not as legible but appear to include a trowel on the left. The set is .42” in diameter and could be from a linked button or a ring.

  While the lodge at Mackinac (St. John’s #15) was not established until 1784 on Mackinac Island, many of the soldiers and traders at Michilimackinac were members of lodges in Detroit or further east. Known Masons at Michilimackinac include: Major Robert Rogers, Lt. John Christie, Captain John Vattas, Lt. Robert Brooks, Lt. George Clowes, Surgeon’s Mate David Mitchell, Felix Graham, Benjamin Lyon, Forrest Oakes, David Rankin, and Ezekiel Solomon.

Masonic intaglio from a linked button or ring.

  This list is a starting point for possible owners of the intaglio. It could be a clue to the “British trader” who owned the house or could have been lost by a guest of his. It is particularly interesting to note that three other residents of the southeast rowhouse were Masons, Lt. Clowes (House A/B), Ezekiel Solomon (House C), and David Mitchell (House D).

The site is packed and waiting for spring.

  The 2021 field season was sponsored by Mackinac Associates, and we thank them for their generous support.

Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Photographer Raymond Gaynor

Photographer Raymond Gaynor will lead a presentation/workshop on the images he’s taken while in residence. He’ll provide a detailed explanation on what drove him to take that particular shot, what he saw, and what he felt. Additionally, he will also discuss the technical aspects and processing workflow for each image.

This is a free workshop presented in the Station 256 Conference Room located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. Entrance is to the rear of the building. #thisismackinac

Mackinac – Our Famous Island

The Mackinac Arts Council presents Mackinac – Our Famous Island in the Center for the Arts at Mission Point every Sunday May 2 – October 24. Admission is free. #thisismackinac

About the documentary: Detroit Public TV and Mackinac State Historic Parks takes viewers to Mackinac – Our Famous Island along its many shores and trails to experience the natural beauty of the island, visit landmarks that reveal its earliest history and introduce the people who still work to preserve this special place. There is far more to this sacred island than horses and fudge, and DPTV cameras capture the landscape and beauty while connecting us to the diverse communities and people who have been stewards of Mackinac Island throughout its history.

Music in the Park, Presented by Mackinac Arts Council

From the Arts Council: “With a spectacular backdrop, our summer concert series takes place on the lawn of a National Historic Landmark, Marquette Park, which is at the foothills of Historic Fort Mackinac downtown across from the marina. Bring a picnic and tune in for some great live folk, rock, country, blues—the best of Americana. All concerts are free. We recommend bringing a blanket or lawn chairs for your comfort.”

Schedule of artists:
July 1 – Mackinac’s Got Talent!
July 8 – Olivia Dear
July 15 – Rachel Davis (with Chimney Rock)
July 22 – The Pistil Whips
July 29 – The Accidentals (with Gabi June)
August 5 – E Minor
August 12 – The Ark Band
August 19 – Mackinac’s Got Talent! Finals
August 26 – Kari Lynch
September 2 – Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets

Mackinac – Our Famous Island

The Mackinac Arts Council presents Mackinac – Our Famous Island in the Center for the Arts at Mission Point every Sunday May 2 – October 24. Admission is free. #thisismackinac

About the documentary: Detroit Public TV and Mackinac State Historic Parks takes viewers to Mackinac – Our Famous Island along its many shores and trails to experience the natural beauty of the island, visit landmarks that reveal its earliest history and introduce the people who still work to preserve this special place. There is far more to this sacred island than horses and fudge, and DPTV cameras capture the landscape and beauty while connecting us to the diverse communities and people who have been stewards of Mackinac Island throughout its history.

Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival

The first ever Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival will be held in Marquette Park throughout the month of August. Two classic Shakespeare plays will be presented – with a twist! The festival will feature Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, but both shows will be done with only five actors. All performances are presented by the Starling Shakespeare Co. and are free.

Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival

The first ever Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival will be held in Marquette Park throughout the month of August. Two classic Shakespeare plays will be presented – with a twist! The festival will feature Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, but both shows will be done with only five actors. All performances are presented by the Starling Shakespeare Co. and are free.

Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival

The first ever Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival will be held in Marquette Park throughout the month of August. Two classic Shakespeare plays will be presented – with a twist! The festival will feature Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, but both shows will be done with only five actors. All performances are presented by the Starling Shakespeare Co. and are free.

Music in the Park, Presented by Mackinac Arts Council

From the Arts Council: “With a spectacular backdrop, our summer concert series takes place on the lawn of a National Historic Landmark, Marquette Park, which is at the foothills of Historic Fort Mackinac downtown across from the marina. Bring a picnic and tune in for some great live folk, rock, country, blues—the best of Americana. All concerts are free. We recommend bringing a blanket or lawn chairs for your comfort.”

Schedule of artists:
July 1 – Mackinac’s Got Talent!
July 8 – Olivia Dear
July 15 – Rachel Davis (with Chimney Rock)
July 22 – The Pistil Whips
July 29 – The Accidentals (with Gabi June)
August 5 – E Minor
August 12 – The Ark Band
August 19 – Mackinac’s Got Talent! Finals
August 26 – Kari Lynch
September 2 – Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets

Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival

The first ever Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival will be held in Marquette Park throughout the month of August. Two classic Shakespeare plays will be presented – with a twist! The festival will feature Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, but both shows will be done with only five actors. All performances are presented by the Starling Shakespeare Co. and are free.