Archaeological Report Number
Archaeological investigations of Apple Island in Orchard Lake, Oakland County, Michigan, were casually begun in the early decades of the 20th century when the owners of the centrally located Campbell family farm plowed up and then reinterred a Native American burial accompanied by a pewter bowl filled with white shell beads. 2000 and 2003 discontinuous shallow excavations conducted by local middle school students under the direction of Michael Stafford of the Cranbrook Institute of Science, yielded quantities of animal bone and a scattering of European trade goods. Stafford assigned these to a “Fur Trade” site but never fully reported on the site or its contents.
In 2008 excavations supported by the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society and the University of Detroit - Mercy, were conducted by West Bloomfield School science teachers, directed by David S. Brose. Careful stratigraphic and geomorphological analyses documented the extent of the 18th century occupation and revealed a sequence of prehistoric occupational events, overlain by up to 20 centimeters of colluvial soils overlaying the aboriginal occupation surfaces, below which intact sub-surface features such as fire-reddened hearth areas were preserved intact.
With additional support from the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society, Imprints From The Past, LLC., and Western Michigan University, test excavations were conducted by Brose in 2013 along with detailed analyses of all recovered soils, faunal remains and artifacts. These studies demonstrate that the earliest scattered evidence for human occupation occurred during theLate Woodland Period, ca. AD 1000 - 1500. The major Native American occupation took place during the summer of 1763 by perhaps 3 sets of three or four related males. Statistical analyses of archaeological distributions along with historical documents strongly suggest that these were almost certainly a war party of Pottawatomi temporarily associated with Pontiac’s siege of Fort Detroit.