Document Type


Publication Date


Archaeological Report Number



Between 2-19 Jun 86, a team of researchers from Western Michigan University conducted a reconnaissance level survey of a 63.5 km2 transect across the St. Joseph River Valley in Leonidas and Colon Townships, St. Joseph County, Michigan. They gained access to 77 parcels of farmland affording good to excellent surface visibility and aggregating 15.3 km 2 , or 24% of the entire study area. In the process, 87 new archaeological sites were located and recorded; another three sites were recorded on the basis of documentary evidence reviewed during the course of the project.

For each of 16 sampling strata evaluated, at least one site attributable to Amerindian occupation was recorded. However, the data on site distribution in the study area show a pronounced tendency for the more impressive sites to concentrate along the course of the St. Joseph, especially near the confluence of Nottawa Creek with the river, and to a lesser extend along the lower reaches of this feeder stream and overlooking Long Lake through which another major tributary, Swan Creek, passes as it flows toward its confluence with the St. Joseph River.

In the report which follows, the survey area is briefly described, previously recorded sites are discussed, the research design employed in this survey is outlined, and the results of our efforts are fully presented. The report concludes with comparisons of the data set derived from the 1986 SJVA-I transect with those acquired during similar programs of research in the nearby drainages of the Middle Kalamazoo and Portage Rivers, together with some general statements about the implications of these data for Amerindian subsistence settlement behavior in this area of southwest Michigan.

In our recommendations regarding management of archaeological resources in this apparently very rich zone, we mention that as many as 10 sites recorded by the survey team in 1986 may warrant evaluation of their eligibility For listing in the National Register of Historic Places; note our current plans to conduct Phase II investigations at two of these sites in the upcoming field season, with grant support From the Historic Preservation Grant Program administered through the Bureau of History, Michigan Department of State; and comment on the cooperative attitude of area landowners and how good communications between professional archaeologists and property owners in the study area will greatly Facilitate management efforts with respect to the resources as well as make possible future research oriented toward mare intensive evaluation of potentially significant sites in this universe.