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The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project enjoyed another successful year conducting fieldwork, analysis, publication, public education, and outreach as we gain a better understanding of the fur trade and colonialism in southwest Michigan and engage the community in the process. Members of the project team continue to work with students, faculty, volunteers, and other stakeholders in our efforts to recover the history and culture of Fort St. Joseph in Niles, MI. This past year (September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2011) witnessed the expansion of many proven aspects of the project, along with the addition of new activities to promote the project and involve increasing numbers of people. Here are some of the year’s highlights.

  • The project was the winner of the prestigious Archaeological Institute of America’s first Education Outreach Contest
  • A new blog was initiated to keep our followers abreast of findings and activities associated with the project (
  • The third annual summer lecture series was devoted to the theme of the open house which focused on “The Archaeology and History of the Fur Trade”
  • A grant of $10,175 was received from the Michigan Humanities Council to support our annual open house
  • Students and staff were recruited from distant states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, and Missouri, testifying to the national visibility of the project
  • Mayor McCauslin, Provost Greene, and Dean Enyedi visited the site during our annual media day
  • The first Volunteer of the Year for service to the project was recognized.
  • Summer camps were overenrolled with 35 students, teachers, and life-long learners participating over three weeks.
  • The second annual issue of the Fort St. Joseph Post newsletter was distributed.
  • We were awarded a grant for $9,605 from Digital Antiquity to upload, store, and make accessible digital documents associated with Fort St. Joseph
  • We identified another stone fireplace in our excavation, representing a new structure
  • The open house again attracted nearly two thousand visitors, bringing the total number to over ten thousand since the event began in 2006.