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Western Michigan University (WMU) hosted its 43rd annual archaeological field school this past July and August under the auspices of the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project. The Project is a long-term, multidisciplinary, community-based partnership between the City of Niles and WMU that investigates and interprets colonialism and the fur trade in the region.

We selected the theme “Technology Then and Now,” to focus our activities in 2019. We recognize that technology is not only important in the 21st century, but has defined humanity since our earliest ancestors crafted simple tools to assist them in their survival. Most of the archaeological remains that we recover are the products of technology, such as glass, metal, and gunflints, to name just a few examples. Archaeologists also employ technology to investigate the past. We use a sophisticated de-watering system to drain the site, a total station to record provenience, and chemical analysis to determine the composition of objects to establish their age and country of origin.

This report summarizes our field, laboratory, research, and public outreach activities over the past calendar year. We hope it provides you with a better understanding of how we use the archaeology of Fort St. Joseph to discover the past, build community, and learn more about ourselves.