Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Michael Nassaney

Second Advisor

Sharon Carlson

Third Advisor

Lynn Houghton


The Western Michigan University Archaeological Field School is a program that allows students with an interest in Anthropology or History an opportunity to participate in a learning community devoted to the practice of archaeology. Since 2002 the field school has been held regularly at the site of historic Fort St. Joseph (20BE23). During the summer field season of 2011 I was a student archaeologist at Fort St. Joseph. For my honor’s thesis I am presenting a summary of my field experience and a discussion of my findings.

The purpose of this thesis is twofold. First, I aim to provide future student archaeologists of the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project (FSJAP) with an example of how their findings can be used as evidence to create a historical picture of life at the fort. It is the goal of archaeology to create an image of the daily life of a people based on material remains found in the archaeological record.1 For most students joining the Project, it is their first experience conducting archaeology. There are many tools in place to help these students master the physical aspects of archaeology and to understand the history of the project. However, the interpretation of artifacts and features is often the hardest skill to grasp. It is my hope that this thesis will illustrate how cultural and structural materials can be interpreted to create an image of daily life.

The second goal is to determine if further excavations on the western edge of the existing excavation area of 20BE23 are justified. The goals of the Project are to examine the colonial fur trade and to discern how interactions between Europeans and Native Americans in the area influenced the lifestyles of both groups. Investigations in excavation unit N25 W9 and in the immediate vicinity have revealed a high concentration of materials that could provide answers to these questions.


Fourth advisor: Mitch Kachun

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access