Join our Membership... Annual membership participation in the FSJ Project assists with transporting and housing students, maintaining field equipment, providing students with public outreach opportunities through the Project’s annual Open House event, and defraying the cost of the excavations.
Annual Membership Levels Friend $1 - $99 Voyageur $100 - $249 Explorer $250 - $499 Commandant $500 - $9,999 Lifetime Member $10,000+ My gift is to be paid via: _____ Check (payable to WMU FDN: Fort St. Joseph) _____ Credit card (check one) ____Mastercard ____Visa Account #:____________________________________ Expiration Date:_______________________________ Verification Code:______________________________ Signature (required):____________________________ Name:________________________________________ Phone Number: (_____)__________________________ Address:_______________________________________ City__________________________________________ State, Zip______________________________________ Email_________________________________________ ____Please contact me about my giving plans.
Please complete this form and return to: Western Michigan University, Gift Processing 1903 W. Michigan Ave. Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5403
Public Archaeology To make archaeology more accessible to the community, the project has a very active public outreach and education program. Each year, week-long summer camps are offered giving campers the opportunity to “dig in the trenches” alongside the archaeologists as they uncover the history of Fort St. Joseph. They are taught basic excavation skills, fort history, and how this history has had an impact on the local community. More than 125 middle and high school students, lifelong learners, and educators have participated since the program’s inception. An annual public lecture series began in 2009 to share information about the fort and New France. Past speakers include chair of the Department of History at WMU, Dr. José Brandão; Principal Investigator, Dr. Michael Nassaney; and State Archaeologist, Dr. Dean Anderson. The popular presentations give the public the chance to meet with the speakers and discuss issues of mutual interest.
The annual open house is held over a weekend in early August. The event gives the community the chance to learn from scholars, interact with historical re-enactors portraying life during the time of the fort’s occupation, see newly uncovered artifacts in the outdoor museum, and experience the history of the fort. Educational panels throughout the open house area provide guests with information on the year’s chosen theme. Activities for children make the event memorable for people of all ages. • The 2012 Open House will be August 11-12 (Theme: The military at Fort St. Joseph) • The 2013 Open House will be August 10-11 (Theme: TBA)
For more information, please contact: Michael S. Nassaney, Ph.D. Principal Investigator Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project Department of Anthropology 1014 Moore Hall 1903 W. Michigan Ave. Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5306 Phone: 269-387-3981 Fax: 269-387-3970 e-mail: Nassaney@wmich.edu
Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project
Fort History Fort St. Joseph was established in 1691 along the St. Joseph River near a strategic portage en route to the Mississippi River, making it an important link in the chain of similar European settlements in the western Great Lakes region. The fort served as an important French mission, trading post, and garrison, where the exchange of goods as well as ideas between the French and Native Americans led to the creation of new cultures and identities. It eventually fell into the hands of the British—and for 24 hours the Spanish—but after 1781 was abandoned and ultimately disappeared.
Recent Project Outcomes • The third annual lecture series was organized in cooperation with the Niles District Library during the 2011 field season and focused on the theme of the fur trade. • The 2011 summer camps gave 35 participants the opportunity to experience archaeology for themselves.
Project History The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project began in 1998 when a local history group called Support the Fort contacted Western Michigan University (WMU) in hopes of finding Fort St. Joseph. In partnership with the City of Niles and the Fort St. Joseph Museum, the search resulted in direct evidence of the fort’s location just south of presentday downtown Niles. Over the years, WMU archaeologists returned to the site periodically until 2006, when annual excavations began. WMU students enrolled in the Department of Anthropology’s annual archaeological field school and local volunteers are currently investigating the site. Community involvement enhances our understanding of the 18th century fur trade and the people who participated in it, and allows local people to become involved in uncovering the history of their hometown.
• New to the 2011 field season, a weekly blog gave archaeologists the chance to share their experiences with more than 3,500 visitors from around the world. To read about the field school and some of the “behind-the-scenes” work done throughout the school year before the next field season begins, go to: http://fortstjosepharchaeology.blogspot.com. • The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project recently won the worldwide Archaeological Institute of America’s Online Excavation Outreach Contest, defeating similar public programs in the Mediterranean, South America, and the United States. See the story at: http://www. archaeological.org/news/aianews/4006.
• An article on the excavations at Fort St. Joseph as well as the site’s history appeared in the spring 2011 issue of “American Archaeology,” a magazine published by the Archaeological Conservancy. • Once again, nearly 2,000 people attended the annual Open House to learn about the fur trade through reenactments, ongoing excavations, and artifact exhibits. • A new booklet on the fur trade is currently being prepared with the support of the Michigan Humanities Council and will be distributed throughout the state later this year.
A partnership of Western Michigan University and the City of Niles