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Archaeology meets genealogy at Niles dig

Published 10:23pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Isaiah Zoschke, a Western Michigan University archaeology student, works on "wet screening," a process that separates archaeological material from dirt. Zoschke was one of several WMU students at the Fort St. Joseph adult archaeology camp in Niles. (Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER)
Isaiah Zoschke, a Western Michigan University archaeology student, works on "wet screening," a process that separates archaeological material from dirt. Zoschke was one of several WMU students at the Fort St. Joseph adult archaeology camp in Niles. (Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER)

By AARON MUELLER

Niles Daily Star

Isaiah Zoschke’s trip to Niles for the Fort St. Joseph archaeology camp has been more than a history lesson about the fort and the area. It has also been a connection to his family history.

Zoschke, a Western Michigan University student, says his quintuple great-grandfather was Hezekiah Niles, whom the city of Niles was named after. Niles was the editor of the Baltimore-based national news magazine, the Niles Weekly Register. Niles also had a city in Ohio named after him.

When Zoschke first told his professor Michael Nassaney, who runs the archaeology camps, about his heritage, Nassaney thought he was joking.

“But then he called it ‘fate.’ I think he used it to rope me into coming to this,” Zoschke said with a laugh.

Zoschke recently visited the Fort St. Joseph Museum and saw a copy of the Niles Weekly Register.

“I had confirmed the history in history books,” he said. “But this confirmed it with my own eyes.”

Zoschke said it has been fun to learn more about his family history while in Niles, calling the coincidence “cosmic almost.”

More than 20 archaeology students, professors and adult campers are participating in this week’s camp at the Fort St. Joseph site. The campers spend time completing book work to learn the basics of archaeology and the history of the fort as well as participating in excavating at the site.

After the adult archaeological camp this week, there will be a camp for junior high students Aug. 2-6. Those interested in the camp can download a registration form at www.fortstjosephmuseum.org or call the museum at (269) 683-4702.

The Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Open House is slated for Aug. 14-15 at the dig, located at the intersection of Fort and Bond streets.

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  • purpleladymom

    Now that is a really cool story!!!!!

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