Campers dig out a pit during a week of excavation work at Fort St. Joseph in 2012. Applications are now being taken for participation in this year’s camps. Submitted photo
Campers dig out a pit during a week of excavation work at Fort St. Joseph in 2012. Applications are now being taken for participation in this year’s camps.
Submitted photo

Archived Story

Unearth the past during Fort St. Joseph excavation camp

Published 11:00am Friday, March 8, 2013

Much history remains to be uncovered at historic Fort St. Joseph in Niles.

Thanks to a partnership between Western Michigan University and the Fort St. Joseph Museum, you could play a role in unearthing a piece of history.

Fort St. Joseph Museum and WMU are inviting members of the public to join in for a week of excavations at the site of Fort St. Joseph during the 2013 Field School in Historical Archaeology.

“It will give people a really good taste of what it means to be an archaeologist,” said Carol Bainbridge, Fort St. Joseph Museum director.

During each camp, participants will be given the opportunity to research the history of Fort St. Joseph — a unique former missionary and trading post that has, at various points in time, been under the control of the French, British, Spanish and United States. In addition to participating directly in the archaeological excavations, campers will be exposed to the many aspects of what it means to be an archaeologist, from working in the lab to drawing conclusions about the people that once inhabited a site.

Past digs have uncovered religious artifacts, gun parts, sewing items and beads, to name a few things.

“All these things tell you about the life of the people that were here at the time,” Bainbridge said.

The camp for students grades 6-9 will be held July 22-26. The fee for this camp is $150.

The camp for adults (ages 16 plus) will be held July 29-Aug. The fee for this camp is $150.

The camp for teachers and other professionals wishing to earn State Board-Continuing Education Units (SB-CEU’s) from WMU will be held Aug. 5-9. The fee for the SB-CEU camp is $165. The credits are accepted in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

The camp for those wishing to earn three graduate credits from Western Michigan University will be held Aug. 5-9. To register, or for more information, contact Marilyn Shriver at the Western Michigan University Office of Lifelong Learning: marilyn.shriver@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4174.

Enrollment in each camp is limited to 10. Review of applications will begin June 1. Applicants will be notified of their status by June 8 or until the camps are filled. Applications for all camps except the WMU graduate credit camp are available at the Fort St. Joseph Museum website: www.fortstjosephmuseum.org.

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