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Archaeologists find two artifacts at Colonial Michilimackinac

Hayley Harding
The Detroit News

Archaeologists say they've found two artifacts at Colonial Michilimackinac two weeks into a seasonal dig.

 A piece discovered in May is part of a red earthenware bowl, said Lynn Evans, Mackinac State Historic Parks curator of archaeology, in a news release Thursday.

"It appears to have been glazed, but we won’t know for certain until we can clean it in the lab," Evans said. "The base is 2.5” in diameter. It was probably discarded during the move to Mackinac Island in 1781.”

Another artifact was found Thursday at the site, which dates to 1779, on the shore of the Straits of Mackinac.

“We had a great find come out of the Southeast Cellar,” Evans said in the release. “It is a one-ounce brass weight marked with a crown over GR, for the king. It was used with a balance-type scale.”

A piece of a red earthenware bowl, from the east wall of the southeast cellar of a site at Colonial Michilimackinac.

Archeologists have been working at Colonial Michilimackinac since 1959, when the Mackinac Island State Parks Commission hired Michigan State University to excavate the site for pieces from the site's original residents and structures. The project is one of the longest running of its kind, according to the state historic parks' website. It has moved from inside the fort's original walls over the decades to, most recently, a series of row houses.

More than 1 million pieces have been uncovered, according to the Mackinac State Historic Parks' website.

In the past, archaeologists have found sleeve buttons, a lead seal from between 1717 and 1769, what may be a structural post from the original 1715 fort and more, according to a news release.

Every year, more is uncovered as "sections of the walls of the excavation collapse over the winter," Evans said in the release. Pieces, like the red earthenware bowl, can come out of the wall. 

Visitors can see the excavations during the summer season, weather permitting.

Twitter: @Hayley__Harding