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Summer archaeology camp at Fort St. Joseph

May 11, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University archaeologists are making history come alive at the site of Fort St. Joseph in Niles, Mich., with camp offerings in July for middle school students, educators and other interested adults.

Fort St. Joseph summer programs
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Signup is under way for three summer camps that will offer hands-on training and learning at the premier public archaeology program in the Midwest. Teachers can earn Continuing Education Unit credit as certified by the State Board of Education or graduate credits for their participation.

Program options

  • Adult non-credit program, July 13-17
  • Program for junior high school students in grades six through nine, July 20-24
  • Program for educators, including teachers, principals, librarians and aides, July 27-31

The field school will take place on the east side of the St. Joseph River, south of Riverfront Park in Niles in an area with artifacts associated with Native American and early European settlement. Each five-day program will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Availability is limited to 10 students each week, and admittance is at the discretion of the project director. There is a fee of $125 to cover all expenses associated with the program except for lunch.

Scholarships, Continuing Education Certificates and credit hours are available. The review of applications will begin June 8, and candidates will be notified of their acceptance by June 15 or until the program is filled.

History of Fort St. Joseph

Fort St. Joseph was located in a strategic setting along the St. Joseph River and was one of the most important 18th-century outposts in the entire Western Great Lakes region. From 1691 to 1781, this mission-garrison-trading post complex served as a hub of commercial, military and religious activity for the French and native inhabitants. During those years, the fort was under the authority of the French, English and, very briefly, the Spanish.

This complex archaeological site will require many years of study to fully understand. WMU has recently signed a 10-year agreement with the City of Niles to continue exploring the site, examining the artifacts and interpreting the lives of the people who inhabited this settlement on the edge of the French empire.

The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project was initiated in 1998 by WMU in partnership with the Support the Fort community organization, the City of Niles and the Fort St. Joseph Museum. From the beginning, students and the community members have been involved in the investigation and interpretation of the archaeological remains uncovered at the Niles site.

Both undergraduate and graduate students from WMU are enrolled in the Department of Anthropology's archaeological field school this summer, which is now in its 34th year.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

WMU News
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Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
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