Digging up a bit of history

Rocks, ants, grubs and dirt. Lots and lots of dirt.

In honor of National Archeology Day, SC4 hosted its first exploratory excavation on Saturday, Oct.22, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the field between the Fine Arts Building and the Citizens First Michigan Technical Education Center on the SC4 campus.

In what used to be a residential neighborhood in the nineteenth century, the dig targeted the area in hopes of finding the foundation of a residence, as well as artifacts that would give not only insight into life during this time, but also of the progression from the residential area into today’s SC4 campus.

Upper left: William Pilkey, of Memphis, measures some findings. Upper middle: Nicholas Brier, 13 of Fort Gratiot (left) Pilkey (right) remove dirt surrounding an artifact. Upper right: SC4 Professor Robert Richardson, of Fort Gratiot, records findings. Middle left:  One of the artifacts believed to be a tile fragment. Middle: Pilkey and Brier sort through dirt. Middle right: Recovered 1960 toy motorcycle. Bottom left: Pilkey and Richardson uncover a large stone. Bottom middle: Michael Walling, 12 of Fort Gratiot, Brier, and Pilkey dig in their unit. Bottom right: Excavation volunteer removes dirt around a finding. Artifacts surrounding middle: Fragment of a ceramic doll, undated coin found during excavation, various recovered unidentified fragments, and ceramic fragment believed to be a part of cookware.  Illustration by Liz Whittemore, photos by Twana Pinskey and Liz Whittemore

Upper left: William Pilkey, of Memphis, measures some findings. Upper middle: Nicholas Brier, 13 of Fort Gratiot (left) Pilkey (right) remove dirt surrounding an artifact. Upper right: SC4 Professor Robert Richardson, of Fort Gratiot, records findings. Middle left: One of the artifacts believed to be a tile fragment. Middle: Pilkey and Brier sort through dirt. Middle right: Recovered 1960 toy motorcycle. Bottom left: Pilkey and Richardson uncover a large stone. Bottom middle: Michael Walling, 12 of Fort Gratiot, Brier, and Pilkey dig in their unit. Bottom right: Excavation volunteer removes dirt around a finding. Artifacts surrounding middle: Fragment of a ceramic doll, undated coin found during excavation, various recovered unidentified fragments, and ceramic fragment believed to be a part of cookware. Illustration by Liz Whittemore, photos by Twana Pinskey and Liz Whittemore

“Part of my goal is to not only find out data about the college’s past, but to also do some education to teach people about archeology and how science works,” said SC4 Professor Robert Richardson.

Led by SC4 faculty from a mixture of departments, the excavation intended to increase appreciation and knowledge of archeology and our local history. Both SC4 students and the public were welcome to attend and participate.

“One of the things that archeology is trying to get at is to study the lives of people who came before us, and so that makes it a very mutual thing,” said Richardson.

Multiple items were found, among them being a pipe, coal fragments, a toy matchbox motorcycle that was only produced in 1960, pieces of brick and mortar, brown bottle glass, and ceramics with transfer printing that date back to the late nineteenth century.

“The cemetery’s across Glenwood. We won’t find a body here,” said Richardson.

For information on future digs, you can contact Professor Richardson at rrichardson @sc4.edu or on his office phone at (810) 989-5613. Email is the preferred method of contact.

“This is the first annual event and I’m hoping that we generate enough enthusiasm and interest that we can continue to have archeology here on campus and throughout the Blue Water area,” said Richardson.

Liz Whittemore

Photo Editor


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