Hike explores Marquette’s earliest inhabitants

Mount Marquette was originally known as Mount Mesnard, and people had the chance to learn about the first settlers in that area Thursday night.

Around 50 people gathered at the base of Mount Marquette for a hike along the Carp River Valley.  On the 1.6 mile hike, people saw old foundations, learned the geology of the area, and saw a prehistoric site atop a large deposit of quartzite.

“It’s a site that dates back over 5,000 years to when people were living here in what is now today this valley,” local archaeologist Jim Paquette said. “This land form here was actually underwater because the bay from the great lake [Lake Nipissing] extended all the way in to where the Carp River comes out over the hills over here.”

“And those people that were living here back then were doing the same thing that the people who came after the brownstone and the quartzite and those things because they were here quarrying the quartzite to use for their stone tools.”

Paquette said it is important to remember that while Marquette County has a rich mining history, people have lived in the area for thousands of years, and those sites need to be preserved.

“There’s a lot of things here we don’t even know what they are yet. No one’s investigated them,” he said. “But some of the things that we have–and what we have found, the archaeological evidence that we find here is just rich. And it tells us again that it’s something that’s got to be important to us as people. You have to preserve those things.”

The late Dr. John Anderton, who extensively studied the Carp River area and passed way this winter, was honored before the hike.

The event was also a fundraiser for the Marquette Regional History Center.  A list of upcoming events at the MRHC can be found on its website.