Negaunee, Mich – Over the last few years, Negaunee residents probably gotten used to new construction projects around the city.
But little do they know, a different kind of project is occurring in their backyard.
Off County Road 480, Jim Paquette and his team are digging for fossils and remnants of the city’s past.
And “X” didn’t mark the spot where Paquette chose to dig.
“Originally, I was able to locate this area as some place that was promising based on maps while I was doing research for Northern Michigan University at the time. I located some maps that were drawn up in the early 1840s when the original surveyors came through here and surveyed the township lines,” Paquette said. “And one of the things they drew in on these maps was a trail that went from the Marquette Area on Lake Superior to here, to right to this exact spot.”
Digging may seem simple enough, but an archaeological dig is a process that takes planning and organization.
Paquette and his team form a box around the area using string.
Then they take measurements of the box and divide the earth into squares.
The squares are then labeled on a paper grid to identify the ones where objects are found.
The soil of each square is then sifted through a screen, making it easier to find fossils or other remnants.
So far, fossils, a bone from a moose, quartzite and beads have been found on the site.
Some of the items found on the site date back thousands of years.
“People have lived here forever. ever since the end of the Ice Age. Some of the artifacts here, date back 10 to 12 thousand years ago. So people have always been here. So we were able to date the site based upon the beads,” Paquette said. “We found 50 trade beads on this site and the beads date back to pre 1650. Some of the trade beads date back to pre 1600.”
Paquette’s findings will be donated to the Marquette Regional History Center.
He also felt it was important to thank Cleveland Cliffs Inc for making the dig-site possible.