Anthropology Field Studies

NMU Archaeological Field School - Coming up in Summer 2016, Beaver Island, MI

AN355 - The Seminar in Archaeological Field Methods/Summer Archaeology Field School will be offered again this summer on Beaver Island, Lake Michigan. This is a 6-credit, 4-week course that includes daily field work and evening lab work. While the exact dates and specific archaeological sites are pending, it looks like we will be heading out on the ferry from Charlevoix to the island on May 22nd, and concluding the field school on June 18th. 

See photos of the NMU Archaeological Field School – Summer 2014 Beaver Island

Beaver Island Archaeological Drone Survey Project: To assist with documenting archaeological sites, with the preparation of more accurate maps, and with relocating former structures, foundations and features we have employed the use of a Phantom II drone outfitted with a Zenhause Gimbal and a Go-Pro Hero 3 digital camera. Below are examples of an aerial views of one of our sites behind the former Mormon Print Shop (currently the Beaver Island Historical Society). The image to the right is an early aerial photograph (ca. 1940) that shows the same area. We compared these images to determine the location of foundations and other early structures. Subsequent ground-truthing proved successful and features were relocated. For an example of a drone flyover video go to:

For a music video/photo review of summer field schools (2010, 2012, and 2014) go to:

Check out our NMU Archaeology Facebook page:

Anthropology Faculty Fieldwork Update

2012 and 2014. Beaver Island - Mormon Print Shop & île de Castor Site. Test excavations occurred behind the old Mormon Print Shop (current home of the Beaver Island Historical Society) during the summer archaeology field school (2012); artifact analysis is underway from this multi-component site. Beneath the historic layers was an occupation horizon from the Late Woodland Period (ca. A.D. 900-1100), complete with pottery, stone tools, cultural features filled with fish bones, charred sand cherry fruit, and butchered beaver. This may have been a late summer or fall beaver hide processing station. Radiocarbon dates from two pieces of charcoal associated with pottery came in at 925 +/- 15 BP (ca. AD 1025) and 840 +/- 15 BP (ca. AD 1110).

2010. Beaver Island - Cable's Bay Fishing Village. Survey and test excavations took place at this coastal site during the NMU summer 2010 archaeology field school and during the summer of 2011; artifact analysis continues. Research and results of analyses were exhibited in "Scattered To The Winds - The Vanished Community of Cable's Bay" which ran from April to September of 2012 at the Beaumier UP Heritage Center on NMU's campus. Portions of this collection may be exhibited at the Beaver Island Historical Society in the future.

2010. Beaver Island - Burke Farm. Survey and test excavations took place at the Mormon and Irish farmstead during the NMU summer 2010 archaeology field school; artifact analysis continues.

Chicago Lakefront Archaeology Project – historic artifact analysis from excavations along the lakefront (ca. 1904-1921); analysis and preparation of publication continues.

Traditional Cultural Use Study - Blackfeet and Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and National Elk Reserve

Mormon Mountains Cultural Landscape Study - Recently, Professor Alex Ruuska was awarded a two-year grant to study linkages between the oral histories of Southern Paiute, Western Shoshone and Goshute communities with rock art of the Great Basin. The fieldwork component of this study will be conducted during summer and outstanding students may be selected to participate in this research.