Nordhouse Dunes - Passport in Time

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Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Cultural Resource Eligibility Assessments

Huron-Manistee National Forest, Michigan, 2017
by Russell Snyder, Forest Archaeologist
Week 1
Week 2
The Huron-Manistee National Forests successfully wrapped up the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Site Assessments Passport-In-Time project.   The thirteen PIT volunteers got in a lot of hiking, metal detection, shovel and auger testing and unit excavation on four presettlement-precontact archaeological sites and five historic archaeological sites scattered across the wilderness. In addition, two pre-settlement/precontact sites were relocated, confirming their locations in the sand dunes. We were able to confirm that we had one historic logging camp and one homestead.  The other three historic sites were determined to be a circa 1940 hunting camp, a barrow pit and target practice location, and components of a railroad grade.  Of the pre-settlement/precontact sites relocated and tested, we secured a wonderful pottery sherd that narrowed the site to the Middle Woodland period (A.D. 1-500).  The drifting dune sands and near inaccessibility made locating and assessing the pre-settlement/precontact sites difficult since we could not identify specific artifacts, locate diagnostic artifacts, or define a consistent soil horizon.  

The PIT Volunteers were shown how to identify the endangered pitcher’s thistle and its invasive counterpart spotted knapweed, and we were invited to help remove the spotted knapweed when we came across it.  On the last Thursday of each session, everyone contributed to a pot-luck dinner. Everyone had a good time and the weather was very nice to almost too warm.  The Huron-Manistee National Forests wish our PIT Volunteers a hearty “Thank you” for your time and efforts!
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