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June 4, 2004

Anthropologists to explore Grand Traverse Light station site

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A team of University of Michigan anthropologists will conduct a week-long archaeological excavation of the site of the original 1852 Grand Traverse Light state tower in Leelanau State Park near Northport.

John O'Shea, curator of the U-M Museum of Anthropology who is also a professor of anthropology, will lead a team of students through the area the week of June 7 in conjunction with the U-M Summer Field Training Institute.

The first lighthouse, built at the end of the Leelanau Peninsula and the west side of Grand Traverse Bay by order of President Millard Fillmore, was quickly deemed inadequate and replaced by a larger lighthouse in 1858. The team will confirm the exact location of the original tower, just west of the 1858 Grand Traverse Light.

The team will search for original artifacts, confirm the location of the original station-keeper's dwelling and mark the original corners for historic documentation. The team will also work with local divers to document the underwater "roadway" used to bring materials to build the original light station.

U-M team members will also identify, document and map the landing crib area, west of the Fog Signal Building, as well as parts of the Kahlenberg engine that is buried south of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum stage. Museum personnel have first-hand accounts from a former U.S. Coast Guardsman about the exact location of the engine. The team will also use metal detectors to explore all man-made dumpsites in the area looking for further historic artifacts.

For more information, contact Stefanie Staley, executive director of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum at (231) 386-7195 or gtlthse@gtii.com.
U-M's O'Shea can be reached at (734) 763-5795 or joshea@umich.edu

For more information on the lighthouse, visit:
http://www.grandtraverselighthouse.com/
http://www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/light/grandtra.htm

For more information on the U-M Museum of Anthropology, visit:
http://www.umma.lsa.umich.edu/

 

Contact: Joe Serwach
Phone: (734) 647-1844
E-mail: jserwach@umich.edu