The End of Excavations and Tours

Brandon (in yellow) and myself discussing our work with visitors to the site.

The last weekend means the end to field work and tours. It was our last open house to the public and over 400 people visited us. Pretty amazing when you think of it. Keweenaw county has just over 2,000 people in it (though in the summer than number increases), and yet nearly a fifth of that number visited the site in two days!

Having 200 people a day make their over to where you are working can be a bit hectic to say the least. There are always loose ends that need tying at the end of an excavation, and having to manage visitors and get everything done can (for me) be a frustrating experience. The idea of the Cliff Mine Archaeology Project is to include the public in our work. We want others to share in our findings, but at the same time work has to get done in order for us to be able to share it with you.

So in between visits from tourists (we had between 20-30 every hour), the students and I continued working on drawings of the excavations. I’ll be posting the large overview pencil drawings shortly, followed by the digital versions created with Adobe Illustrator.

At the end of Sunday we were expecting to backfill the excavations. It turned out that the level of interest that day prevented us from being able to do this. We decided to hold off for another week so I could both continue with drawings (if necessary) during the week as well as show a few more people (such as the Keweenaw National Historic Park and their Advisory Commission-an upcoming post) the site and works. Backfilling was postponed until the following Saturday.

On a side note I wanted to say one thing about the blog. One of the reasons the blog posts were always weeks behind the actual field work was due to there just being too much work going on. At the end of the day I rarely had the time, patience or interest to spend another 30 minutes blogging about what I just spent the last 10 hours doing. I wrote as time allowed, which in the end made for a 3-plus week discrepancy between work and writing, but overall I think it was beneficial since I was able to write a lot more details than if I had just summed up each day as it happened. This approach also allowed me to better organize the days/weeks events chronologically and thematically. I hope you all enjoyed the longer write-ups. Next year I may try the same-time approach and then add more details after the field work is over. We shall see.


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About Sean Gohman

Currently a PhD Degree seeking student in the Michigan Tech University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

3 responses to “The End of Excavations and Tours”

  1. Mary Schwoppe says :

    Keweenaw has 2,000 now, and Clifton in 1861, had more than 1,500 souls according to Monet. And in 1910, there was a population boom of 32,845 in the Calumet/Laurium district. Very hard to believe!! Oh, to imagine the good times!

  2. Joe Dancy says :

    Thanks for taking the time to write the posts, they were interesting. From your comments I take it you will be going back next year for more?

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