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Reissue of The Cliff: America’s First Great Copper Mine, now available. And a new blog.

This is actually old news now but I realized I forgot to post something here. I don’t update this blog anymore, so it slipped my mind. If have set up a new personal blog, The Industrious Archaeologist blog at (that still covers/will cover a lot on Cliff) for anyone interested in following along. It’s […]

2014 Student Blog Post #3: Alexander Whydell

My name is Alexander and I’ve just completed my first year of my undergraduate studies at Michigan Technological University. I’m excited to learn about archaeology and was glad I could enroll in the field school without having taken too many required intro courses first. Like others on the research crew, I’ve spent the first few […]

Visualizing the map in progress, 2010-2014

The vast majority of data was collected in 2010 and 2012, as those were years where primary focus was on mapping Cliff and Clifton, respectively. In 2011, 2013, and this year, mapping is secondary, though what has been mapped has filled in the edges somewhat. The 2014 season is not over, and the focus is […]

What was (and is now) the ‘Function/Use’ of the Cliff?

So the property has a classification and (at some point) will have a hard number of contributing and non-contributing resources that go into that will help support its nomination… and in this next step, the assignment of past and current Functions/Uses. It’s important to list what a property’s current state of use (or function) in […]

The Classification of the Cliff Property

So now we’re getting into the nuts and bolts of the National Register Nomination forms. It’s the part of the process that is very important in terms of how the property will be viewed by potential owners/caretakers from now on. Again, this step in the process is seemingly simple and straightforward, but in reality it […]

Temporal Boundaries

So the physical boundaries of the Cliff Mine nominated property have been defined. But what of the time period of significance? This determination is important for considerations of future management, as well as refining the scope of possible narratives about the site useful for future funding (grants, for instance). For starters, a nominated property must […]

First Things First: Defining Boundaries

For the majority of National Register nominated properties, defining a boundary isn’t too difficult. The historic home is defined by it’s lot (unless it’s just one of several historic homes—then perhaps the entire block/neighborhood). Same goes for most other architectural resources. But what of a landscape? Is it enough to only include a 100 year […]

Final Open House Weekend for 2013

Hello all- This weekend is the final open house for the 2013 field season.  We will have lots going on at the site, even though the rain has kept our excavation units flooded by the high water table. We are trying to finish the excavation of four trenches, all of which visitors can see when […]

Prepared for your visit to the Cliff?

If you’ve never been to the site before, or you are a new reader of the blog, you may not know that we’ve posted some videos to YouTube over the past few years.  I’m reposting this video that Mark Dice completed in 2010!

Mark made this video before we had started any excavations at the site, but it still serves as a great introduction for those planning a visit. It answers questions like, “where is the nearest toilet?” and “what might I see?”

The weather will be spotty- but it looks good for the morning with thunderstorms developing in the afternoon.  We will watch the NEXRAD radar to keep an eye on things.  Thunderstorms create unsafe conditions, as do high winds, so we will be out working and hosting guests today, unless strong storms drive us away!

Two Rainy Days

The past two days have been pretty rainy. The research team has excavated down to the water table, so the deepest trenches start to fill up with water when we’ve had rain, so we couldn’t get much done in the field. As a result, we’ve spent two days working in the lab, having lectures and […]