People are often surprised to learn that Michigan has a rich archaeological record of more than 11,000 years of human occupation. The Saginaw Valley is an important source of information about these early residents who left an extensive and varied record of their presence.
The archaeological record in Michigan is revealed through careful excavation of archaeological sites–places where people lived, worked, rested or conducted activity that left some observable trace. The archaeological record consists of fragments of tools and pottery, animal bones and seeds and patterns in the soil marking the location of fire hearths, storage pits and post molds. These bits of data may have a humble appearance but they are a treasure trove of real information. Archaeologists use this information to reconstruct the life ways of Michigan’s early inhabitants and reveal how they adapted to a changing environment.