Science & Technology



Archaeologists find 18th century artifact at Colonial Michilimackinac

Marnie Muñoz, The Detroit News on

Published in Science & Technology News

DETROIT — Archaeologists this week made an intriguing find this week at Michigan's Colonial Michilimackinac, Mackinac State Historic Parks officials said: an 18th century brass trade ring.

Researchers with the archaeological program at the Mackinaw City museum identified the piece as a trade good sometimes known as a "Jesuit Ring," parks officials announced in a press release.

"It's incredibly exciting," Dominick Miller, chief of marketing for Mackinac State Historic Parks, told The Detroit News.

The archaeologists' latest find Tuesday was an exciting moment at the museum, where public visitors were watching the discovery next to the site, he said.

Archaeologists talked over the find and explained to visitors how significant it was, Miller added.

The research team encounters artifacts often, but the public and team were still enthusiastic about the discovery, he said.

The artifacts were originally referred to as "Jesuit rings" because people at the time associated them with Catholic missionaries to the area, which was then a thriving trade hub, Miller said.

The ring is remarkable for being in particularly good shape, he said.


Part of the joy of finding the pieces is getting the opportunity to humanize people who lived at the site before, Miller said.

Researchers found the ring among 1781 demolition rubble at House E of the museum's Southeast Rowhouse, according to the release.

A trader named Charles Henri Desjardins de Rupallay de Gonneville and another English trader once lived in the house, according to the museum website and release.

The museum features a reconstructed fort and fur trading village with costumed interpreters to immerse visitors in an historical experience.

The archaeology dig, which is at the center of the space, has been active and available to the public for observation since 1959, Miller said.

Researchers have found many other items at the site, including a lead seal dating between 1717 and 1769, a brass sleeve button, another "Jesuit" trade ring and a brass serpentine sideplate for a British trade gun, according to the release.

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