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Archaeologists unearth a unique artifact at Fort Michilimackinac: a pocket knife

an old pocketknife found at Fort Michilimackinac
Mackinac State Historic Parks

Archaeologists at Fort Michilimackinac uncovered a unique artifact from an archaeological site over the holiday weekend: a pocket knife found in the root cellar of a fur trader’s house.

Dr. Lynn Evans is the curator of archaeology for Mackinac State Historic Parks.

“We’re excavating a fur traders house and it has two root cellars and by the posts of one of the root cellars we found a pocket knife, at the time they were known as clasp knives. And that's very exciting because we rarely find things that are whole and intact,” she said.

Evans said because the knife is completely intact, it will help in determining its age.

“It's got a very distinctive angle to the blade and I think that that might be useful and if we can date it or if we can at least tell if it is a French knife or English knife, that will better help us understand the sequence of sellers in this house,” she said.

Fort Michilimackinac is a reconstructed 18th-century fort and fur-trading village in Mackinaw City. More than a million artifacts have been pulled from Colonial Michilimackinac over the last 60 years.

Visitors can watch archaeology in progress there every day from mid-June to late August.

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