Summer Island Site
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
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Northwest side of Summer Island, Michigan
45°34′0″N 86°38′0″W / 45.56667°N 86.63333°W / 45.56667; -86.63333Coordinates: 45°34′0″N 86°38′0″W / 45.56667°N 86.63333°W / 45.56667; -86.63333
3 acres (1.2 ha)
NRHP Reference #
Added to NRHP
September 3, 1971
The Summer Island Site, designated 20DE4, is an archaeological site located on the northwest side of Summer Island, Michigan. It was once used as a village or hunting camp. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
1 Site Description
2 Archaeological history
3 Cultural history
5 Further reading
6 External links
The site lies in a sandy meadow about 20 feet above Summer Harbor on the northwest side of the island, and about “125 feet inland from the best canoe landing area in the entire bay.” At the time it was first excavated, cultural material was evident on the surface of the site.
The location of the Summer Island site was known to archaeologists at least as early as 1931, when Wilbert B. Hinsdale included it in his Archaeological atlas of Michigan. The site was first excavated by George I. Quimby in 1959. Quimby was able to collect material from the surface, and dug some test pits, finding pot sherds and animal bones. David S. Brose continued excavating the site in 1967.
The site was most likely utilized by a number of different cultures. The earliest occupiers were likely Middle Woodland period peoples. Based on distinctive pottery associated with different residences, it is likely these people had patrilocal residences. A later part of the Summer Island site included hearths, a storage pit, and waste pits, and has been ascribed Upper Mississippian culture and Late Woodland period peoples. The inhabitants of the site likely occupied it in the late summer, and ate a variety of game, including mammals (moose and beaver), fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The final occupiers had early French trade goods, indicating they likely used the site around 1620; they used the site as a late summer hunting camp.
A small fishing village of European settlers, believed to be associated with the fishin