Summer Island Site

Summer Island Site

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

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Northwest side of Summer Island, Michigan[2]

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[3] 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]


1 Site Description
2 Archaeological history
3 Cultural history
4 References
5 Further reading
6 External links

Site Description[edit]
The site lies in a sandy meadow about 20 feet above Summer Harbor on the northwest side of the island,[3] and about “125 feet inland from the best canoe landing area in the entire bay.”[4] At the time it was first excavated, cultural material was evident on the surface of the site.
Archaeological history[edit]
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.[5] The site was first excavated by George I. Quimby in 1959.[6] 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.[3]
Cultural history[edit]
The site was most likely utilized by a number of different cultures.[4] The earliest occupiers were likely Middle Woodland period peoples.[4] Based on distinctive pottery associated with different residences, it is likely these people had patrilocal residences.[7] A later part of the Summer Island site included hearths, a storage pit, and waste pits, and has been ascribed Upper Mississippian culture[6] and Late Woodland period peoples.[4] The inhabitants of the site likely occupied it in the late summer, and ate a variety of game, including mammals (moose and beaver),[4] fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.[6] 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.[7]
A small fishing village of European settlers, believed to be associated with the fishin