During late September, 1989, and again in mid-October, personnel from the Midwest Archeological Center conducted archeological investigations at Grand Portage National Monument. Those efforts were precipitated by the planned installation of a new drainage system within the reconstructed fur trade Depot. That drain would function to remove ground water from two replicated structures inside the Depot, namely, the Kitchen and the Great Hall.
Prior to installation of the drain, seven test units were excavated in a controlled manner along the proposed alignment. Investigations at that time concentrated on an area presumed to be the location of an eighteenth-century structure that was partially excavated in 1936. Other excavations were carried out in areas that were then archeologically unknown in order to determine whether any intact cultural resources might be present at those locations.
The efforts of late September failed to find any surviving evidence of a fur trade structure, or any other significant resources, within the drainage path. Deposits were found, however, that represent a circa 1920 fox farm that is known to have operated on this land before the Depot was reconstructed. Although potentially of interest, the archeological integrity of those deposits is dubious.
Later, during the week of October 16, the author monitored actual installation of the drainage line. All excavation related to that development was observed in order to guard against any possible damage to cultural resources in areas not examined prior to construction. No intact deposits were encountered in the course of those activities.
Last Updated: 15-Jul-2009