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The first in a series. The second should be out in April, and focuses on the northern third of Wisconsin.
Here's some material from the beginning of the Michigan book:
This will show you at a glance the museums used in this resource manual, demonstrating how dispersed the copper artifacts area that were found in Michigan over the centuries. Source materials are in the bibliography and private collectors remain anonymous.
MUSEUM COLLECTIONS USED/REFERENCES IN TABLES
American Museum of Natural History, NYC
Delta County Historical Society, Escanaba
Detroit Historical Society
Earthaven Mineral Museum, Suring
Field Museum, Chicago
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit
Mackinac State Historic Parks
Marquette Regional History Center Museum
MacBride Hall, Iowa City
McCalester College Museum, St Paul
Menominee Co History Museum
Michigan College of Mining & Tech, Sault Ste Marie
Michigan Technological University, Houghton
Milwaukee Public Museum
Minnesota Historical Society Museum, St. Paul
Monroe County Museum System, Monroe
Museum of Nature and Science, Denver
National Museum of American Indian, DC
National Museum of Natural History, DC
Neville Public Museum, Green Bay
Peabody Museum, Harvard
Penn Museum Collections at University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Ripon Historical Society Museum, Wisconsin
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
Seaman Mineral Museum, Michigan Tech
Sloan Museum and Longway Planetarium, Flint
UM Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, Ann Arbor
University of Nevada Keck Museum
Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison
Trevelyan (2004:123): Traditional myth suggests that Native American ritual was often aimed at achieving a balance of power between spiritual entities above and below the surface of the earth. It was probably the potent association of copper with similar opposites that made it crucial in so many important ceremonial traditions – a medium in every sense of the word.
Welcome to the Michigan edition of the Copper Artifact Master Database (CAMD). It's fitting that this is the first resource manual that I release. Susan Martin (1995) noted the same issue that dragged me in: "Mysterious books with lurid symbols and tales of trans-oceanic contact fill people's minds with archaeo-illogical constructs (Sodders 1990; Sodders 1991)." I was bombarded, when I was curator at Oconto Copper Burial Museum, with Michigan people who seriously believed that copper was missing from the Lake Superior copper mines and were taken to the old world to build the Bronze Age. They believed that the natives here had help in learning to tool in copper. One of them came into my museum, studied some photos of points I had posted, nodded and said, "Yup, smelted." No professional agrees, because smelting shows a kind of bubbling in the metal; no smelting has been found in the USA. Another suggested that millions of pounds of copper were missing from Lake Superior, and decided that missing copper not only built the Bronze Age in the Old World but also that Phoenicians and others were the ones who taught natives here how to tool in copper.
I started the CAMD determined to demonstrate just how vast the trade network of the Americas was, that missing copper was all right here. I felt this database could end that debate for good. What I ended up learning defied my imagination. As Martin noted: "There is unbroken continuity in populations, based on skeletal and artifact evidence, in the Upper Great Lakes, and there is absolutely no evidence that there is anything unusual or biologically separate about the populations that lived in the Upper Great Lakes during prehistory. … This systematic and extensive research program expanded our knowledge about prehistoric pottery-using people, and turned up no evidence, anywhere, of non-native exploitation of prehistoric copper (Clark 1988; Clark 1990; Clark 1991; Martin 1988a; Martin 1988b; Martin 1990; Martin, Martin and Gregory 1994)." She was also referring to the idea that the "Mound Builders" were a separate race of people, referred to by some as "Old World" that the Indians Europeans encountered must have killed them off.
As for the ridiculous comment that copper was missing from Lake Superior region, Martin says: "The mythic calculations involve the numbers and depths of copper extraction pits, the numbers and weights of stone hammers, the percentage volume of copper per mining pit, the numbers of miners, and the years of mining duration. Ultimately, the mix of these numbers yields the alleged total amount of extracted prehistoric copper, that being in the range of 1 to 1.5 billion pounds. It's difficult to attribute this branch of mathematics to any one individual, but if there's credit to be given, it should be given first to Drier and Du Temple (Drier and Du Temple 1961) and then to a Chicago-area writer named Henrietta Mertz, who lays out her numerology proposals in a book entitled Atlantis: Dwelling Place of the Gods (Mertz 1967). In contrast, I propose that none of these numbers, save those related to the weight of the hammers, are actually knowable in an empirical sense."
One final note from Susan Martin explains why I started the CAMD: "Henriette Mertz tells it more plainly and lays culpability at the toes of the archaeological profession: "This incredible amount of copper has not been accounted for by American archaeologists ..... the sum total according to archaeological findings here in the States amounts to a mere handful of copper beads and trinkets … float copper. Five hundred thousand tons of pure copper does not disintegrate into thin air. It cannot be sneezed away … it must be somewhere, and to date, it has not been located in the United States," and "99.9% is still to be accounted for" (Mertz 1976:18). Mertz concludes, of course, that the copper was disappeared by Old World Bronze Age metal mongers.
The CAMD shows only a small percentage of where that copper is; there is still much more to be found in undocumented museums, collectors and still underground. But the amount of copper in the CAMD also defies imagination. No one expected that a collection like this could be possible. I found it not only possible, but necessary. How valid is the material can only be found if you test it. I cannot send you to the collectors, but you can contact any of the museums here to pursue your area of interest.
A note here about the tables here: I do not share any confidential material, such as what was found in burials or the specific site locations, or name of donors or private collectors who prefer to remain anonymous. These materials are shared with the hope that, if collectors have found something interesting, they'll refer to this manual to see what they have and how it fits with where it was found, and perhaps be encouraged to find a museum able to display them; museums will use the data to improve the status and nomenclature of their collections, and to create more exhibits; and researchers will take what was found in a location they're researching to learn more about that area.
Michigan is an enigma, in that it seems like it should have more copper artifacts than Wisconsin. There could be a number of reasons Wisconsin has more, but the one that comes to mind is that Michigan is farther north; it warmed later and was settled later, and there was plenty of float copper to be had in the south before the need to seek its source arose. This is corroborated by William Lovis (1979:84), when he noted that reduced Early and Middle Archaic populations in Michigan related to "the lower productivity of established boreal forests during the Early and Middle Holecene," that mammals were scarce and fish had not yet moved up into those waters. He noted arguments along these lines and set out to explore the realities of archaic populations in Upper Michigan. In his conclusion, he sees the settlement trend beginning in the Middle Archaic, especially in the Saginaw Valley. Later settlement in the Upper Peninsula (UP) indicates that copper sources and copper tooling were located in the southern distracts of the glacial path where float copper was easily accessible (Behm, WA Vol. 78 #1-2, 33). Treveylan (2004:12) said it was unlikely that they mined here year-round because of the severe winters. Lovis noted no Middle Archaic sites in the UP. David Brose (Encyclopedia of American Archaeology, 2007) doesn't reference the UP until a discussion of Late Archaic, saying that earlier populations depended on glacial drift copper, also called float, and that many sites used were seasonal. In Handbook of North American Indians (1978:40) we see "in later phases in Michigan." Referencing the map below, the glacial drift would have receded earlier in the southern portions.
Even today, a ranking of worst places for snow puts Michigan as second worst, with Wisconsin #7 and Illinois #13. Only Minnesota beat Michigan.