Archaeologists find intact rosary at Fort Michilimackinac

Archaeologists at Fort Michilimackinac have unearthed an intact rosary that is thought to be around 250 years old.

Lynn Evans, the curator of archaeology at the fort, said the rosary comes from the French Period from 1715-1761 when most of the fort’s residents would have been Catholic.

Evans said the rosary that they found is the most intact one ever found at the fort.

“We’re lucky, it’s because it’s ivory and because the links are brass those are both things that are very durable and they last very well. If it had had iron links it probably wouldn’t have survived intact. You know, we might have found all the beads together but they wouldn’t be linked together.”
She said most things archaeologists find are broken or otherwise unwanted because the fort was abandoned and destroyed by the British during the Revolutionary War.

She said she thinks this rosary may have been dropped between floorboards and lost.

Lost items and garbage allow historians like Evans to peek into the personal lives of the people who lived at the fort. She said it helps them learn things about everyday life that would not have been recorded.

Things like who practiced their faith.

“We had found already in this house a couple of religious medallions which we know are personal rather than trade items so whoever was in here during the French Period, was obviously devout and practicing.”

The rosary will be preserved and displayed along with the more than one million artifacts that have been found at the fort.