Fort Wayne

Site Name:

Fort Wayne

WSUMA Accession Nos.:

293, 636, 1211

Site No.:

20WN271 (aka WN-H16)

Excavated By:

Gordon Grosscup, Charles Martinez, James Ciaramataro

Excavation Year(s):

1972-78, 1984

Site Description:

Fort Wayne was built in the early 1840's to defend the United States from Canada. It was never used for this purpose so the fort was not extensively used until the Civil War when it was used to train Union troops. After the Civil War Fort Wayne continued to be used as a training facility. In the 1960's it was used to house people displaced by the Detroit Riots.

Excavations led by Charles Martinez took place during January 1973 inside the old barracks within historic Fort Wayne . The excavations were done both in the southeast-most room on the first floor and also in the mess hall. Starting in 1974 through 1978 excavations led by Dr. Gordon Grosscup were conducted as part of an initiative to restore the parade grounds for Detroit 's Bicentennial Celebration.

Subsequent excavations at the fort done under the direction of Grosscup during the 1974-78 field seasons investigated the water closet and cistern associated with the old enlisted men's barracks in the north corner. The cistern could not be thoroughly excavated due to structural concerns. During the 1976 field season a mortar mill was uncovered during construction at the fort which was also investigated. In the summer of 1984 Grosscup excavated near the Officer's Quarters. The structure was torn down in 1861 and subsequently used as a garbage dump.


1984 Officer's Quarters Excavation:

  • Ceramics:

    • Plain earthenware (red, white, buff, creamware, yellow ware)

    • stoneware

    • porcelain

  • Construction Materials:

    • bricks

    • wood

    • charred wood

  • Faunal Remains:

    • cattle

    • duck

    • fish

  • Glass:

    • bottle glass (colorless, blue, brown, light green, dark green, amber, light blue)

    • milk glass

    • window glass

  • Kaolin pipes:

    • both red and white

  • Metal:

    • Munitions and bullets

    • uniform ornaments

    • grommets

  • Nails:

    • (some square in cross section)

1973 Mess Hall Excavation

  • Brass Eagle Buttons
  • Percussion Caps
  • Clay pipes
  • Minie bullets
  • Coin (1863)
  • Faunal remains

1975 Water Closet Excavation

  • 30-06 cartridges (mostly unfired) singly and in clips dating to early 1900's (Deaccessioned in June 2005)

Cat. Nos.:

1W138645, 1W138591, 1W135683-1W135708, 10W1173-10W1179


  • Grosscup, Gordon L. (1999) Fort Wayne ”. In Retrieving Michigan's Buried Past . John R. Halsey (ed.) pp. 332-334. Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 64.


 ↑ back to top