Millender Center

Site Name:

Millender Center

WSUMA Accession Nos.: 

Site No.:


Excavated By:

Stephen Demeter, Gilbert/Commonwealth, Jackson, MI

Excavation Year(s):


Site Description:

The site is in an area which constituted one of the very first suburban outgrowths of Detroit. Many elites, mostly entrepreneurs, moved to the area first. However, after the Civil War the population became more transient in nature. Many hotels and boarding houses appear in the area around this time. This general trend continued into the 1950s when the area was leveled for the construction of a parking lot.

Fieldwork began at the Millender Center on February13 and lasted until March 2, 1984 . A total of 11 test pits and 7 test trenches were dug. The main feature discovered consisted of a buried sheet midden. Most of the artifacts recovered were from the 1800-1845 period.


  • Buttons:(n=60)

    • porcelain
    • brass
    • bone
    • pearl shell
    • white metal. 
  • Ceramics:

    • Over 2000 ceramic fragments were found at the Millender site. Most of this material dates from about 1800-1845. The following types were represented in the sample:
      • White soft paste wares (including saucers, plates, bowls and pitchers)
        • Undecorated (pearl glaze, cream glazed and clear glazed)
        • Decorated
        • Painted
        • Transferwares (Blue - early, Old blue, Blue, Dark blue, Blue flow), Brown, Black, Purple, Red, Black flow, Mulberry flow, Black
        • Cream glaze, Black Canary glaze
        • Annular
        • Edgeware (Green, Blue, Neutral, Lined)
        • Leeds
        • Early Gaudy Dutch
        • Palette
        • Middle Gaudy Dutch
        • Sprig
        • Sponge/Spatter
      • Yellow soft paste
        • Cane glaze
        • Rockingham glaze
      • Annular
      • Unglazed
      • Red soft paste
        • Unglazed
        • Glazed
        • Delft
      • Semi-Vitreous Paste
        • Salt glazed
        • Slip glazed
        • Unglazed
  • Clay smoking pipes: (n=63)

  • Coal: (n=27)

  • Construction Materials:

    • bricks (3 complete and 3 fragmentary)
  • Faunal Remains

  • Leather:(n=73)

    • Most of the leather artifacts represent footwear and is similar to the footwear found at other sites, such as the Renaissance Center and the People Mover. These mostly date to the mid-nineteenth century. 
  • Marbles: (n=5)

  • Metal:

    • Ferric: square cut nail fragments (n=68), wire nail fragments (n=9), and coroded samples (n=60). There are also a few miscellaneous ferric metal pieces.
    • Non-ferric: These pieces are mostly brass or copper and include wires, pad locks, a lamp burner and some other miscellaneous pieces.
  • Stone: (n=3)

  • Wood: (n=5)

    • burned wood
  • Worked Bone:

    • 3 bone combs
    • 2 bone handled hair or tooth brushes were found

Cat. Nos.:


  • Barton, David F. and Mark C. Branstner (1981) “ A Detailed Land Use History of the Millender Center Project Area, Detroit , MI.: Unpublished manuscript on file at WSU Museum of Anthropology. [# 11W1010]

This report is about 40 pages long. It includes some historical maps of the project area. The report identified area with “high” and “low” archaeological sensitivity and predicted the existence of features such as privies and trash pits.

  • Demeter, C.S. and D. J. Weir (1983) “Archaeological Investigations of the Millender Center Development Site”. Unpublished manuscript on file at WSU Museum of Anthropology. [# 11W1375]

This CRM report is about 211 pages long and includes maps and diagrams of the site and the field work conducted there. The report consists of a historical back ground of the Millender Center area, a faunal analysis, a leather analysis, a clay smoking pipe analysis, a glass analysis and a ceramic analysis. Most of the analyses include tables and charts. However, the faunal analysis is especially detailed, and it has been noted by the author to provide insights into relationships between socioeconomic status and purchasing habits.

Misc.: The entire assemblage from this site is not housed at WSUMA.

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