Tyra Site

Site Name:

Tyra Site (a.k.a. Frazer Site)

WSUMA Accession Nos. :

838, 701, 868

Site No.:


Excavated By:

Arthur Graves

Excavation Year(s):

1968, 1969, 1970

Site Description:

The artifacts in this collection were excavated by the Saginaw Chapter of the Michigan Archaeological Society in 1968. The site is located on the property of Mr. Roman Tyra on “ a high sand bluff overlooking a big bend in the Tittabawssee River , approximately 25 feet below” ( Graves n.d.).

The principal excavator was Arthur Graves. During the summer of 1968, he and four other individuals excavated approximately 8300 square feet of the site. The group uncovered mortuary features, clusters of post molds, midden, and fire, indicating a large domestic component at the site. They continued work at the site for the next two years, excavating a total of 18,000 square feet. Additional, though less extensive, excavations were conducted by Central Michigan University in 1972.

A total of 125 burial features were excavated during these four seasons. A variety of treatments were noted at the site including extended, flexed, skull and torso only (bundle burials?), and cremations. Many of the burial features contain multiple individuals. All but three of the burials were consistently oriented with heads facing toward the east. Preservation of the remains from the Tyra Site is variable. Approximately 20% of the burials reportedly contained associated funerary objects. Archaeological materials recovered from the site indicate that is was discontinuously occupied from approximately A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1450.

Only a small portion of the materials excavated from the Tyra Site came to Wayne State University. These materials were donated to the WSU Museum by Mr. Al Weir on behalf of Dr. Hagge in February 1970. Mr. Graves reports that 30 burials from the 1968 excavations had been given yo Dr. Hagge for analysis. These material apparently came into the hands of Mr. Wier upon the death of Dr. Hagge. Other parts of the Tyra collection went to the Universities of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Central Michigan in Mt. Pleasant , while some items also remained in the hands of the excavators. Mr. Graves kindly donated some replicas of artifacts in his possession to WSUMA in 1970.


  • Ceramics:

    • grit tempered, cord-wrapped paddle impressed pottery sherds
  • Faunal Remains

  • Human Remains

  • Lithics:

    • drills
    • bifaces
    • scrapers
    • flakes
    • Bayport Chert
    • stemmed projectile point
  • Pipes

Catalogue No.:

9W108-9W149, 9W201-9W351, 9W355-9W549, 9W584-9W615, 9W640-9W645, 9W648-9W650, 9W652, 9W656-9W726, 9W730, 9W733-9W734, 9W737-9W766, 9W833

1W181832-1W181833, 1W181835-1W181844, 1W185753-1W185787, 11W185895-1W186001, 1W202511-1W202799, 1W207455-1W207457, 1W208201-1W208292, 1W208382-1W208386, 1W209501-1W209502, 1W209701-1W209706, 1W209716-1W209769, 1W209973-1W209981, 1W212013-1W212058, 1W212408-1W212505, 1W213301-1W213306


  • Graves , A.H. (n.d.) “The Tyra Site”. Unpublished manuscript on file at WSU Museum of Anthropology. [#11W685]
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