Intro to the Roosevelt Park Excavation Blog

Welcome to the Roosevelt Park 2014 Excavation Blog! This blog features weekly posts authored by students who are part of the current excavation team at Roosevelt Park in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Roosevelt Park stands in front of the ruins of the Michigan Central Train Station (MCS) and was originally designed to serve as a grand esplanade welcoming arriving train passengers to the city.

2012 excavations

Roosevelt Park stands in front of the ruins of the Michigan Central Station (closed in 1988).

The construction of the MCS between 1911-13 and Roosevelt Park in 1918-19 involved the demolition and forced displacement of over 200 working-class households and other buildings from the urban 19th-century neighborhood. Excavations at Roosevelt Park have been the focus of Dr. Ryzewski’s biennial Archaeological Field Methods class (ANT5280) in 2012 and 2014. During the fall of 2014 the class is investigating the contrasts in material culture, the area’s urban landscape, and the neighborhood’s demographics prior to and during the contentious displacement process.


Baist’s Real Estate Map (1911) and the pre-Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

The following weekly posts are designed to provide information about the process and finds of the excavations. Those interested in visiting the excavations in progress are welcome to attend the Open Day that the class will host at Roosevelt Park on Saturday October 25, between 1-3pm.

Updates of our progress are regularly posted on Wayne State Archaeology’s Corktown Facebook page and on the Unearthing Detroit project blog. Follow us on Twitter: @UnearthDetroit,  #RPdig,  @GLGMuseum.

The excavations at Roosevelt Park are part of a Wayne State research project that operates with permission from the City of Detroit. The artifacts recovered from Roosevelt Park are removed using scientific recording practices and archaeological methods. They are studied, curated, and will be exhibited in the Gordon L. Grosscup Museum of Anthropology at Wayne State University.

We ask that visitors to the Park are respectful of the excavation areas and do not disturb any of the park’s buried archaeological remains with unauthorized, illegal excavations. The objects recovered from Roosevelt Park tell the story of Detroit’s forgotten communities; if the artifacts are removed without proper archaeological procedures then these community histories will be forever lost.