Open Day: Gavin’s Post

Open Day: Can You Dig It?

Gavin Swantick

Saturday, October 29th, a beautifully warm autumn day, was Wayne State Archaeology’s biannual Open Day.  The purpose of opening the site to the public is to educate the community about archaeology and how it applies to their everyday lives.

Guests from all over the Greater Detroit area visited the site at Roosevelt Park.  Among the various attendees were Wayne State Anthropology Department faculty and alumni, family and friends of current students working at the dig, and members of the public at large (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Visitors during Open Day view the excavations at Lot 7.

Additionally, Eric Seals of the Detroit Free Press was present to conduct interviews and to take photographs for an article about the event which was published on Sunday, October 30.  Those who attended the event were able to see active excavation work along with various artifacts which had been previously unearthed from the park’s numerous excavation sites (Figure 2).  Many attendees expressed a newfound interest in archaeology, especially in an urban setting.  Other visitors were surprised that a neighborhood had ever existed on the site of Roosevelt Park.


Figure 2: Dr. Ryzewski explains the process of site profiling to Open Day patrons.

Overall, the public seemed impressed with what has been unearthed so far, and showed great support for Wayne State Archaeology.  For example, Dr. Suzanne Baker of Oakland Community College commented that she “thought the students did an excellent job presenting [their excavations] and answering questions” (Figure 3). She also said that her daughter, a high school senior interested in archaeology, was excited to attend.  The purpose of the Open Dig Day is both to inform and educate the public about the importance of archaeology in Detroit, and in that sense, the event was a rousing success.


Figure 3: Kailey McAlpin shows off artifacts found at Roosevelt Park to Open Day guests.