Archaeologists excavate site of demolished Civil War-era log cabin in Detroit

The City of Detroit demolished an abandoned house that the Hamtramck Historical Commission wanted to save. As a concession, the city gave a team of archeologists one day to excavate the site and learn as much as they could.

Wayne State associate professor of anthropology Krysta Ryzewski led the dig.

"We're hoping today to find a couple of different sources of information. We're hoping to find artifacts that date to the period when log cabin would've been occupied," she said.

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She said they believe the log cabin was built sometime around 1870. Now they want to know who lived here, what was their lifestyle, what type of food did they eat and much more.

The time constraints limited how deep they could go -- they've only been permitted to dig for one day.

"We are hoping to dig about 2 or 3 feet down today, so we're deep into the historical soil," she said. "The deeper you go, usually, the older the artifacts are."

Ryzewski said the most exciting finds were the timbers of the original log cabin were fitted together with wooden pegs.

"The craftsmanship that went into building the cabin was just like nothing I've ever seen before in a building," she said.

Wayne State grad student Bridget Bennane was part of the team.

"Archeology is what I love to do. People haven't touched these things since that last person and I think that's amazing," she said. "We may not have the cabin here anymore but we are getting the chance to excavate."

The items found in the dig will be cleaned up and put on display at the Hamtramck Historical Museum.