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Help needed in archaeological project

Fred Sutherland, a PhD candidate in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology at Michigan Technological University, is researching the history of the Cuyuna Range for his Ph.D. dissertation.

Earlier this month, Sutherland presented a summary of findings from a survey of nearly 900 historic buildings and sites along the Cuyuna Range. Sutherland had to inventory the locations to identify potential sites for archaeological fieldwork. His architectural inventory is a model for public research advocated by Michigan Tech faculty, according to Tim Scarlett, associate professor of social sciences and head of Tech’s Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

Sutherland coordinated a team of 12 local volunteers, equipped them with Michigan Tech instruments and led teams of surveyors as they recorded sites in Crosby, Riverton, Wolford, Trommald, Deerwood and Ironton.

Sutherland completed a printed inventory of the buildings, as well as a multi-volume report for the archives at the Hallett Memorial Library in Crosby.

The collaborative project began during the winter of 2010-2011, when the Ironton chapter of the Serbian Sisters contacted the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program at Michigan Tech. Supported by a seed gift from Charles Leir and Laura Ukura-Leir of Ironton, the initial goals of the collaboration were to research and publish the first major academic study of the heritage of the Cuyuna Range mines and communities; to use Michigan Tech’s expertise to help improve range communities’ efforts at cultural revitalization, economic redevelopment and planning; and to train young professionals in best practices for Industrial Heritage and Archaeology efforts.

The collaborative team is seeking funding for the second phase of the study, including archaeological excavations of various industrial sites to yield clues about the iron mining region. Sutherland would like to investigate a rare example of an Ardis Furnace, the Milford and Sagamore mine locations, and the Rowe Concentrator and Portsmouth Sintering Plant sites in the Cuyuna Range. Anyone wanting to help support this research can contact Scarlett at or Ben Larson, senior advancement officer for the Michigan Tech Fund, at

To contact Professor Tim Scarlett or Fred Sutherland, email or call 906-487-2359.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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