Archaeological Atlas of Michigan (1931)

The Archaeological Atlas of Michigan, published in 1931, is the product of decades of work by Wilbert B. Hinsdale (1851–1944), the Museum’s first curator of Great Lakes Archaeology. Hinsdale came to U-M in 1895 as professor and dean (and later director) of the Homeopathic Medical College. Over succeeding decades he traveled across Michigan, becoming an avocational archaeologist and collector of Native American objects. When the Homeopathic College closed in 1922, Hinsdale, already 70 years old, joined the newly created Museum of Anthropology and was placed in charge of the Great Lakes archaeology collections. Alexander Ruthven, director of the University Museums, encouraged Hinsdale to compile his archaeological knowledge into a synthetic publication. The massive Archaeological Atlas is the result. It is a large book in every sense of the word. It is literally large, being 19 by 24 inches. And although nearly 90 years old, it remains an essential guide to Michigan’s archaeological sites.

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In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.


Wilbert B. Hinsdale at work. Location unknown. Undated. W. B. Hinsdale papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. [Box 2A, Item # BL006422]