A few months ago I received an email from a fellow by the name of Roger Pellar. He’d apparently read my interview with historian Matt Siegfried about Ypsilanti’s Native American past, and was hoping that, through this site, I might be able to help him identify a few artifacts that he’d uncovered while making his way across Ypsilanti with a metal detector several years ago. (He also wanted to know where he could donate these pieces once they’d been identified.) So, we began trading emails, and, just yesterday, he shared the following two photos.
The first piece, according to Pellar, was found about ten years ago on the banks of the Huron River as it passes along Frog Island. The object, he says, is carved bone. And the metal component appears to be made of silver. He suspects that it’s Native American in origin. If it is, my guess would be that it was relatively recent, given the design and construction of the metal piece, which appears to be some kind of clasp, but I’d welcome other input.
The second piece, which appears to be a belt buckle, was found about ten years ago as well, when the City was tearing up our downtown streets in order to replace our aging water mains. According to Pellar, this piece was found beneath Miles Street, just north of Michigan Avenue. His guess is that it might in some way be connected to a pre-Civil War militia. My guess is that it might have belonged to a member of an early Ypsilanti Fire Company, but, again, that’s just a wild guess. (An image of the buckle’s back, if it helps, can be found here.)
All input is welcome.
One last thing, regardless of what we discover about these two artifacts, I think it’s incredibly cool that Pellar has decided that they belong in the hands of a local organization and not in his own collection. At a time when, I suspect, most people would be tempted to put such items on Ebay, and see what, if anything, they might be able to get for them, I think that’s worthy of praise… Who knows, maybe this will be incentive for others in our community to come forward and share their finds with us.