Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Scalping and Pathological Indicators in the Late Historic Period from Saugatuck, Michigan




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Excavations in Saugatuck, Michigan associated with a building project in 1929 and erosion from the Kalamazoo River in 1955 were responsible for rediscovery of an old Indian burial ground, used between 1810 and 1830 (Quimby 1966). Original field notes suggest 30-50 burials were recovered. The remains of 10 individuals ranging in age from infant to 50 years of age are currently housed at Grand Valley State University, while the location of the remaining skeletal material and artifacts are unknown. Two of the known burials display cut marks on the frontal and parietals indicative of scalping. Presence of healed fractures, osteomyelitis, arthritis, periostitis, and linear enamel hypoplasia are additional evidence of a population experiencing moderate to severe stress. This research allows a glimpse into life during the late historic period in West Michigan that is suggestive of a high level of activity along with occasions of violent interpersonal relations.

Conference Name

Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Portland, Oregon

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