Fort St. Joseph was a trading post along the St. Joseph River from 1691 - 1781. Four flags flew over this fort before it was vacated in 1781. The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project is a partnership between Western Michigan University and the City of Niles, MI, that seeks to explore the history of New France. Students from WMU are at the site every summer digging for artifacts and uncovering structures of the fort. Fort St. Joseph is an important part of Michigan Heritage when the early French settlers traded with the Native Americans and put the St. Joseph River and Niles on the map. The site is located on the St. Joseph River and is covered with water for much of the year so equipment is installed to lower the water table each summer to allow the students to conduct their field work. Weekly summer camps are offered to the public, and allow participants to excavate on site. The site is available for viewing each season during the annual Open House while the students are on location. The fort site brings thousands of people from all over the country who have an interest in history, genealogy and archaeology. Feel free to visit the Open House on August 10-11, 2013, from 10 am. to 4 p.m. to learn more about Michigan’s history and see an archaeological site in action.