Ornate colonial era musket part discovered in Michigan

Archaeologists have unearthed part of an 18th-century musket at a colonial-era fort in Michigan.

The serpent-shaped sideplate was found this week during an excavation at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, Michigan.

Fort Michilimackinac is an 18th-century fort and trading village on the straits of Mackinac. Built by the French in 1715, the fort was taken over by the British in 1761.

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“We had an exciting find this morning,” said Dr. Lynn Evans, Curator of Archaeology for Mackinac State Historic Parks, in a statement released Tuesday. “A serpent sideplate from a British trade gun in the west wall of the root cellar. It is 4.75” long.”

The serpent-shaped sideplate is from a British trade gun that dates back to the 1760s or 1770s.

The serpent-shaped sideplate is from a British trade gun that dates back to the 1760s or 1770s. (Mackinac State Historic Parks)

The sideplate was found in a house that was first occupied by French-Canadian trader Charles Henri Desjardins de Rupallay de Gonneville, and later by an as-yet-unidentified English trader. A spokesman for Mackinac State Historic Parks told Fox News that the artifact dates back to the 1760s or 1770s.

The guns were traded with Native Americans during the colonial era.

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The sideplate is the latest in a series of fascinating finds at the site. A silver brooch and a large piece of creamware were unearthed during a recent archaeological excavation at Colonial Michilimackinac.

File photo - Colonial Michilimackinac is revealing more of its secrets.

File photo - Colonial Michilimackinac is revealing more of its secrets. (Mackinac State Historic Parks)

Last year, a sword handle, an unusual brass thimble, a knife, tin-glazed Earthenware and Chinese porcelain were also discovered at the site.

In 2017, a Revolutionary War-era knife was found at Colonial Michilimackinac. The knife, which has an intact blade, dates to 1781 or older. Other artifacts found at the site include a colonial lock and a piece of silver.

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In July 2017, an 18th-century crucifix was also found near the location, according to MLive.

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