1998 Pre-Columbian Discoveries Symposium
When I was put on leave six weeks from Visiting Nurses Association
with a severe ankle injury (1998), necessity sparked the idea of a
large Pre-Columbian autumn gathering of researchers at a natural
setting along a Lake Superior shore. Fred and June Rydholm went
forward and did a lion's share of the work, assisted by Wayne May
of Ancient American Magazine, a number of other friends, and an
impressive list of speakers engaged in diffusionist research. All
volunteered time, travel and lodging expenses, assisted in promoting
the upcoming event, or acted as hosts/hostesses for the "Pre-
Columbian Discoveries Symposium" held in Big Bay, Michigan.
Admission fees to the event were nominal and, at the Rydholms'
suggestion, all proceeds given to Bay Cliff Camp for disadvantaged
and disabled children which also provided a meeting room and
snacks the second day of our event. The first day's room and meals
were provided at the famous old Thunder Bay Lodge, where Anatomy of
a Murder (starring Jimmie Stewart) was filmed. Most attendees spent
overnights in Marquette.
Attendance to a conference put together within weeks at a remote
location along pot-holed roads leading northward from Marquette was
overwhelming. It is estimated that between 100-150 local people and
tourists attended all or part of the conference.
Many researchers and friends are calling for another conference. The
Rydholms and Bay Cliff Camp staff have set a date for the second Pre-
Columbian Discoveries for Friday through Sunday nights, Oct. 7, 8, &
9th, which should be at the height of the 2005 autumn foliage.
We, of many associations which including Ancient Waterways Society
correspondants, members of the Pre-Columbian Cultural Research
Society, Ancient American Magazine staff and subscribers, the
Ancient Artifacts Preservation Committee, and possibly members of
the Ancient Earthworks Society will be hosting a second symposium at
Big Bay, Michigan. We hope to draw speakers from the Midwest
Epigraphic Society (Ohio) and other related groups. We will again
keep the symposium affordable, and admission proceeds will go to Bay
For the 2005 conference, the Bay Cliff Camp staff will reopen cabins
and the dining hall for lodging and meals. Fred Rydholm said there
are three "packages" being put together for attendees. Alternative,
independent reservations may also be made and there is an elegant
old lighthouse Bed & Breakfast nearby. I have not yet checked web
site accessability to accommodations in Big Bay. There is at least
one campground within walking distance. Lodging and meals are again
available at Thunder Bay Lodge. I do hope the 2005 event will
maintain the same hospitable accessibity and "non-clicque-ish"
warmth between speakers, tourists, locals and professional and lay
researchers as did the 1998 event. Rental spaces will be available
for individuals displaying collections or research or for those
promoting books, magazines, or displays.
Longtime friend, Dr. Jim Scherz has suggested the group put
in a call for papers prior to this event. We would like to hear
comment about these matters.
...connection people to people and to resources
M. Susan English
Ancient Waterways Society