Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Archeologists to dig into Fort Recovery's past

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - A team of archeologists will be surveying land in Fort Recovery to define the boundaries of two battles fought in the village more than 200 years ago.
The Fort Recovery and Ohio historical societies, along with Ball State University, have been awarded a $70,000 grant to study the 1791 Battle of the Wabash and 1794 Battle of Fort Recovery. The grant is from the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program.
"To me it's just about additional scientific information and the additional data that various researchers can use, and we can use to education the general public," BSU archeologist and Fort Recovery native Chris Keller said.
Keller said the team of archeologists, along with help from professors, students and volunteers, will survey 20 acres in the spring. They will use equipment to search for anomalies in the ground that could indicate the presence of artifacts or subsurface foundations, she said.
She stressed there will be minimal excavation during the project.  If the team needs to dig, they will seek additional permission from the land owners, she said.
Mark Hill, director of Ball State University Applied Archaeology Laboratories, said in a press release the grant will allow the team to research, identify, survey and map battlefield features.
"(These) are important first steps in preserving the battlefield," he said.
Keller said general knowledge of the battle locations and sizes are known, but they will be searching for specifics, places written about in first person accounts. It would be nice to substantiate or verify what those early chroniclers thought was true, she said.
"We're excited about the grant and look forward to working with Ball State on the project," Nancy Knapke, site manager of Fort Recovery State Museum, said. "Not only will we learn more about these battles, we will be able to use this information to help preserve this historical site for future generations and honor those who fought here."
Keller will speak about the grant during her presentation of "Locating the Fort Recovery Battlefields" at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Recovery State Museum as part of its second annual Archaeological Family Fun Day. Last year the family day attracted more than 300 visitors, Keller said.

If you go:
What: Family Archaeological Family Fun Day
Where: Fort Recovery State Museum grounds, 1 Fortsite St.
When: 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Sunday
Details: Five speakers, artifact exhibitors, adult and kid activities
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