The University of Southern Indiana’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice Studies has received a grant of $60,241 from the National Parks Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) to fund archaeological research at Fort Ouiatenon near West Lafayette, Indiana.
Established in 1717 by the French as a fur-trading and military post, Fort Ouiatenon is the site of USI’s 2013 Archaeological Field School to be led by Dr. Michael Strezewski, assistant professor of anthropology. Ten USI students will participate in the field school and a five-week excavation of the site next summer. The archaeological remains of the fort and the surrounding area are owned by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.
“In previous investigations, we found evidence for a number of Native American houses in the vicinity of the fort and other possible fort-related activities,” Strezewski said, referring to work with Dr. Robert G. McCullough, formerly of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
The fort was occupied until the 1780s. The Native American villages in the area were attacked and destroyed by the Kentucky militia in 1791, under the command of Charles Scott and after that, the area was no longer a hub of Native American trade, according to Strezewski.
“We are proud to support projects like this that safeguard and preserve American battlefields,” said Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “These places are symbols of individual sacrifice and national heritage that we must protect so that this and future generations can understand the struggles that define us as a nation.”
The grant is one of 27 National Park Service grants totaling $1.35 million to preserve and protect significant battle sites from all wars fought on American soil. Funded projects preserve battlefields from the Colonial-Indian Wars through World War II and include site mapping (GPS/GIS data collection), archaeological studies, National Register of Historic Places nominations, preservation and management plans.
Federal, state, local, and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible for National Park Service battlefield grants which are awarded annually. Since 1996 more than $14 million has been awarded by ABPP to help preserve significant historic battleifleds associated with wars on American soil. Additional information is available online at www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp.
For the last several years, USI’s Archaeological Field School has been held in New Harmony, Indiana.
Photo Credit: USI Photography Services
Students work at the site of USI's 2012 Archaeological Field School in New Harmony, Indiana.