Geophysical survey team investigating Fort Scott National Historic Site
FT. SCOTT, Kan. – A geophysical survey is taking place in Fort Scott. We went to the fort to find out what exactly is being done.
The team is from Lincoln, Nebraska. Specifically, the Midwest Archeological Center, which is part of the National Park Service. They’re here to survey the Fort Scott National Historic Site, with the help of some fancy tech. “Radiometers, electrical resistance, ground-penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction.” says Adam Wiewel with the Midwest Archeological Center.
What they’re using it for, is to uncover lost history. Wiewel says “The goal is to locate those features in a non-destructive way, whereas in the past we might be out here excavating, to better understand the site or buildings that we suspect were once here, we’re using these instruments to peer below the ground’s surface and get a better idea about historic features and the archeology of the site.”
There’s a few things they know roughly where to look for. “The hospital, which is now the visitor’s center, had a latrine and a storage shed behind it, so we’ll be looking for those two structures, each of the officers quarters had a series of buildings, the same buildings, latrines and storage sheds behind them, some are still standing, but others are no longer standing, but we know they were located behind those buildings so we’ll be looking for those.”
Others, will be a bit harder to find. Carl Brenner with the Fort Scott National Historic Site says “We can see where the buildings once stood, we can lay out what we have known from drawings, exactly where they were so that we can really get a picture as to how this fort looked back in the 1840s, almost 180 years ago.”
Brenner says it’s exciting to learn more about the ‘real’ Fort Scott. “Most people that visit the fort don’t have a clue what all’s back here, when I started here, I didn’t have a clue what all was back here, this is going to tell us those stories, this is going to share what really happened at the fort, what it really looked like, as what looks like just a field, actually has life, or had life on top of it, but that life is being told through the stories that’s below it.”
The team will be at the fort for two weeks. They’re planning to return in the spring, following a prescribed burn of the prairie near by, to look for other pieces of lost history.
Brenner says they’re hoping to use what they find, combined with old photos, to create augmented reality tours, where you’ll be able to hold up your phone, and see what once was there.
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