Below is a list of research conducted at Fort Recovery, Ohio by the Ball State University, Department of Anthropology, Applied Anthropology Laboratories (AAL).
A New View of the Battle of the Wabash
National Endowment for the Humanities, $75,000
PIs: Christine Thompson, Dr. Kevin Nolan, Stacey Halfmoon
The Battle of the Wabash (1791) was a major victory for American Indians protecting their homeland from Euro-American encroachment. The story has been predominately one-sided, focusing on U.S. military actions and intent. Ball State University and the Ohio History Connection plan with American Indian partners for a traveling exhibit to tribal museums. A New View of the Battle of the Wabash includes exhibits and public presentations by humanities scholars and tribal members focusing both on exhibit content and the collaborative reinterpretation process. A New View explores the battle via a new interpretive model based on recent archaeological results, framed in community-engaged scholarship. We build up and upon trusting relationships with tribal partners to co-create and co-design a traveling exhibit that truly represents and reflects the views of American Indians. The end product will be a traveling exhibit and presentations created with tribal communities for tribal communities.
A Story Map of the Battle of the Wabash and the Battle of Fort Recovery
Fort Recovery Historical Society via the Ohio Humanities Council, $12,694
PIs: Christine Thompson, Dr. Kevin Nolan
This grant funded the creation of an on-line map-based representation (an ESRI Story Map) of the Battle of the Wabash and the Battle of Fort Reocvery. This Story Map furthers the education and interpretation of this battlefield through the use of technology and interactive maps. It provides a humanities-based battlefield interpretation when the FRSM is not open or for those interested in the battles but cannot visit the battlefield. The Story Map is available for free at www.fortrecoverymuseum.com. Several formal reviews and public presentations took place throughout the project.
Archaeology Field School and Ground Penetrating Radar; May 2016 – June 2017
Ohio History Fund, $17,500
PIs: Dr. Mark Groover, Christine Thompson
A newly discovered 1793 map of Fort Recovery and a ground-penetrating survey of the area around the fort location will guide archeological excavations at a field school. These efforts will likely revise current understandings of the fort and of the two battles that occurred during the Ohio Indian Wars of the early 1790s. The project will share those new conclusions within the field of historical archeology, as well as area school groups and the public during the 225th anniversary of the community in 2016.
The Battles of Fort Recovery: Wayside Exhibits Planning and Design; Aug 2015-Aug 2017
National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program (GA-2287-15-003), $45,000
Principal Investigators: Christine Thompson, Dr. Kevin C. Nolan
This project funded the design of 15 wayside exhibits and other interpretative methodology for the site that encompasses the Battle of the Wabash and the Battle of Fort Recovery. Partners included the Fort Recovery Historical Society, Fort Recovery State Museum, Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historic Preservation Office, and Fort Recovery community members. The wayside exhibits were manufactured and installed in November 2018 with funding from an Ohio Facilities Construction Commission grant.
Battles of the Wabash and Fort Recovery: Sign Development and Design; Jan 2014-July 2015
Ball State University ADVANCE, $5,000
Principal Investigator: Christine Thompson
This project built on the results of four previous National Park Service
American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) grants and led directly
to an ABPP grant application in January 2015. The ABPP grant will
develop and design interpretive signs to be used at the site of the
Battle of the Wabash (1791) and the Battle of Fort Recovery (1794). This
ADVANCE grant funded the investigation and documentation of
interpretive signage at various battlefields and the discussion of the
design and planning process with groups who implemented these sign
The Battles of Fort Recovery: Additional Archaeology; August 2013-August 2015
National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program (GA-2287-13-002), $69,955
Principal Investigators: Christine Thompson, Dr. Kevin C. Nolan
This project conducted systematic archaeological investigations of the
redefined boundaries of the Battle of the Wabash (1791) and outlying
agricultural land. This battle and the Battle of Fort Recovery (1794)
represent two of the largest engagements between the United States Army
and Native American forces. The findings will be a part of an ongoing
educational process at Fort Recovery State Museum and will be
disseminated to the public via media and web site updates,
presentations, open houses, and other events.
The Battles of Fort Recovery: Preservation Planning; August 2013-August 2015
National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program (GA-2287-13-001), $61,577
Principal Investigators: Christine Thompson, Dr. Kevin C. Nolan, Dr. Cailín Murray
This project will develop and produce a comprehensive preservation planning document for the battlefields that encompass the Battle of the Wabash (1791) and the Battle of Fort Recovery (1794) in Ohio, two of the largest engagements between the United States Army and Native American forces. The focus will be on a detailed preservation plan for future community development and public education.
The Battle of the Wabash and the Battle of Fort Recovery; September 2012
National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association exhibit
Mentors: Christine Keller (Archaeologist, Ball State University), Nancy Knapke (Director, Fort Recovery State Museum), Leslie Martin Conwell (American History Events Coordinator, National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association)
The Fort Recovery State Museum and AAL collaborated on a large museum exhibit for the National Muzzle Loader Rifle Association for their National Championship Shoot in Friendship, Indiana. Three Ball State interns spent over 200 hours planning, organizing, and executing a large Fort Recovery Museum exhibit complete with posters, artifacts, videos, interactive exhibits, archaeological results, etc. Students were responsible for all research, exhibit design, and creation of all exhibit components at BSU and on-site in Friendship. The exhibit was attended by over 1,200 National Championship attendees during the 3rd week of September and was a great opportunity for these BSU students.
The Battles of Fort Recovery: National Register Nomination; August 2012-August 2014
National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program (GA-2255-12-001), $54,416
Principal Investigators: Dr. Mark Hill, Christine Thompson
This project was awarded in conjunction with the Fort Recovery Historical Society, Ohio Historical Society, and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. This on-going project is involves a series of community meetings and consensus building activities to create an amended National Register nomination for the battlefield of the Battle of the Wabash and the Battle of Fort Recovery to include eligible areas of the expanded battlefield. Key topics of discussion are the significance of the battles and integrity of various areas of the battlefield. If a solider or Native American who participated in the battles in 1791 or 1794 came back today, would they recognize the battlefield and the associated landscape? This National Register amendment is critical to future preservation and protection of the battlefield.
Battle of the Wabash 1791: Native American Battle Strategies; March 2012 – July 2013
Ball State University ASPiRE, $4,236
Principal Investigator: Christine Keller
Archaeologist Christine Keller was awarded this funding to build on the
2010 ABPP project and focus on research and landscape analysis of the
Native American crescent formation in the Battle of the Wabash (1791).
Research was done at the Ohio History Connection, Clements Library at
the University of Michigan, the National Archives in Washington DC, and
the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The goal of this
project was to support additional external National Park Service ABPP
Fort Recovery Documentary and Public Archaeology Volume; January 2011 – June 2013
Ball State University Provost’s Immersive Learning project, $33,000
Principal Investigators: Dr. Mark Groover, Christine Keller, Dr. Cailín Murray
Twelve students used the results of the 2010 American Battlefield
Protection Program (ABPP) project and additional research to create a 26
minute documentary and 50 page public volume outlining the history and
modern day thoughts of the Battle of the Wabash and Battle of Fort
Recovery. Students interviewed members of the Fort Recovery Historical
society, author John Winkler, and George Ironstrack of the Myaamia
Project as part of the documentary. This documentary and public
archaeology volume is now available at the Fort Recovery State Museum
and the documentary is showed at many of the museum's public events and
Battles of Fort Recovery: Archaeology and Site Identification; July 2010-December 2011
National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program (GA-2255-10-002), $70,000
Principal Investigators: Dr. Mark Groover, Dr. Mark Hill, Christine Keller, Dr. Cailín Murray
The goal of this project was to delineate more clearly and accurately the boundaries of the Battle of the Wabash (1791) and the Battle of Fort Recovery (1794). The project began with a thorough review of all available historic sources. The primary field methods were a geophysical survey, consisting of metal detector, magnetometer and resistivity. A field school with 6 weeks of excavation was held in May/June 2011 with Ball State University students, and a two day concluding public open house was held with over 300 attendees. The archaeological results of field school included the discovery of what is most likely a 17 foot portion of the original palisade wall of Fort Recovery, aligned with the Greeneville Treaty Line. A Charleville musket center band was also discovered during field school in one of the excavation units. Metal detector results discovered several “hot spots” of artifacts in the vicinity of the proposed Native American crescent formation. These results along with detailed GIS (geographic information systems) data modeling and the National Park Service’s KOCOA (Key terrain/decisive terrain; Observation and fields of fire; Concealment and cover; Obstacles; Avenues of approach/withdrawal) landscape analysis resulted in the definition of a much larger battlefield area than previously defined. A technical report was produced by Ball State University and video was produced by the Ohio History Connection (formerly Ohio Historical Society).