Saturday, June 08, 2002

Excavation finds 200-year-old fort

The Associated Press

        GREENVILLE, Ohio — Remnants of largest military fort of the old Northwest Territory have been found in a bean field west of here, archaeologists say.

        Volunteers using metal detectors and a soldier's map from 1793 found stains left by two 50-foot logs in the clay subsoil, said archaeologist Tony DeRegnaucourt of Arcanum.

        The stains and hundreds of artifacts — mostly hand-forged iron spikes, hinges, bolts and musket balls — convinced searchers that they found the remains of Blockhouse No. 8 of Fort Greene Ville, the wilderness headquarters of Maj. Gen. Anthony Wayne.

        From the fort, Wayne waged his campaign against the Shawnee, Miami, Wyandot, Delaware and other tribes fighting to protect their homeland from white settlers.

        After winning the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 near present-day Toledo, Wayne returned to Fort Greene Ville and signed a peace treaty with Miami Chief Little Turtle and representatives of 12 tribes.

        Mr. DeRegnaucourt said last week's find was the first architectural remnant of the 55-acre fort to turn up.

        The site fits Wayne's description of a blockhouse erected 300 yards west of his main encampment, said David Cox, one of the volunteers.

        “You can see the shadows of the logs, several inches thick,” Mr. Cox said.

        The structure was about 50 feet long and about 35 feet wide with two chimneys, he said. A 10-foot-tall picket fence with holes to shoot through surrounded it.

        Later, the same area was the site of Prophet's Town, a Shawnee encampment led by Chief Tecumseh, the most famous of Ohio's native leaders, and his brother Tenskatawa, known as “The Prophet.”

        Mr. DeRegnaucourt said volunteers plan to photograph and map what they've found, but they do not have a way to preserve the site.

        The Miami tribe, now of Oklahoma, will be notified if any Indian remains are found, he said. For now, the trenching is covered with tarps, and the group is trying to find funding to finish the excavation, which Mr. Cox estimated will cost about $10,000.


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