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By Benjamin A. Roberts and Christy Pritchard

2011 Annual Conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology

We are fortunate in that while conducting archaeological investigations at Fort Knox, we are able to draw from a variety of historic maps (16 that cover the entire installation and various others that pertain to specific locations on the base), dating from the original acquisition of properties in 1919 on through the 1990s.

There are two ways in which we use these historic maps in archaeology at Fort Knox: (1) Comparing a known location on the ground to the historic maps (especially nice for historic artifact discoveries and to see if a building or structure is shown on a map that corresponds with our findings in the field allowing for deed research and occupant histories to be conducted on the site). Or, (2) using a known location on the map, like a farmstead, and using archaeological survey to locate, or ground-truth it in reality on the ground. This is a little trickier sometimes and can lead to proving or disproving the accuracy of the historic map you are using!

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