Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 9-5
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


WILLIAMS, Kevin K., Department of Earth Sciences, SUNY Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222 and LUTHER, Brandon D., CME Associates, Inc., 491 Elmgrove Rd, Rochester, NY 14606

Old Fort Niagara is a historic site in the exact northwest corner of New York. Established in 1726, it was occupied at different times by French, British, and American troops. During its history, various buildings were built, expanded, demolished, and rebuilt. Locations of these buildings are known fairly well due to historic archives, but sometimes exact locations of foundations, trash pits, and fireplaces are not known. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a widely used and favorable method for cemetery mapping and archaeological studies as it is a quick, non-invasive, and very accurate tool for mapping the subsurface

In 2013 and 2014, we collected GPR data over a large portion of the fort in the “Red Barracks” area. Those data revealed locations of several trash pits and fireplaces that were not previously known. Those results have been used by the Buffalo State Archeological Field School to better plan their digs since then. In summer of 2017, we worked with the Field School to collect data in a grid more centrally located at the fort. This location is just north of the blacksmith shop. Data were collected in a 10 meter by 20 meter grid using a GSSI SIR-3000 system with a 400 MHz antenna and a survey wheel. Grid lines were spaced 50 cm apart. The grid transects have been processed into a GPR data block that can be viewed in various ways in the Radan software to best analyze structures in the subsurface. These results show the buried foundation of another building from the history of Old Fort Niagara and the details associated with the area around and within the foundation. Together with information from excavations by the Field School, the GPR view of this area expands our understanding of the history of Old Fort Niagara and may expand into collecting GPR data across the grounds of the entire fort.