- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

FORT LARNED, Kan. (AP) - Archaeologists believe they have a better idea of where bodies may be buried near a frontier military post in Kansas after conducting a survey.

The history of the Fort Larned National Historic Site stretches back to 1859, when thousands of soldiers were stationed there to preserve peace among Santa Fe Trail travelers and Native Americans. Historical accounts indicate that deceased civilians and military personnel, perhaps as many as 100, were buried near the fort, according to the Great Bend Tribune (https://bit.ly/1VzDygb ).

A crew surveyed 16 acres at the fort this month using non-invasive surveying methods, such as ground-penetrating radar.

“We saw areas that line up in rows,” said archaeologist Steven De Vore, the project manager from the National Park Service’s Midwest Archeological Center who was assisted by technicians, Fort Larned volunteers and two inmates from the Kansas Department of Corrections. “The best we can tell they are probably graves.”

But it would require some excavation work to determine the precise location where the burial grounds are located northeast of the historical site.

DeVore’s investigations also provide clues about buried archaeological features, such as stone outhouse foundations. Although the existing sandstone buildings represent a nearly complete frontier military post, some buildings were constructed of wood or adobe and were torn down or allowed to decay.

“We got a good indication of where the stables were located,” De Vore said. “There were 100 stalls and a cavalry unit that escorted the mail delivery.”

De Vore will prepare a report that is designed to help with future planning efforts.


Information from: Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, https://www.gbtribune.com

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