An Archeological Overview and Assessment of George Rogers Clark National Historical Park

Author(s): Robert K. Nickel

Year: 2002


George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Vincennes, Indiana, contains the archeological remnants of Fort Sackville and probably all or portions of the eighteenth-century French post established by Francois-Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes, as well as small portions of the adjacent civilian community. The significant remains date from 1733 to 1780. During the 1930s, state and federal groups collaborated on the construction of the George Rogers Clark Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial Bridge and on the landscaping of the adjacent grounds. These efforts were motivated by the desire to interpret the significant role that George Rogers Clark played in the American Revolution and by a depression-era need to create work and economic opportunities.

Partly as a result of recommendations made by National Park Service Historian Edwin Bearss, archeological testing was undertaken in the early 1970s. Staff from the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology at Indiana University directed these excavations. This testing found a few features that could date from the period of greatest historical interest, but overall the results were disappointing. It appears that much of the area of Fort Sackville has been severely impacted by ca. 1900 commercial development and by the construction of the Clark Memorial. Few indications of prehistoric use of land within the park have been found. A new effort to locate physical remains of Fort Sackville or Post Vincennes is not recommended.

Given the complex history of the site, caution should be manifest in all projects that could result in disturbance of the historic grade. This study recommends that a GIS-based cultural resource base map be produced, geophysical surveys of the area around the Old Cathedral cemetery and the Mall should be accomplished, and oral histories of the development of the Clark Memorial, the Mall, and the bridge should be recorded.

Cite this Record

An Archeological Overview and Assessment of George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. Robert K. Nickel. Midwest Archeological Center Technical Reports ,No. 83. Lincoln, Nebraska: Midwest Archeological Center, National Park Service. 2002 ( tDAR id: 376107) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8SX6CXQ

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -87.564; min lat: 38.661 ; max long: -87.518; max lat: 38.708 ;

Record Identifiers

MWAC Accession(s): 17; 362; 294

GERO Accession(s): 22; 26

GERO Accession (s): 25

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