The remains of the inhabitants lifestyle is what is of interest to researchers, including the Field Geomorphology
crew. Large amounts
of past human activity leave behind settlement patterns and we know the fort had
considerable amount of human activity as a trade route.
Such patterns are indicated in the
geoarchaeological record as crop markings, artifacts, and soil stratigraphy. All three are discussed below to some
extent dependant upon the course of the natural environment.
The Missouri River has significantly changed since the Ft. Leavenworth occupation. Lewis and Clark observed the River during their expedition in the early 1800's void of the large meander that currently exists. The image (fig. 1) below shows Lewis and Clark's map of the valley during their expedition. It is evident that no meander was noted. In comparison, Fig. 2 indicates the present feature of the Missouri River in addition to comparing the old Missouri River as referenced by Lewis and Clark. It is important to note the path of the old Missouri River as it followed the western side of the valley along the bluffs. Located within is a gap that fell from the bluff maybe a thousand years ago or so. This rock would have deposited into the floodplain allowing for different vegetative growth not seen in other areas along the river. Additionally, this rock layer may have been an element in the River's change of position. Regardless, this feature is unique to the archaeological site vicinty and is essential to note when evaluating these geomorphic aspects. Our archaeological focus, the race track, was located in this area of the Missouri River Bottomland amidst the growth of vegetation and flooding. It's location is near where kite aerial photography and surface surveying was conducted. Our methodology has acknowledged all of the previous factors in evaluating the possible locality of the race track. After discussing this, I will present the results with an analysis.
|Fig 3. The DOQ image indicates the airfield and vicinity from which our data was
acquired. The orange square centered in the image is the presumed racetrack site. Green circles indicate where an old road may have existed and the
purple circles indicate an old stream channel. (Click image for larger view)
|Fig. 4. Digital photograph acquired in June, 2001. Vegetation is lush in the race track vicinity
to emphasize differences. The bottom-right quarter of the image shows a difference in forest cover.
This would indicative of the depression surveyed during the first field session.||Fig. 5. This digital photograph was acquired on Oct. 14, 2001. The view is further
south than the above image and lack of active vegetation is evident. Soil differences can
be determined by differences in ground cover now more distinct without forest cover.||Fig. 6. This color-infrared photo is of the same vicinity as the previous digital
photograph. Acquired on Oct. 14, 2001, this image emphasizes areas of active vegetation and
water. The bottom-right corner displays more small water bodies indicating the location of an
old stream channel. The old stream channel is shown in the above DOQ as purple circles.||Fig. 7. This aerial photograph was acquired on Oct. 14, 2001.
Perpendicular to the gravel road, a faint line indicates where the old road
existed. Though the vegetation is not as active in this image a slight
distinction can still be make.||Fig. 8. This image was derived from the above image to emphasize the old road. Notice
the horizontal line that runs through the center. This feature can be described as a crop marker.||All above images... © J.S. Aber.|
2001 E-mail communication with Matt Nowak. Natural Resources.
This webpage was designed for ES546 Field Geomorphology
Instructor: Dr. James S. Aber of Emporia State University
For questions or comments contact Elizabeth Wilson
Created on Nov 17, 2001