In 2015, Dr. Thomas Killion led a team of undergraduate and graduate students from the archaeology program in a non-invasive geophysical survey (ground penetrating radar and electro-magnetic prospection) on the old Parade Ground at Historic Fort Wayne in southwest Detroit (presently used by the City of Detroit Soccer leagues). Subsurface radar signals revealed features that may indicate prehistoric structures along the bank of the Detroit River a couple of miles downstream from the center of Detroit today. The work has been made possible with a generous grant from the Fort Wayne Coalition, a public service organization responsible for outreach, site maintenance and funding for special projects at the Fort.


The work has gone forward with the participation of Thomas Urban (Cornell University), an expert in geophysical research in archaeology who has spearheaded data collection, analysis and interpretation of the data collected this fall. This research also has received logistical support from the City of Detroit’s Historical Commission, the Parks and Recreation Department, the State of Michigan and the National Parks Service. Survey research is motivated by a desire to document evidence of pre-European settlement along the Detroit River as well as historic preservation concerns related to planning and development in advance of the construction of the Canada-US Gordie Howe Bridge immediately downstream of the Fort. Plans are underway to collaborate with tribal partners for work at the museum and outreach for Historic Fort Wayne. Dr. Thomas Killion is conducting on-going research with the help of Wayne State students to understand the significance of this historic fort.


For further information on visiting Historic Fort Wayne please see the city of Detroit's website.


Fort Wayne, completed in 1849, in Southwest Detroit. Parade Ground in upper left of map along river 


Plot of subsurface radar signals from the Fort Wayne Parade Ground indicating cut and fill patters from between about a foot to 6 feet below the surface


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