Mapping the Past
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was created because of a growing public concern that many of the nation’s historic sites and properties were not being protected and could possibly be harmed by federal and other development projects. This Act protects historic properties that are considered during federal project planning. Archaeologists research development sites and report findings and the identification of historic properties to state agencies like the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.
Archaeologists frequently use maps and other resources from the GIS Research and Map Collection at Ball State University to research development sites. The archaeologists can then more efficiently do field studies.
Mitchell Zoll, archaeologist for Pioneer Consulting Services and the former assistant director of the Ball State University Archaeological Resources Management Service, and his staff regularly use maps to conduct preliminary investigations on government and other development projects throughout the Midwest. The map Indiana, the Influence of the Indian upon Its History: with Indian and French Names for Natural and Cultural Locations (shown above), helps Zoll and his staff identify locations that may be of historic value. The map shows the locations of Native American villages in early Indiana, battle sites, historic trails, and the locations of the first White settlers in the area.
Larry Stillwell of Archaeological Consultants of Ossian frequently uses historic maps and U.S.G.S. topographic maps to research the historic value of development sites. Stillwell used maps from the GRMC to provide information to state agencies for the planning of the Honda production plant near Greensburg.
May is National Historic Preservation Month. The Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and other local agencies celebrate the month with special tours of historic sites, lectures and exhibits, award banquets, and highlight historic preservation efforts around the state and country. For more information, access the Department of Natural Resources’ Web page at http://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/