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7 May 2019 The 19th Century Fruitland Schoolhouse: Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Technology to Investigate and Document Archaeological Ruins at the Ross Natural History Reservation in Lyon County, Kansas
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Abstract

The ruins of the 19thcentury Fruitland Schoolhouse were investigated and documented using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology to determine the extent of the ruins and to acquire high-resolution imagery of the archaeological site in its entirety, a perspective not obtainable using ground-based photography. The Fruitland Schoolhouse was a structure with a limestone foundation that was built by Quakers Thomas H. and Mary W. Stanley in the late-1860s on what is today known as the Ross Natural History Reservation (RNHR) in Lyon County, Kansas. The schoolhouse served as both an educational and religious center throughout the mid-to-late-19thcentury, but today lies abandoned and overgrown with dense vegetation, largely hidden from view. In 2012, the location of this archaeological site was rediscovered after a large wildfire exposed the schoolhouse's foundation stones, the only extant portion of the original schoolhouse structure.

A scheduled burn at the Ross Reservation in the spring of 2017 allowed for an aerial investigation of the site and surrounding property via UAS. Aerial imagery revealed for the first time that, in addition to the 9 m x 9 m schoolhouse, the foundation of a limestone wall approximately 100 m x 50 m surrounds the Fruitland Schoolhouse property, and a hand-dug well also remains in the southeastern corner of the site. The use of small-format aerial photography, in concert with ground-based photography and ground-truthing methods, proved advantageous in the documentation of this historically significant archaeological site located in the eastern Flint Hills of Kansas. Remote-sensing via UAS has great potential in terms of site identification, and can be instrumental to both the physical and digital preservation of archaeological ruins.

Alivia J. Allison and Chris M. Pettit "The 19th Century Fruitland Schoolhouse: Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Technology to Investigate and Document Archaeological Ruins at the Ross Natural History Reservation in Lyon County, Kansas," Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 122(1-2), 69-85, (7 May 2019). https://doi.org/10.1660/062.122.0107
Published: 7 May 2019
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