Rebuilding The Past
Archaeological investigations of the Fort Southwest Point site began in 1974. During the summers of 1974 and 1975, archaeological crews from the University of Tennessee exposed portions of foundations of six fort buildings and amassed a sizable collection of fort-period artifacts. They also discovered several other features, including remains of a massive stone wall at the west end of the fort.
In 1984 a second dig was done as a cooperative endeavor between the Department of Conservation and the City of Kingston. Their objective was to begin some kind of reconstruction of the fort, but the immediate goal of the project, conducted by the Department of Conservation’s Division of Archaeology, was to interpret the remains of one building thoroughly and to develop a much clearer understanding of the forts general plan. By the end of 1984 field seasons the location of thirteen buildings was positively known or strongly suggested and a reasonably clear plan had emerged.
In 1996 a third archaeological study was done. Students from Roane State Community College assisted the Department of Conservation. As the result of their work, we have a detailed knowledge of a third major building, which we now understand was primarily used for administrative and storage purposes.