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The Archaeological Conservancy (TAC) and the West Virginia Land Trust (WVLT) have begun finalizing plans for public access at the Arbuckle’s Fort Archaeological Preserve, which was acquired jointly by the two organizations in 2020. The site, located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, contains the remains of a frontier fort that was constructed in 1755 under the direction of Captain Matthew Arbuckle. As European settlement expanded in the region, this pressure increased the number of attacks between these settlers and Native Americans who were already in the area. The fort was initially built to protect settlers from raids, though it also likely served as a community gathering place. It would later be used during the American Revolution. Archaeologists Dr. Kim Arbogast McBride and Dr. Stephen McBride, with a team from the University of Kentucky, conducted excavations on the fort in the 1990s. This work uncovered the outline of the fort and a number of features related to its use. 

TAC and WVLT jointly own and manage the property. Given the interest in the site from the local community, the organizations are planning to add a small parking area to the preserve with interpretive signage about the importance of the site. There will also be a short trail that will allow visitors to explore the property. As Arbuckle’s Fort dates to early European settlement in the region, it offers an opportunity to understand this period from both the view of settlers and Native Americans, while also sharing information on the natural resources that made this area attractive for settlement and hunting. 

The aim is to have the amenities completed within the next year, though the site will be open early for a public event on June 10, 2023 as part of the Greenbrier Historical Society’s “Homes Among the Hills” tour that will feature early homes in the county. Including Arbuckle’s Fort in this event will create an opportunity for the public to learn about Native Americans who made their home in the region long before colonial settlers. Archaeologists and representatives from TAC and WVLT will be on site to share artifacts and information about the importance of preserving archaeological sites.