Fort Campbell encompasses approximately 105,000 acres. One-third of the installation or about 34.3 percent is unavailable for any type of cultural resources investigation due to mission constraints including the North Impact Zone, the Small Arms Impact Area, the ASP area, and the Cantonment area. Of the remaining 69,000 areas, only 8,000 acres or about 12 percent have not yet been studied.
Archaeological investigations have changed through time beginning with location specific limited shovel testing or surface collecting to the more recent systematic shovel testing surveys based on a 20 meter interval grid and larger block excavations.
As of January 2012, Fort Campbell’s inventory lists 1,670 archaeological sites. This total includes 799 sites characterized primarily as prehistoric, 432 sites characterized as historic, and 429 sites that contain both their prehistoric and historic components. These site counts will likely be revised as a result of continuing efforts to update the installation’s inventory since many of the sites recorded as “prehistoric” also were reported to contain some historic cultural material, and in some cases historic features. Such also is the case for many of the sites characterized as historic.
The most common prehistoric site types include lithic scatters (small scatters of stone flaking debris associated with the processes of extraction from quarries and manufacture of stone tools like projectile points), hunting camps, and open occupations. Lithic scatters are typical features of all these site types which, only occasionally, include other objects like prehistoric ceramics, ground stone tools like axes, or human remains. By far, the most common type of site is open-air, confined to the plow zone (upper layer of soil), and composed of a light deposit of flakes, possibly with a retouched/resharpened tool. Very rarely, more deeply stratified deposits are encountered which contain organic remains, notably along floodplain settings like Saline Creek.
The most common historic site types include cemeteries, historic artifact scatters, and the remains of rural buildings and structures (either domestic or outbuildings). Historic sites at Fort Campbell generally consist of small artifact scatters of ceramics and glass related to dumping, larger artifact scatters associated with ruined buildings, and extant structural remnants such as cisterns, cellar holes, foundations and footer supports, fence lines, and sunken roads.
The Area that became Fort Campbell once contained over 200 identified historic cemeteries. Less than half of them were moved off the installation with the initial construction of the post. Approximately 170 historic-era cemeteries are thought to remain.