Just my own personal opinion, I prefer basements to crawlspaces...My own house (built in 1928) came with a basement under half of the structure and a 4' crawlspace under the other half. I so disliked the crawlspace half that excavated the other half, built up a reinforced concrete foundation wall on the other half, and poured a 6" reinforced slab floor there. Had same problems re dampnness, but these are obviously resolved now. I was also looking for extra usable space. Obviously it was a lot of work, and would have cost $30-40K, except I did it myself for under $4K...If you just want to control dampness, I'd suggest the following: 1) clear out the dirt to 6"+ below the foundation sill plates; 2) lay down a 6 mil minimum PE vapor barrier; 3) lay down a steel wire reinforcement above the vapor barrier; 4) four on approx 3-4 inches of concrete slab; and: 5) make sure the space is adequately ventilated. You will also do well to make sure that the perimeter soild around the foundation is well graded and drained. having done all this you will have a nice ahnd dry crawlspace...