AMELIA, Italy — Laurie Rush is on a mission. The American scientist is teaching the U.S. military about the value of archeological sites and ancient artifacts in combat zones.
Rush joined forces with the U.S. military in 1998, when she accepted a civilian post as an archeologist at Fort Drum, New York. The area is rich in Native American history, Rush’s specialty, and part of her job is to ensure that construction and training on the vast base don’t harm any valuable archeological sites.
That’s what happened in the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon in 2003 following the U.S.-led invasion. As American and Polish troops were building a camp, they inadvertently crushed an ancient brick pavement and destroyed dragon decorations on the Ishtar Gate, which was constructed at around 575 BC.
“My participation, and the entire change in my own personal career, came with learning that there had been damage at Babylon,” Rush says. “It immediately occurred to me that a better educated force would not have made those kinds of mistakes.” Read more.
An award-winning project using archaeology to aid the recovery of soldiers from The Rifles injured on Operation Herrick continues its success on Salisbury Plain.
‘Operation Nightingale’ has this week received a special award from the British Archaeological Awards in recognition of its innovative use of archaeological work to boost the recovery and career prospects of military personnel injured in Afghanistan.
This unique, and hugely successful, programme continues with investigations into the Bronze Age and Anglo-Saxon deposits at Barrow Clump. Soldiers are excavating material, including Saxon grave goods, moved by badgers who have constructed their setts on the prehistoric monument. Read more.
Transitioning from military service to civilian life remains daunting for many veterans, but the men and women staffing a north Old Town archaeology laboratory are getting a lift from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Inside the small North St. Asaph Street office a handful of veterans pours through portions of the corps’ massive archaeological collection, updating records, photographing artifacts and storing them in protective containers. During their six-month stint with the Veterans Curation Program, they learn valuable job skills and earn a competitive wage, officials said, preparing them for postwar life.
“These veterans are learning how to manage databases, records management, scanning documents and relearning how to be in a regular office environment,” said Susan Malin-Boyce, VCP director. “A lot of these guys are young guys who thought [the military] was going to be their career and they didn’t know what to do next.” Read more.
Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii — There is a skull here, hundreds of fragments of bones there. Table after table is lined with human remains. One holds a near-complete skeleton, another has hundreds of tiny pieces of bone that could come from many different people. Together, it tells the story of life and death in the military.
At the world’s largest skeletal identification laboratory more than 30 forensic anthropologists, archaeologists and dentists of Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command are working to put names to the remains.
Based at Hickam Air Force Base — site of the Pearl Harbor attack — in Honolulu, Hawaii, JPAC is made up of all branches of the U.S. military and civilian scientists, united in the goal of bringing back all 84,000 U.S. service members who went missing during war or military action.
The unit researches old war records and combs battle sites and aircraft crash sites in some of the most remote locations around the world.
Any recovered remains are brought back to JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory.
The mission is to bring answers to families who may have been waiting 60 years or more to hear anything about a loved one. Read more.
An overgrown site on Alderney has been found to be one of the best-preserved Roman military structures in the world.
Island tradition had long suggested the site, known as the Nunnery, dated back to Roman times, although excavations since the 1930s had always proved inconclusive.
A joint project between Guernsey Museums and the Alderney Society was set up in 2008 to find the answers.
Over four August bank holiday weekends, a team of a dozen volunteers undertook various excavations to determine the history of the site.
Dr Jason Monaghan, Guernsey Museums director, said: “In 2009 we proved there was a Roman building inside the Nunnery and began to suspect this was a tower as all the northern English forts have a tower in the middle.
"In 2010 we went back specifically looking to prove there was a tower there - and ‘wow’ is there a tower. Read more.
Archaeology museum now a Blue Star site The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is reaching out to active-duty military member and their families. The museum, at 4301 Trans Mountain, recently joined the National Blue Star Museums Program, which is a group of 800 museums that offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families during the summer. The local museum offers free admission to everyone, yet by joining this group it is now listed on Blue Star’s website, bluestarfam.org/Programs/Blue_Star_Museums. This helps raise the museum’s visibility with military families who are relocating to El Paso or who just moved here. The city-run museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. It is closed Mondays and city holidays. (source)
Archaeology museum now a Blue Star site
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is reaching out to active-duty military member and their families.
The museum, at 4301 Trans Mountain, recently joined the National Blue Star Museums Program, which is a group of 800 museums that offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families during the summer.
The local museum offers free admission to everyone, yet by joining this group it is now listed on Blue Star’s website, bluestarfam.org/Programs/Blue_Star_Museums.
This helps raise the museum’s visibility with military families who are relocating to El Paso or who just moved here.
The city-run museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. It is closed Mondays and city holidays. (source)
Daniel Harrison spent a big part of summer 2009 in waders on the banks of a tributary to the Huron River in Brownstown Township, counting, measuring and pinpointing the location of 607 logs on a largely forgotten road that played a key role in the War of 1812.
Now the old road — a military supply route hastily carved through fields, forest and swamps in Ohio and Michigan on the eve of the war and long since abandoned — is receiving its historical due.
The only known log remnant of the 200-mile Hull’s Trace is considered by some to be the state’s first major road. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January, and a state historical marker is in the works, just in time for next year’s bicentennial commemorations of the War of 1812 across Michigan. Read more.