ENRD discovers oldest military training area | Article
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Cultural resources archaeologists with the Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the Public Works Branch examine evidence from the oldest military training area at the installation as a new project to construction begins.
The construction site will be the new location of the ground transportation building of the Electronic Proving Ground (EPG).
“Any ground-disturbing project, called an enterprise, requires an examination of the area and research to see if it has been studied by archaeologists and if any significant cultural resources have been found there,” said branch chief Martyn Tagg. of conservation and cultural resources ad interim. Director, ENRD.
The words cultural resources encompass a wide range of objects, entire landscapes, sacred sites and properties used by local or indigenous communities, Tagg said.
“Fort Huachuca has a wide range of cultural sites, from prehistoric villages to historic ranches and military training sites,” said Stanislava “Sasha” Romih, Cultural Resources Archaeologist, ENRD.
“It’s hard to go in any direction without impacting a cultural site,” Romih said.
The EPG construction site was investigated for unexploded ordnance and was recently deemed safe for Cultural Resources personnel to begin data recovery.
“The area was discovered to have been used during the World War II era for land mine training,” Tagg said.
ENRD has completed over 60 metal detection units and 12 test excavations at the site.
“Thousands of artifacts have been revealed such as horseshoes, ammunition casings spanning decades, horse gear, boot spurs, lines of wire fences or entanglements and bivouac supplies “, said Tagg.
“During the consultation, the Environmental and Natural Resources Division informs the parties of the army project,” Romih said.
While all interested parties strive to avoid sensitive areas, the military’s mission requirements sometimes mean the site can be negatively affected or destroyed, Romih said.
The intent here is to protect sites or recover as much information as possible in the event of an impact. For each undertaking, Fort Huachuca archaeologists consult with public and private stakeholders, including the Arizona State Office of Historic Preservation and 11 Native American tribes that claim cultural affiliation with the area.
Tagg explained that as data recovery progressed, the cultural resources team found evidence of five rounds of ammunition approximately every five feet, which can be interpreted as a line of fire.
“This is a tactical training method for cavalry troops in the 1890s to 1900s,” Tagg pointed out.
Jennifer Laqualia, Cultural Resources Lab Technician, ENRD, pointed to a bugle mouthpiece and its information card displayed on a table at the Cultural Resources Archeology Lab here.
“The date on the mouthpiece is May 2, 1883,” Laqualia said. “This is part of an instrument that was once used for military signals.
“It was discovered at the EPG data recovery site in an area used for cavalry training.”
All data retrieved from the site is analyzed and labeled with the date, the exact location where the artifact was found and a unique category number in case the item needs to be retrieved from the collections for further research, a added Laqualia.
The ENRD manages over 500 archaeological sites and over 140 historic buildings on the approximately 80,000 acres that make up the fort’s training grounds. Many of the facility’s oldest buildings are in the Old Post area at the mouth of the Huachuca Canyon and date to the 1880s and 1890s when Fort Huachuca was established.
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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command, and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multi-service population. Our unique environment encompasses 946 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of secure electronic ranges, key elements of the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County in southeastern Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Founded in 1877, the Fort was declared a national monument in 1976.
We are the home of the army. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca/.