The Fort Bragg Cultural Resources Management Team recently won Army-level recognition for their work in preserving historical and archeological artifacts on the installation.
They were awarded first place in the Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards, in the "Cultural Resources Conservation, Team Award, Installation" category for fiscal year 2012.
The 12-person group of archaeologists and historical preservation experts inventoried 4,500 acres on Fort Bragg to ensure compliance with federal laws. In addition, the team documented the finding and location of two important archaeological discoveries, made by others, in the installation's training areas.
Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton, installation archaeologist and curator at Bragg, said the discoveries included a tool dating to 12,000 B.C. and stone slabs from approximately 2,000 years ago. These are the latest prehistoric items found on Fort Bragg.
"The one find was slabs of raw quarried stone used for weapons and other tools, while the other was an ancient Clovis point used for a spear or other cutting tools," she said.
The Paraglide, Fort Bragg's installation newspaper, reported the Wilmore cache of stone quarry slabs and an ancient Clovis point enhanced the knowledge of the earliest people to inhabit the Fort Bragg region.
The Wilmore cache was named after Jim Wilmore, the forester grader operator who found it in the fall of 2011. It is an Archaic-period collection of pre-forms, or blanks, for creating weapons. It was buried more than 2,000 years before being uncovered in grading operations. The cache contains about 180 pieces of stone that are hand-size or smaller. It weighs close to 30 pounds, about what one person could comfortably carry overland, on foot.
The Fayetteville Observer earlier reported the Clovis point was found during a combat engineering training event near Sicily Drop Zone by Sgt. Mark Shannon and Pfc. Matthew Johnson, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. They reported the find, and the Cultural Reserves Team documented it and its location. The point is made of rhyolite, a material from the Slate Belt region of North Carolina. It is the most complete one of these points found on Fort Bragg lands.
"The receipt of this award validates long-overdue recognition of the staff's long-held commitment to Fort Bragg's sustainability goal: 'the right way, the green way, all the way,'" said Charles Heath, archaeologist.
Other archaeological sites on Fort Bragg include an ancient American Indian campsite, a family homestead dating to the 18th century, and the site of a minor Civil War battle, officials said.
Carnes-McNaughton said archaeologists have been working at Bragg since at least 1995 documenting and preserving its historic legacy and her team is delighted to have won the award.
While Fort Bragg is not home to a museum that displays all of the artifacts found and protected, they are loaned to other museums and other units.
According to Carnes-McNaughton, the preservation oversight includes 27 historic cemeteries and 388 buildings more that 50 years old, with two of those buildings, the Longstreet and Sandy Grove Chapels, dating back to the 19th century.
The surveys and preservation efforts help reduce restrictions on training lands while maintaining compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act.
"One of our biggest challenges is ensuring the historical sites, structures and landscapes, along with Native American sites, are preserved for future generations while reaching a sustainable balance between that preservation effort and new missions," said Carnes-McNaughton.
As the winner of this Secretary of the Army environmental award category, the Fort Bragg Cultural Management Team will go on to represent the Army and compete at the next level at the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards this spring. The competition recognizes individuals, teams and installations for their outstanding achievements to conserve and sustain the natural and cultural resources entrusted to the entire Department of Defense.