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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2017

Uncovering time: Archeologists perform excavations at Eustis

By Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A team made up of 733rd Civil Engineer Division Environmental Element archeologists and other contractors excavated on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, 2017, to determine its historic significance. 

Sifting through dirt, these archeologists searched for artifacts and soil-pattern changes, hoping to uncover hints about the lives of those who resided in the area long ago 

Excavations on military installations like this one help archeologist provide advice to installation leadership on proper methods for maintaining these areas depending on their significance. 

After referencing installation records and maps provided by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the archeological team began dig testing, creating a one-square-meter hole approximately 25 to 50 feet apart, to look for artifacts.

One of the archeologists uncovered a few artifacts, including ceramic pieces and rubble, dating back to the 20th century, leading the team to question more about area.

“Most of the records for the area were burned, so the only way to learn about these people is to dig them up,” said Tiffany Raszick, a contracted senior field archeologist. “We are finding so few artifacts here, and sometimes the things we don’t find tells us something too. It may mean when the people abandoned this site they probably took mostly everything with them, and more so, didn’t have much to begin with.”   

According to Dr. Christopher McDaid, 733rd CED Environmental Element cultural resources manager and archeologist, the significance of Fort Eustis’ archaeological sites is considered when planning construction projects on the installation. 

“All these sites we have are places where American history happened,” said McDaid. “Since we are charged with protecting and preserving it, we need to know what we have so we don’t inadvertently destroy that history. I think it’s important to understand the history of the place (where) you are, and see that you are part of a long continuum of American history at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.”

With 234 different archeological sites on Fort Eustis, the 733rd CED archeological team has the potential to yield significant historical findings which may be eligible for registry at national museums.