Cultural Resources Program Area
Archaeological Resource Protection
Fort Lee's Cultural Resource program embraces four main components: History, Archaeology, Preservation, and Outreach. The primary mission focuses on compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which requires all federal agencies to take into account the effects of their activities on historic properties and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (via the State Historic Preservation Officer) an opportunity to comment prior to the approval of the expenditure of any Federal funds on the activity or the issuance of any license. The program provides support for Fort Lee's mission while protecting and managing historic properties and ensures integration of cultural resources with mission activities.
Cultural resources on the installation are protected under federal law. In accordance with Fort Lee Policy No. 03-12, it is illegal to use a metal detector ANYWHERE on Fort Lee. You can help support the protection of cultural resources at Fort Lee by understanding that it is illegal to remove or damage artifacts or sites on Federal property and if you see something you think may be a historic resource, please do not hesitate to contact the Cultural Resource Manager (CRM), Staff Archaeologist or Curator at the following numbers.
Cultural Resource Program
Renovated Exhibit Room
Long before what is today Fort Lee began as Camp Lee in 1917 to provide logistical support for World War I, the land on which it is located was lived on and cultivated by Native Americans. Over 8,000 years ago, small mobile bands of individuals would gather resources over large areas, establishing temporary camps near locations such as rivers and stone quarries. Over time, populations adapted to changing environments and resource availability by foraging a wider range of resources and later establishing larger camps from which concentrated resources, such as aquatic food sources, could be gathered. Prior to European contact, this gradually shifted into a greater reliance on growing fruits and vegetables to support an increasing population and protection using palisaded villages. Initial European contact was followed by European settlers who continued to farm the land through the Civil War up until it was acquired by the War Department for use during World War I. Now buried below ground, the remains of Native American habitation and agricultural areas provide a glimpse into past lifeways and are generally referred to as cultural resources, as are the houses, farmsteads, battlefields and burial grounds left behind by later settlers. Even the Fort Lee Theatre, constructed in 1949 and still in use today, is a cultural resource.
In accordance with Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), every federal agency is required to manage and maintain the cultural resources under its control in a sustainable manner through a comprehensive program that considers the preservation of historic, archaeological, architectural, and cultural values; is mission supporting; and results in sound and responsible stewardship. Further, Section 106 of the NHPA requires federal agencies to assess and account for impacts to any cultural resource which is, or has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). By definition, any activity involving ground altering disturbance, regardless of depth, has the potential to cause effects to historic properties because we cannot see what is below ground. This is true even for areas which have already been disturbed or even completely developed, where individual artifacts and portions of once intact sites are often found today during construction.
Fort Lee's cultural resources, which include both archaeological and architectural sites, are managed by the Directorate of Public Works, Environmental Management Division. The Fort Lee Regional Archaeological Curation Facility (RACF), located in Building 5222, is also part of the Directorate of Public Works. The primary responsibility of the CRM is to ensure Fort Lee's compliance with federal cultural resource protection laws by reviewing all proposed work on the installation early in the planning process for potential impacts to historic properties. It is important to review each project as early as possible in the planning process so in the event an effect is likely, other alternatives can be considered. The review process also involves consultation with other cultural resource stakeholders such as the Virginia Historic Resources Division, representatives of Native American tribes with a cultural connection to the area, and the public. These tasks are achieved with the help of specially qualified contractors who support the identification and protection of all cultural resources and artifacts found at Fort Lee.
Another responsibility of the CRM is day to day management of the RACF. The primary purpose of the RACF is to ensure that Fort Lee's archaeological collection is curated in accordance with federal law, specifically, 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 79. Additionally, the RACF provides the same service to other DoD components in the mid-Atlantic region on a cost reimbursable basis. The facility currently has more than a half-million individual artifacts collected from federal property throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The RACF also has an exhibit room which showcases over 700 artifacts recovered from Fort Lee. The exhibit room is open to the public Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. or by appointment. Visitors are always welcome.
DoD components (or historic preservation service providers under contract to DoD) who are interested in curating federally-owned artifact collections with the RACF should contact the Cultural Resource Manager at 804-734-4434. The facility offers 24 hour military police and emergency monitoring, artifact processing and over 3,000 cubic feet of storage space. Items accepted for curation must meet collections standards and the agency with ownership of the collection must also sign a Memorandum of Agreement for curation services.
Artifact Mending Exercise
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Demostration
Lastly, the RACF occasionally hosts or participates in outreach programs designed to teach students, individuals or groups about the exciting field of archaeology. If you are interested in participating in such an event or volunteering, contact the CRM for more information.
Building 5222 is located at the corner of Shop Road and 22nd Street, behind the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum and the U.S. Army Women's Museum. For more information feel free to call the CRM or email firstname.lastname@example.org