Officials at Camp Dodge have uncovered a nearly century-old trench site, used by approximately 120,000 soldiers preparing to deploy overseas to fight in World War I. Mary Jones, Environmental Specialist with the Iowa National Guard, says they've been looking for this site for years, which was discovered after analyzing modern satellite imagery.
The trenches criss-cross through the ground by Beaver Creek, and are now completely covered by trees and brush. Jones says the area has been left untouched all these years, because its in the firing range "safety fan", so people do not walk or drive in this part of the camp.
"That’s why it got spared, because no one decided to build a building here, or build a range here. So, it has not been disturbed. Although, it's close to Beaver Creek, so there's evidence of flooding, and of course Mother Nature has taken over," Mary Jones.
The trenches, which were once 5 to 6 feet deep, now look like 4 to 5 feet deep creek beds zig-zagging through the trees. Several artifacts, including grenades, gun pieces and bullet casings have been found since excavation began last week. Jones says hundreds of items may be discovered during this first phase of digging.
Significant archeological findings could support placement of the site on the National Register of Historic Places.