People with shovels have been digging holes all over the Iowa National Guard post at Camp Dodge — but they aren’t practicing the technique for proper foxholes. They’re digging into history to locate structures built to house soldiers during World War one. Archaeologist Tom Butler of Marion says one of the structures they’re working on is the commanding general’s quarters. He says they’re testing to see if there are any archeological piers and foundations that might tell more about the office. And they’re looking for artifacts associated with the occupation. Some 150-thousand soldiers lived and trained in the facilities from 1917 to 1919, and then the structures were demolished once the war was over. He says they did not know if there were any intact remains. He says a lot of it is buried in fill, but there are some intact remains that gives them an idea of the size of the buildings. Butler says they’ve been probing and digging with shovels in six or seven areas on the base. He says there’s a very accurate map that was created and now they’ve gone back and confirmed the location of a lot the buildings, barracks, officer’s quarters, civic buildings. He says they’ve also found some other items that give clues to what life was like for the soldiers. He says they’ve found various pieces of window glass, ceramics, roofing nails and common nails used at that time. Butler says they’ll make a report to the Iowa Guard and the state Historical Society. He says all the artifacts they’ve collected will go to the Goldstar Museum. Butler says they’ve been working on the project for seven weeks and will wrap it up in another week.
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