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'It's not often that you walk into the woods and you see such a thing': Vietnam training site being excavated at Fort Jackson

After stumbling upon some lost history, archaeologist crews are now digging up a site thought to be a mock village for military training.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Archaeologists are digging in the woods at Fort Jackson after stumbling on a piece of the military base’s history.

“What we’re standing on is what we believe is the mock village named Bau Bang," Director/Curator for the base's Basic Combat Museum Henry Howe told us, "Which was a training site for pre-Vietnam soldiers so they had immersion training to go overseas.”

Fort Jackson’s Cultural Resources Program is working with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology to investigate this site that was thought to be historic grounds after some logging that was taking place.

To be a historic site, the grounds must be over 50 years old which may have prevented the grounds from being looked into further before. 

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“There’s barbed wire fence around the entire boundary of the mock village. We think this is some sort of observation tower, we don’t exactly know what it was used for," Archaeologist Stacey Young told News19 pointing out a large wood construction on the site, "On either side of where this tower is there are two rows of building remains and the buildings were about 20 ft. wide and in most of them there seems to be a tunnel entrance.”

They are also finding smaller things as they do shovel tests across the area. Shovel tests described by Fort Jackson's media relations officer Leslie Ann "LA" Sully being, "The team will dig shovel tests, small square holes about 30cm x 30cm, in a grid pattern across the area to look for artifacts, any evidence of past land use, and to determine the extent of the site."

“We are finding shell casings from blanks that they were using, there seem to be two different types that we have found," Young says, "Some pieces of metal that maybe could have been part of a booby trap or some sort of other type of ammunition.”

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The investigation will continue for a few weeks as they piece together what exactly what used to be on these grounds.

“It’s a pretty neat thing to see," Young says , "Its not often that you walk into the woods and you see such a thing.”

Sully says the work is being done in compliance with Federal laws and regulations.

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