“…there’s many things that would be lost forever in history if the archaeologists and anthropologists were not working on these things.”

Greg Richardson, Chairman
North Carolina Commission on Indian Affairs

Introduction

Fort Bragg, Home of the Airborne, was established in 1918 as an artillery training camp. Today it is one of the premier military training installations in the world and is home to the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, the 82nd Airborne Division, the US Army Special Operations Command, and the Army’s largest support command, the 1st Sustainment Command. Approximately 70,000 people train, work, or live on Fort Bragg each day.

Fort Bragg encompasses 161,497 acres and is located in the Sandhills region near Fayetteville, North Carolina. This includes Camp Mackall located southwest of Fort Bragg and Pope Army Air Field to the north.

The Sandhills are a narrow band of xeric (dry) sandy uplands that stretch across the Carolinas and Georgia. In North Carolina, the Sandhills are located within the inner coastal plain, just east of the fall line. The sands of the Sandhills were deposited by the ancient Atlantic Ocean over millions of years. The Sandhills contain one of the most diverse natural environments found in of the southeastern United States.

American Indians arrived in the Sandhills over 10,000 years ago. They took advantage of the region's resources, hunting game animals and collecting the wild plants that live in this diverse region. The first European explorers arrived on the coast of North Carolina in the 16th century. By the early 1700s Scottish and English immigrants began to settle the Cape Fear region and soon moved into the Sandhills. Enslaved African Americans were brought to the region to work on cotton plantations and in the turpentine industry. After emancipation they established their own farms and businesses or worked as tenant farmers and mill workers. Today information about many of these early residents is preserved in the region’s archaeological sites, historic buildings, cemeteries, historical documents, and oral histories. It is also reflected in the traditions of the region’s modern American, African American, and American Indian communities that continue to shape the culture of the Sandhills.

At Fort Bragg, a Cultural Resources Management Program was established in 1995 to inventory, evaluate, and protect archaeological sites and historic buildings on installation lands. Fort Bragg has a model program that helps the installation fulfill its obligation to protect cultural resources and promote stewardship of our history while supporting the Army mission. In addition, program staff has developed long-term agreements with federal and state-recognized Indian Nations and tribes that have historical ties to the land that is now Fort Bragg.

Invited representatives from consulting Indian Nations encouraged the installation to develop presentations that could share archaeology and American Indian history and culture with the public. Fort Bragg’s Cultural Resources Management Program developed this Web site and an accompanying video to educate and entertain students, teachers, researchers, and interested citizens. Explore this Web site to hear the many voices of the Sandhills expressed through archaeological investigation, historical research, oral traditions, music, food, arts and crafts, customs, traditions, and faith.