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Archaeological and Burial Sites Declared Sacred at Fort Ward

On Saturday, January 24, after an extended period of discussion, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved the implementation of the Fort Ward Management Plan. The new plan formally creates policies and procedures to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources of Fort Ward Park, and designates zones of known and suspected burial areas as “sacred” spaces to be protected from disturbance and preserved in situ.

The plan also commits the City to ongoing historical research and continuing the search for archaeological sites and currently unknown burial sites in the future and establishes ground disturbance protocols in specific areas of the park that mandate archaeological review of any action that requires penetration of the ground surface. The plan also establishes a process to inform the public of potential ground disturbance or archaeological investigation activities at least ten days advance, except in the case of an emergency, where the ten day requirement may be adjusted.
The first major element to be addressed will be the development of an Interpretive Plan for the parkland that will address the major themes associated with the park’s heritage, including Native American settlement, the Civil War and “Defenses of Washington” period, and the African American community “The Fort” that was established there in the post-Civil War period.

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