The Bureau of Reclamation

While frontier army outposts like Fort Craig aided the development of the American West, projects of the Bureau of Reclamation have also transformed the region.

Reclamation was established in 1902 to harness water resources throughout the nation’s seventeen western states. Since then, Reclamation has built such monumental projects as the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. Throughout the West, Reclamation operates or maintains another 180 projects including dams, power plants, reservoirs, and canals.

Inevitably when developing large infrastructures along rivers or in valleys these projects are often located where archaeological or historic sites exist. As a matter of protocol Reclamation makes thorough archaeological impact studies in an attempt to mitigate damage to archaeological resources. For this reason, Reclamation archaeologists found it particularly galling that someone had dug up graves in a deserted military cemetery located on Reclamation property.

Shortly after receiving a tip about the Fort Craig cemetery looting, Reclamation archaeologists resolved to investigate the case despite the crimes having been committed over thirty years earlier. At the onset of their investigation, however, the Reclamation team had no idea what bizarre twists the Fort Craig case would involve.

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