MCBCL Archaeology


Archaeology on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune


The ultimate goal of MCB Camp Lejeune’s preservation program is to identify and evaluate all cultural resources pursuant to the National Register of Historic Places criteria for evaluation, and to provide a program for managing those resources that are eligible for listing in the National Register.


Cultural resources are defined as buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites, historic landscapes, cemeteries, Traditional Cultural Places, Indian sacred sites, and objects of significance in history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture (OPNAVINST 5090.1C).  These are nonrenewable resources that illustrate the historical development of our nation and are distributed across the landscape as a reflection of prehistoric and historic processes and events.

Federal agencies have a special role as stewards of historic resources; this responsibility is recognized in the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended; in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA); in Executive Order No. 11593 (Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment) and Executive Order No. 13287 (Preserve America); and in numerous other Federal laws and regulations. 

The Marine Corps and Navy have recognized their historic preservation responsibilities in “Protection” Marine Corps Order (MCO) P5090.2A Chapters 8,  11, and 12 (Change 2), MCO 5090.4A (13 February 2007), SECNAVINST 4000.35A (9 April 2001), and OPNAVINST 5090.1C Chapter 27 (30 October 2007). As stated in these instructions, the Marine Corps and Department of the Navy’s (DON) policy towards historic and archaeological resources is to:

(a)  Incorporate preservation considerations into routine management of historic buildings, districts, sites, ships, aircraft, and other cultural resources.

(b)  Initiate timely consultation with SHPOs, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Native Americans, other interested agencies, and the public whenever the DON conducts or supports undertakings that may affect any National Register eligible or listed property.

Intensive surveys have been conducted, resulting in a complete inventory of the archaeological resources at MCB Camp Lejeune and a complete inventory of the architectural resources that were built before 1947 at MCB Camp Lejeune.

The various archaeological surveys at MCB Camp Lejeune have consisted of intensive shovel testing and pedestrian survey in areas of variable potential for cultural resources. Information gathered from these investigations was supplemented by data recorded from archaeological surveys conducted in the vicinity of MCB Camp Lejeune to facilitate the development of a preliminary model of prehistoric settlement along the New River. All areas with a high potential for containing archaeological sites have been subject to identification surveys.  Additionally, the NCSHPO has determined that large areas of MCB Camp Lejeune and its auxiliary facilities do not need additional survey due to safety concerns or low probability of containing significant archaeological resources.

A total of 1,244 archaeological sites have been identified at MCB Camp Lejeune, including prehistoric, historic, and multicomponent sites.  Nineteen of these sites are considered eligible for listing on the National Register, and an additional 163 sites are awaiting NRHP eligibility determinations and are recommended for Phase II evaluation, 38 of which have been evaluated as of November 2008, and are awaiting NCSHPO concurrence.

Click here to learn more about the guidelines archaeologists must follow