Border wall construction threatens archaelogical sites


National News

September 19, 2019 - 9:39 AM

WASHINGTON — The construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border could damage — or even destroy — up to 22 archaeological sites at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona, according to a report from the National Park Service that was obtained by the Washington Post.

The 123-page internal report dated July 2019 summarized the findings from a survey of 11.3 miles of land along the border in southwestern Arizona that experts said is home to an “abundance of natural and cultural resources unique to the Sonoran Desert.” The report said previous research from the agency recorded 17 archaeological sites that “likely will be wholly or partially destroyed by forthcoming border fence construction.” A more recent survey in June identified five more sites that would be affected.

The border wall construction on the land overseen by the National Park Service, as described in the report, would replace existing barriers with taller steel fences that are anchored by deep concrete and steel foundations. It would also create new roads along the U.S. side of the border, and include installation of surveillance equipment. That construction, archaeologists warn in the report, means on-site “cultural and natural resources are imperiled.”

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