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Military veterans working on archaeological project

A group of U.S. military veterans are working on a project to sort through a massive government collection of Native American artifacts.

The collection dates to the 1930s, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started building dozens of locks, dams and reservoirs, and the ground beneath them was excavated for archaeological treasures.

In recent weeks, U.S. veterans — many disabled — have begun processing, cataloguing, digitizing and archiving the collection as part of a one-year $3.5 million project, funded with federal stimulus money.

It’s part of the corps’ effort to find American Indian cultural items and return them to tribes or their descendants — something all federal agencies must do under a 1990 law.

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