History, Archaeology, and the Lost Marines of Guadalcanal


This is an abstract from the "A Multidimensional Mission: Crossing Conflicts, Synthesizing Sites, and Adapting Approaches to Find Missing Personnel" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

In 2016 Garcia & Associates conducted forensic archaeological investigations for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Beginning on 7 August 1942 the Battle for Guadalcanal was the first major Allied offensive of World War II in the Pacific. The fight for this South Pacific Island included ground, air, and sea battles to maintain control of the airstrip known as Henderson Field. During the conflict, the ground war transpired from the airstrip to the Matanikau-Point Cruz area as the U.S Marines defended the airfield while simultaneously attempting to expand their foothold on the island. In late September 1942 five Marines from the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, were killed while assaulting a Japanese position near Mount Austen. These five Marines were buried in marked field graves. Although the burial location was recorded on a wartime sketch map, the Graves Registration Service was unable to relocate the graves. Decades later a multi-disciplinary team of DPAA historians, analysts, and archaeologists reopened the case conducting archival research, field interviews, and test excavations. Finally, after being lost for more than 73 years, the 2016 archaeological work confirmed the location of the burial site thought to be that of the five Marines.

Cite this Record

History, Archaeology, and the Lost Marines of Guadalcanal. Joshua Toney, Robert Thompson, Anthony Hewitt, Michael Desilets. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452474)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 117.598; min lat: -29.229 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 53.12 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25347