Playing Cards Help Soldiers Maintain Cultural Awareness During Foreign Deployment

Playing Cards Help Soldiers Maintain Cultural Awareness During Foreign Deployment
Arts & Culture

The archaeological awareness playing cards serve as guide and feature historic landmarks or artifacts.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 13 december 2013

To help educate US soldiers about the historic landmarks in the locations they are deployed to, the US Department of Defense released a deck of playing cards that feature archaeological sites or artifacts or a short description about what to do when encountering the sites or objects.

The “archaeology awareness playing cards” were designed by anthropologist and archaeologist Dr. Laurie W. Rush, manager of the Cultural Resources Program at Fort Drum, NY, and were created with Colorado State University. Three different sets of cards were created in various languages for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.


The cards are meant to not only help preserve valuable archaeological sites in areas where there are conflicts, but to also help soldiers gain a better appreciation and respect for other cultures.

The cards also help the soldiers gain the trust and respect of the locals by being aware of the local culture and traditions. For example, in Afghanistan burial sites are indicated by a pile of stones and a small flag. If a US military personnel unknowingly runs over the stones, they may anger the locals. Knowledge of the traditions can help avoid further conflicts with the locals.

The playing cards were first issued to US troops in 2007.


Source: Wired

Images: Laurie W. Rush via Predella

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