The volunteers of BRAVO, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, work to promote public interest in history and archaeology. BRAVO’s purpose is to preserve, publicize, and enhance our country’s cultural heritage, from prehistory to the recent past, with an emphasis on our Battlefield Archaeology. Through archaeological digs, metal detecting surveys, and occasionally other geophysical subsurface surveys, BRAVO members locate and excavate historic artifacts and cultural features.
Although BRAVO was founded in 1999, its roots go back much further. In 1987, Dan Sivilich, the current president of BRAVO, secured permission from the owner to metal detect a farm field across from Monmouth Battlefield State Park in NJ. He found large quantities of musket balls which puzzled him. Being an engineer, he began mapping the artifact locations. With assistance from other friends, who are now BRAVO members, they discovered one of the areas of heaviest fighting that was part of the June 28, 1778 Battle of Monmouth. It was the area where General Washington relieved his second-in-command, General Charles Lee, who was subsequently court-martialed for his actions. Troops under General Anthony Wayne clashed with the British Grenadiers, Guardsmen, and Dragoons in hand to hand combat. The farm was subsequently bought by the State of NJ and is now part of the park. In 1990 Sivilich became one of the four founders of the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield. Working with the prominent archaeologist, Dr. Garry Wheeler Stone, who was assigned to Monmouth, surveying and mapping the battle in Monmouth Battlefield State Park was begun. Note: removing artifacts from Monmouth or any state historical site is ILLEGAL! BRAVO has a special permit to do so.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park was the first Revolutionary War battlefield ever excavated. To date, over 11,000 artifacts have been excavated, with 2,000 related to the 1778 Battle. Due to the efforts of BRAVO and all of the artifacts they have excavated, the State of NJ built and opened a new museum at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in 2013.
Since its founding, BRAVO has become a world leader in developing and using new methodologies for battlefield archaeology. Members have worked on conflict sites ranging from the 17th to the 19th centuries in the U.S. and Europe. Numerous conflict archaeology papers and presentations have been given around the world by Dan Sivilich.