Amache Internment Camp

Greetings everyone! After making the very long 3 day trek to Lamar, Colorado, me (Dr. Camp) and my students (Paige Davies and Josh Allen) have spent 5 days working at the University of Denver’s Amache Internment Camp’s archaeological project. This project is run by Dr. Bonnie Clark, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Denver. We had an incredible educational experience at the site, which we hope to detail in the upcoming weeks if our research at Kooskia does not consume all of our time. I am going to post some of the highlights of our trip below just in case we do not get a chance to detail our trip.

We arrived in Lamar, Colorado last Monday and met up with Laura Ng, a UMass Boston historical archaeology graduate student. Laura worked on my field school when I was conducting dissertation research back in 2006. It is great to see her own research interests on the Chinese and Japanese immigrant experience in America develop and flourish. We had a nice dinner at the oh-so-fancy Sonic restaurant (the only thing open in town by the time we got in!) and had a great time catching up.

From left to right: Dr. Camp, Duncan (Anita's husband), Anita, Paige, and Josh

On Tuesday, Dr. Clark gave us a site tour of Amache. During the tour, we met Anita and Carleen, who were internees at Amache as children. Meeting and talking with internees from Amache was quite a powerful experience for me. In archaeology, it is not too often that you encounter and work with the people who you are studying. Anita and Carleen are working on the site for two weeks – pretty impressive considering how hot it is at the site and how hard it is to conduct archaeological work!

My students were able to learn a variety of new archaeological skills while working at Amache; these skills included mapping archaeological features with a Trimble GeoXH GPS unit, conducting archival research in a museum environment, setting up and mapping with a theodolite, laying out a grid manually (with metric tapes), digging an excavation unit, filling out archaeological fieldwork forms, screening dirt, identifying some historic artifacts, and building and using a flotation tank. We also heard a lecture on the Harris Matrix, garden archaeology, and archaeobotanical analysis by Dr. Steve Archer. He provided loads of information on collecting and floating archaeobotanical samples. We are looking forward to sending Steve our soil samples from this summer.

Many thanks are owed to Dr. Clark, who was kind enough to spend two afternoons one-on-one with me, Paige, and Josh going through her fieldwork procedures and showing us garden features at Amache. This experience will allow us to conduct comparative research between gardens found Amache and Kooskia.


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