Guest Blog Post – By UI student Jamie Capawana

One of the savvy technological devices we have had the opportunity to work with is Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).  Dr. Robert Heinse was gracious enough to lend us his GPR equipment to use on our site.  A GPR is a device that uses radio waves to penetrate the ground to look for anomalies or features under the earth.  It was originally invented to locate German submarines in the Second World War.  After the war, geologists gained an interest in GPR and modified it to suit their research needs.  Today, archaeologists have found GPR incredibly helpful because it is a non-invasive means of excavation.  It allows archaeologists to look for the best places to dig and excavate.

April, one of our crew chiefs, has been working with GPR for 3 years now and was an excellent teacher in showing us how to conduct GPR research.  To conduct a GPR survey we first started by deciding where our datum point would be to build our grid off of.  This point was chosen by finding a point where we had the most usable land to grid.  We then began pushing the GPR unit over the landscape.  We conducted five different surveys over our site: 3 at Apgar, and 2 at internee housing.  We were mainly looking for disturbances in the soil that could possibly have been gardens from the internees.  So far we have not found any garden features, but we were able to find some building foundations, which was really exciting.  By finding these foundations we are able to start placing the map on the ground, which could give us some idea as to where the gardens were in relation to the structures.

There are many other things that we would like to do with the GPR at the Kooskia Internment Camp archaeological site.  Firstly, we would like to use a strong antenna to see if it changes our original results.  By using a strong antenna we might be able to find more detailed features such as subtle soil changes indicating a possible garden.  We would also like to extend our original grids out further based off of historical photos of the site.

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