Guest Blog Post – By UI Student Sara Galbraith

This field season our research team hasn’t been able to excavate many units, but the few we have opened have given us an incredible amount of information. A unit is a one by one meter square that is dug at 10 centimeter levels in order to fully expose any artifacts below the surface.  Two units, Unit A and B, will greatly help future work on the Kooskia Internment Camp project because they can help us determine the spatial context of the camp. 

Work on Unit B began following the excavation of another unit nearby, Unit A. Unit A was found after a shovel test was performed by a couple of the project students. A shovel test is a 50 centimeter wide hole that is dug to quickly determine if an area has any cultural material. While this shovel test was being dug students reached a concrete slab after 16 cm. Then a unit was excavated at this spot to determine the extent of the slab and possibly determine what area of a building it was.

After the excavation ended on Unit A we performed a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey to help determine what else was in the area and the test showed a possible feature much greater than the excavated unit. To test the GPR results we started another excavation unit, Unit B, directly southeast of the first unit. After digging down 20 centimeters we hit another cement slab that corresponds with the one in Unit A.  These two units together appear to form the foundation of one of the internment camp buildings.

The jury is still out on which building is associated with the foundation. The steps in Unit A seem to head out of a building rather than into one, and the slab in Unit B matches up with the bottom of the steps in Unit A. Also, depth measurements of corresponding ash layers place the Unit B slab below that of Unit A.  In future excavations we hope to excavate further in this area in order to see the full extent of the foundation and possibly identify the building to which it belongs.


Unit A and B; Unit A in the Northwest corner, Unit B in the Southeast corner,

Photo courtesy of Dana Shew

Unit B, Photo courtesy of Dana Shew


2 thoughts on “Guest Blog Post – By UI Student Sara Galbraith

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  1. Your mention of the ash layer reminded me – did you/does Stacey know that the admin. building burned down in May 1938, (from an overheated stove) during the Canyon Creek Prison Camp phase? See Lewiston Morning Tribune, May 11, 1938, p. 12. It was rebuilt, and somewhere I have seen a photo of it under construction.

  2. Priscilla – This is wonderful information! Perhaps this is what the ashy later is, though I also have visions of campers from the 1960s and 70s sitting on the step making a campfire since it was used as a campground. Do you think the step would have been exposed at that time?


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