Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project – Weeks 3 and 4 Summary

The last few weeks of an archaeological dig are always the most hectic. They involve getting the last of the units excavated, drawing maps (or what we archaeologists call “profiles”) of the side walls of excavation units, backfilling any units we’ve opened with dirt, packing up the dig vehicle and making several trips back to the lab to drop off equipment and artifacts, and ensuring the site is clean and absent of any archaeological remants and equipment.

In addition to these activities, I always try to host at least one public and community outreach event. My dissertation advisor hosted a number of model Public Archaeology Days at the Presidio (see her project website here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/presidio/), which helped me experience firsthand the benefit of reaching out to the public.

The Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project’s Public Archaeology Day was held on August 8, 2010. We had over 40 members of the public show up for the event, with some hailling from as far away as Moscow! The event was hosted by Three Rivers Resort (http://www.threeriversresort.com/), who were kind enough to feed us and provide us with a discounted lunch after the Public Archaeology Day event flooded all the restaurants surrounding Lowell. The event consisted of a display of artifacts excavated from the internment camp this summer, a lecture on the camp and book signing by Dr. Priscilla Wegars, and a site tour. Photos of the event can be seen by clicking the “Gallery” tab above, but I have posted a few images from it below as well.

One of the most rewarding aspects of holding this Public Archaeology Day was being able to meet several community members who either shared firsthand memories of the camp or had family or friends who had worked with or met some of the internees. One gentleman told me about his father who worked as a dentist in Kamiah and recalled working on the teeth of some of the internees. We found a number of artificial teeth and dentures while excavating at the site this summer. Perhaps these objects were once manufactured by this gentleman’s father!

I am planning on getting touch with members of the public who wish to share stories about the camp in the upcoming weeks. If you or someone you know has information about the site, please contact me, Stacey Camp, at scamp@uidaho.edu. If you met me at the Public Archaeology Day, I will be getting in touch with you shortly once the semester starts.

Stacey Camp discussing artifacts from the camp with a visitor.

Dr. Wegars giving a lecture on her historical research, which is documented in her new book on the Kooskia Internment Camp.

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