Greetings everyone! This year’s field season has been one of great excitement and discoveries. We had an excellent field crew, and stayed at a very welcoming place (Three Rivers Resort in Lowell, ID). It was sad to end the field season last week, but we are very thankful for the company of Three Rivers Resort and the hospitality of Lowell and Kooskia residents.
This year we finished an extensive surface survey of a trash midden associated with the Kooskia Internment Camp as well as Canyon Creek Federal Prison. We thought we had done a fairly good job canvassing the site on our hands and knees (what is called a “crawl survey” rather than a “pedestrian survey”) back in 2010, but we quickly discovered that there was still a lot remaining on the surface of the midden that had yet to be discovered. With the energy of volunteers from the College of Western Idaho (led by CWI faculty member Nikki Gorrell who drove her students all the way from Boise to Kooskia!) and our students and volunteers, we were able to cover a broader span of land than in the previous field season. We searched under rocks, trees, water in the creek, brushes, and fallen trees to find additional artifacts associated with the internment camp era. Our crawl survey produced a number of exciting finds featured in the last blog post, including a hand-carving of an animal in a piece of rock (possibly an otter), a porcelain vase featuring a dragon clay relief, buttons, and gaming pieces.
One of our additional goals for 2013 was to attempt to determine the location of the camp’s Canteen. We are fairly confident we discovered the location of it based on the excavation of two 1×1 meter units that revealed very few artifacts. The presence of building-related artifacts on the surface of these units, such as insulators and electrical wiring, also suggests to us that we may have found the building’s former location.
Public Archaeology Day
One of the best parts of our job is to share what we have found with the public, as well as to give them a glimpse into the life of an archaeologist. We were fortunate to be able to host another Public Archaeology Day this year, and our crew did a brilliant job setting the event up and coming up with ideas for it. The event was widely advertised and we had over 50 people show up from it from all over the states of Idaho and Washington.
We had two tables that featured artifacts found during the 2013 excavations, along with identification books that helped show members of the public how archaeologists date, price, and interpret artifacts. We had a PowerPoint slideshow of finds from 2010 running on one of those tables, along with sign-in sheets at both tables to track who came to the event. A third table was dedicated to teaching children (and willing adults!) how to crossmend fragments from broken ceramics and glass, and a fourth table gave members of the public an opportunity to help clean artifacts recovered from the 2013.
Here are some images from our 2013 Public Archaeology Day:
This event did not happen without a lot of behind the scenes work and planning. The signs pictured below were provided by University of Idaho’s Communications and Marketing Team. Laura Ng, the Assistant Director of this year’s project, worked with interns Lawrence Shaw and Kristen Tiede to organize and publicize the event, which involved flyering local towns, contacting news and radio stations, and talking with local newspapers. We are thankful for the generous support of an NPS Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant for funding different items used in this event and in the field laboratory, including the artifact drying rack pictured below. Refreshments were generously provided by Three Rivers Resort, who has gone out of their way to help our project and support our research. We are thankful for their support and kindness during our 2013 field season.
Media and Press
We are also thrilled to see our research being featured in national news outlets, and are very grateful for the outpouring of support and information via emails, letters, and phone calls. I (Stacey) still have to get back to many people, and am trying to do that in the midst of getting ready for the fall semester and enjoying the last moments of summer with my children and husband. Here are some different news articles that have featured the research this summer:
Associated Press/Huffington Post News Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/27/kooskia-internment-camp_n_3663446.html
Lewiston Tribune News Article: (behind a paywall, we will be posting it shortly) http://lmtribune.com/northwest/article_954d4845-a2ea-5892-ad96-f0964b08ddb5.html?TNNoMobile
Moscow-Pullman Daily News Article: http://dnews.com/news_ap/washington/article_b7198ed2-d9b8-51b4-926d-4416057ca1a7.html
Finally, we are so very thankful to Dr. Priscilla Wegars for introducing us to the Kooskia Internment Camp and for all that she has done to get this project underway. Without her research we would not be able to do the wonderful archaeological work that has taken place in 2010 and 2013. Here is a link to her two books, which I highly recommend if you are interested in learning more information on the Kooskia Internment Camp: http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/aacc/KOOSKIA.HTM
Thanks again to everyone – students, supporters, staff, and volunteers – for a wonderful summer!