This summer, a handful of DU undergraduate and graduate students will travel to Amache near Granada, Colo., to investigate a sad chapter in American history.
During World War II, Amache was as an internment camp for Japanese Americans—many of them farmers and gardeners from California. To reclaim their stories, Bonnie Clark, an associate professor in DU's Department of Anthropology, will lead a four-week field school to give students firsthand experience in archaeological field methods and in interpreting data.
“The field experience is pretty immersive,” explains Clark, who has conducted the Amache field school two previous summers.
During this four-week course, you can expect to:
- Conduct surface surveys.
- Examine the remains of features (such as gardens).
- Work with artifacts.
- Document findings.
- Conduct research in the archives of the Amache Preservation Society's museum, and catalog and interpret materials.
- Use ground-penetrating radar and test excavations to collect additional data.
Clark may also enlist students to help better understand the area—planned for a reconstructed barrack and possibly a garden.
What you'll learn:
The experience helps students learn how to excavate sites, piece together stories and share them with site visitors.
The remains of gardens, for example, offer fascinating insight into daily life at Amache. Gardens, Clark points out, play an integral role in Japanese culture.
And at Amache, residents appear to have used them not just to supplement their diets but to add beauty to their daily existence. Soil samples, the remains of fences and an array of artifacts suggest that the gardens represented an attempt to create a home and, as Clark says, "personalize this incredibly impersonal military space."
At the end of the field school, Clark says, students come away with a renewed sense "that the past matters, that it endures."