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Archaeological Research

Archaeological Research

In 1999 the National Park Service, Western Archaeological and Conservation Center published a report of their work on Japanese American relocation sites operated by our government during WWII. (See “Confinement and Ethnicity, U.S. Department of the Interior,” Publications in Anthropology 74, 1999. Authors: Jeffery Burton, Mary Farrell, Florence Lord, and Richard Lord). Chapter 5 (pages 101-128) of the report is on the Granada (Amache) Relocation Center. The comprehensive report, with over fifty photographs and maps, details all of the major features of the internment camp. The Granada site visited in May 1994 was the first of seven sites explored by the archaeological team to gather artifacts, view architectural remains and archaeological features to help determine whether the sites would merit the designation of National Register of Historic Places or National Historic Landmark status. The Granada (or Amache) site eventually was recognized for both designations.

In February 2004, another report titled Camp Amache, Prowers County, Colorado: Site Management, Preservation, and Interpretive Plan was published. The archaeological portion of the report is based on work done in 2003 by Cuartelejo HP Associates of La Junta, Colorado. The report includes the following statements:

“Visitors to the site can observe archaeological evidence of historical land use around the camp that predate World War II and the construction of Camp Amache as well as extensive structural remains and artifacts from the internment period. The remains of homemade tools, Japanese clothing items, landscape features, and planted trees…(along with) concrete foundations and comprised the camp’s internal structure. Many of the concrete features contain inscriptions of dates and names of former internees. Fragments of historical ceramics of American, Japanese, and Federal manufacture can also be noted across the site. Bottle and container glass shards, tin cans, and other domestic items that are both scattered across the site and contained with large dumps and concentration of artifacts” (p.13).

Since 2008, Denver University’s Amache Project has been involving university students in research, preservation, and interpretation of Amache. Every two years, the Department of Anthropology holds summer field classes in archaeological research on-site, led by Dr. Bonnie Clark. Activities include monitoring and assessment, related field work and research, laboratory work, museum work, and reporting. The field school culminates in open houses for Amache survivors and their families as well as the general public. The project also posts related material on their facebook page.