Releasing the Stories of Archaeology of Internment


Amache, COToday Indiana Jones Myth Reality and 21st Century Archaeology unlocks the proverbial shackles to talk about an increasingly common feature of conflicts in the 20th and 21st century: Interment and incarceration. Though many internment, detention, or prison camps are temporary structures, they leave their mark in the space they were constructed and on the people who were incarcerated there. We talk about the importance of archaeologies of internment as a relatively new field in archaeology and as a politically sensitive endeavor archaeologists are taking on. With us are Dr. Bonnie Clark, who has done work at Colorado’s WWII era Japanese American internment camp “Amache”, and Ms. Judy Thomas, who has conducted archaeological investigations of WWII prisoner of war camps at Fort Hood, Texas. Together the Indy Team and our guests will discuss how people coped with confinement, how the materials are interpreted, what abuses are evident, and how descendent communities are involved.

ThomasJudy Clark at Amache










Judith (Judy) Thomas (Left) is an Instructor and Project Archaeologist with the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute (MAI) at Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pennsylvania. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Cleveland State University in 1976 and her masters in anthropology/archaeology from Kent State University in 1993. During the course of her 35+ year career, Ms. Thomas has conducted traditionally-funded and CRM-funded projects within the full range of prehistoric and historic archaeology. Since joining MAI in 1993, however, she has focused on historic archaeology where she teaches a variety of historic archaeological classes including the Historic Archaeological Field Training course. Although her research interests are generally in nineteenth century sites (e.g., 1818 lighthouse, 1840s mill, as well as farmsteads and urban sites), in 2006, her research took her into the twentieth century and a WWII prisoner-of-war camp at Fort Hood, Texas. Presently, she is leading the excavations of the 1850s Cantonment Burgwin in Taos, New Mexico.

Bonnie Clark (Right) is committed to using tangible history – objects, sites, and landscapes—to broaden understanding of the diverse peoples of the American West.  Dr. Clark serves as an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Denver (DU), as well as the Curator for Archaeology of the DU Museum of Anthropology.  Since 2005, she has led the DU Amache project, a collaborative endeavor committed to preserving, researching, and interpreting Amache, the World War II Japanese American incarceration camp in Colorado.  Dr. Clark received her Ph.D. in 2003 from the University of California, Berkeley.  Her dissertation research led to On the Edge of Purgatory: An Archaeology of Place in Hispanic Colorado (University of Nebraska Press, 2011).  Her work has been published in international venues such as World Archaeology and highlighted in Archaeology magazine.  In 2011, Dr. Clark’s work was recognized by her peers with the University of Denver’s Teacher/Scholar of the Year award.



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