• Session 2

  • 28 August 2013

    We had a very busy rest of the week. We finished our pedestrian survey in Compound 1, finished mapping and recording artifacts found through the results of pedestrian survey, and conducted magnetometer and ground-penetrating radar survey in compounds 1 and 4. We also hosted some guests at the site through the Trinidad History Museum. Thursday Aug 22 The first area where we conducted ground-penetrating radar was in the location where archival materials indicate there was an escape tunnel. We used a lower frequency antenna (270 MHz) than the previous week (400 MHz). Through the use of the lower frequency we lose resolution, meaning smaller objects do not show up in the radar profiles, but larger features or objects, such as changes in stratigraphy or large disturbances, like a tunnel, will still show up. The advantage to using the lower frequency is that the radar signal tends to go deeper into the ground before it attenuates or loses radar energy. This might be especially helpful out here, considering the amount of clay and water that might still be present after the previous weeks’ downpours. Clay and water tend to weaken the signal, so hopefully the lower frequency antenna was able to overcome this. The grid we set up for radar collection was 60 meters x 42 meters, with .5 meter transect spacing. We ended with 85 radar profiles 60 meters long. Unfortunately, working with ground-penetrating radar data is time consuming and results are usually not instantaneous. I am processing the data now and hope to have gain some good data from this. Results pending...

  • GPR and Magnetometer Grid 1
    GPR and Magnetometer Grid 1 This is one of the locations where we conducted GPR and magnetometer in Compound 1. It was placed here, because archival materials indicate that this was where the escape tunnel was located.
  • GPR profile - 400 MHz
    GPR profile - 400 MHz This is a profile for the 400 MHz antenna that was collected in grid 1. The left axis indicates depth, and the bottom axis indicates distance. We collected 85 of these profiles with this antenna and 85 with the 270 MHz. Each of these need to be processed to determine the presence of the escape tunnel.
  • Once we completed the ground-penetrating radar data where the escape tunnel was possibly located, we conducted magnetometer survey. Magnetometer consists of two sensors on either side of the unit that detect changes in the magnetic field. These changes could be the results of magnetic artifacts in the soil, such as iron nails and tin cans, or possible magnetic changes in the soil itself. We set up six 20 meter x 20 meter grids to cover the same area. Due to the type of software we used, Unlike GPR, we can only set up a pre-determined size grid, i.e. 10 x 10, 20 x 20, 40 x 40. Similar to GPR, data processing can be time consuming and I am working on processing this data as well. Once I have completed the GPR and magnetometer processing, if the data is good, I plan to overlay the data on top of each other to illustrate exactly where the escape tunnel was located. While geophysical survey was taking place, we were also logging and collecting data from the artifacts we located in compound 1 as a result of pedestrian survey. We began in the area with the unidentified feature (possible garden) in the south portion of compound 1. We began here, because we needed to get the metal pin flags out of the ground, which were identifying artifacts, before we began magnetometer survey. Below are some of the artifacts that were located in this compound.
  • Belt Buckle
    Belt Buckle
  • Glass Marble
    Glass Marble
  • Coca-Cola Bottle
    Coca-Cola Bottle
  • 7up Bottle
    7up Bottle
  • Ink bottle with built in ink well
    Ink bottle with built in ink well
  • Stone lined feature
    Stone lined feature This is the feature not on the map. It contains a double stone lined rectangle with openings at the south end.
  • Interior stone lined feature
    Interior stone lined feature Inside this feature is a ring of stones.
  • Friday August 23

    We finished logging and collecting data from all of the artifacts that we located in compound 1. Every artifact was also photographed and mapped using a GPS just as we did in the American Compound and Compound 4. All together between the three different samples areas within each of the three compounds we surveyed, we collected data on close to 500 artifacts! We also conducted GPR and magnetometer in compound 4 just south of the lavatory. Previous researchers have indicated that this was an activity area for prisoners to wash their clothes. In addition to this area, we also conducted magnetometer in the large feature, possible garden, in compound 1. Preliminary data processing on the magnetometer data for the area just south of the lavatory indicated a magnetic spike in the center of our grid. Based on this data, I decided to open a 1 meter x 2 meter excavation unit.

  • Magnetometer composite
    Magnetometer composite This is the magnetometer reading directly south of a lavatory in compound 4. North is to the right. The green space directly below the high magnetic reading is a cholla cactus. Based on the high magnetic reading, I put in a 1 meter x 2 meter test excavation unit.
  • Magnetometer in Compound 1.jpg
    Magnetometer in Compound 1.jpg
  • Saturday August 24 - Public Day

    The Trinidad History Museum hosted a public day at the site. It was exciting to see people interested in the work our crew was conducting at the site. I spent the majority of the day giving a tour of the site and talking about the research we have been doing at the former camp. Some of the crew began excavating the 1 x 2 that we set up based on the preliminary magnetometer data. We also began GPR in Compound 2 where Captain Ehrcke had indicated in his diary where there were volleyball courts. We set up a 60 meter x 40 meter grid. We started with the 400 MHz antenna and completed about a third of the grid. Sunday August 25 2013 Today was our last day at the site with a full crew. We finished GPR with the 400 MHz antenna in the possible location of the volleyball courts and then conducted the survey again with a 270 MHz antenna. We also finished excavating and back filled the 1 x 2 located in compound 4 just south of the lavatory. We also cleaned up most of the site and removed many of the pin flags and wooden stakes that we placed throughout the last week and a half. There are still some grids left to GPR and features to map and draw, but this work will not require a full crew. I will return over the course of the next several weeks to finish the work and wrap up clean up. Now it's time to process the geophysical data go through the artifacts. I will give updates as I go through all of this data.

  • 21 August 2013

    It has been a hot couple of days at the site to start the session. The crew has been drinking lots of water and have been very productive. I am fortunate to have such hard working and eager crew members. Yesterday we spent the day mapping in some of the landscape features in compound 4, both with GPS and graph paper. We spent most of our time around the officers' club and barrack just south of the mess halls. One reason for this was that a good percentage of the artifacts that we discovered during pedestrian survey seemed to be concentrated in this area. The officers' club is the only building we have encountered thus far that has front and rear doors. To the north there are three doorways, each adorned by a semi circle entryway garden on either side of the entrance leading to the walkway. The south of this building contains 4 doorways - the standard thus far, however, we were unable to readily locate any landscape modifications. The building to the north, listed by the camp assessors as officer barrack, is what appears to be a standard barrack with 4 entrances. Each of these entrance, but one, is adorned by rectangular entryway gardens. At one point the building may have been lined with trees on the south side, but the trees today are only present east of the easternmost entrance. The only landscape modification not rectangular is a circular feature to the west of the westernmost entrance. It's possible that each of the residents of this barrack may have designed their own garden.

  • Officers Club Garden
    Officers Club Garden This is an example of the semi circle entry way gardens for the officers' club. Aside from Iris, not pictured here, we have found gardens to also contain basalt boulders and shrubs.
  • Once we documented these landscape modifications, we moved farther east to standard officer barracks. All of the entrances face east that open onto a walkway. On either side of, what would have been the stairs that lead to the entrances, there are many entryway gardens. There are also gardens across the walkways, east of the barrack, that would have belonged to that barrack, against the west wall of the adjacent barrack. These are the same type noted in the diary of Captain Ehrcke (pre-fieldwork mapping). The modifications across the walkway seem to be fairly uniform, but the entryway gardens are more ornate, elaborate, and varied from door to door. It appears as though the prisoners had more liberty to modify the gardens closest to their residence and may have been restricted from modifying those farther from their personal space. If there was a restriction, it would have most likely come from the German leaders rather than the Americans, as the Germans were, for the most part, responsible for policing themselves while in camp. We still need to tally and identify the locations and amount of gardens that are uniform vs ornate and varied to confirm any hypotheses.
  • Standard Garden
    Standard Garden This is the typical garden, outlined in red, that we have identified, which are across the walkway from the entrance to the barrack.
  • Today we began pedestrian survey in the enlisted men's section of compound 1. We found some great finds that give insights into activities and dress - more to come on this later - but we also identified a feature that is not listed on any map that I have come across to date. It's a rectangular feature aligned north to south that contains a narrow walkway around it. Within the rectangle is a circle. It's about 20 meters long and there seems to be lots of artifact scatter around this feature, evidenced by the amount of bottles and glass that surround the feature. This may have been a gathering place, but we have been unable to determine for what as of yet. Once we begin analyzing the artifacts that surround this feature, we hope to gain more insight to the purpose of this feature. I'll try to post some photos of this and other artifacts in this compound this week.
  • Compound 1 Pedestrian Survey
    Compound 1 Pedestrian Survey These are the two areas that we surveyed today in the enlisted men's section of compound 1. The green box is the feature that we discovered that is not located on the map.
  • Tomorrow we will begin using the magnetometer and continue with our ground-penetrating radar survey. The fieldwork is progressing but there is still much more work to be done.
  • 18 August 2013

    We leave Denver tomorrow morning to begin another round of fieldwork. Last week we ended by finishing pedestrian survey on the American Compound. I expanded the search area to include not only the American officers' quarters, but also the two lavatories to the north and the officer's club and mess hall to the south.

  • Expanded Pedestrian Survey Grid
    Expanded Pedestrian Survey Grid
  • For session 2, I plan to finish ground-penetrating radar on the barrack that archival research indicated held the escape tunnel. We will also conduct magnetometer in this grid. Based on the artifact scatters and concentrations in the first few pedestrian survey grids we will also create new geophysical grids - more to come on this. The pedestrian survey results, in conjunction with the geophysical results, will help us to determine where to place excavation units.
  • Session 1

  • 15 August 2013

    We completed our pedestrian survey of the southeast part of compound 4 and are in the process of mapping the artifacts we found with GPS. In addition to the many artifacts, we have also located numerous gardens. It seems the officers that were living in the area that we are currently surveying took great care in beautifying the landscape. I thought, perhaps, that because this was a military setting the landscaping would have been uniform. This does not appear to be the case, because different barracks seem to have different styles. In some cases, the same barrack may even have different shaped gardens. This is further supported by the oral history I have received from a former German prisoner. He told me that some of the prisoners were into beautifying their surroundings, while others did not care as much. Some prisoners would compete with one another to see who could create better landscaping. We also began Ground-penetrating radar survey in and to the south of the barrack where a former prisoner marked where the escape tunnel was. Due to the amount of moisture and the amount of clay in the soil, the radar energy seemed to dissipate quickly. I may have to switch to a lower frequency antennae in order to gain a deeper depth. I will concentrate more efforts on GPR next week. Since our completion of pedestrian survey in one of the German officer's compound, we have moved the pedestrian survey to the American compound, specifically the American officer's club and barracks. Through examining both the American and German officers that lived in Camp Trinidad I hope to explore the dichotomy between the two groups. Was there trade taking place between the two groups? Were the German officers living in similar if not the exact same conditions as the American officers per the Geneva Conventions?

    Tomorrow is our last day of fieldwork this week. I hope to finish the pedestrian survey in the American compound and the mapping and data collection of artifacts and features that we have already found in compound 4. The cows that use this land for grazing especially like the area we are working in, in compound 4, because some of the only trees in the surrounding area, which were planted by prisoners, are located here. They offer a nice break from the heat and some welcome shade. Unfortunately, they enjoy eating the survey flags! We will return to the field next week when I hope to employ more geophysical investigations, such as continued GPR work and magnetometer survey. Special thanks to my crew Lauren, Cyndal, Jeremy, and Kevin. Their efforts have been outstanding and have endured long days in both the hot and cold and have done it all for free! Thank you so much, you have made this first week a success.

  • Garden in Common Area
    Garden in Common Area This is a garden just east of one of the mess halls in compound 4. It is framed on it's three sides by a walkway. In the middle is Iris, presumably planted by the prisoners.
  • Modified Metal
    Modified Metal This is a piece of metal strapping that was modified into a tape measure. This is in metric (centimeters), which along with where it was found, suggests that a prisoner modified this.
  • German Officer's Garden
    German Officer's Garden Some Germans took great pride in beautifying their environment. They planted trees and flowers, some of which still stand today. Here is a corner garden next to the entrance of a barrack. The two cement footings on the left indicate the doorway. Gardens not only contained vegetation, but some also included boulders, such as the one made of basalt, an igneous rock common in this region, in the left front corner of this garden.
  • 13 August 2013

    We started our pedestrian survey on our large 120 meter by 230 meter grid in the southeast of corner of compound 4. While at the site in January to do some reconnaissance and also the last couple of weeks to set up a site grid, I didn't see a lot of materials on the surface, other than architecture - such as nails, staples, and insulators. The heavy rain that has fallen this month may have helped, but walking at a slow pace with an intentional focus on the smallest artifact is time consuming, but also fruitful. You just have to be sure you are aware of your surroundings, cholla cactus can hurt! After we started the survey, we began to find many artifacts, including buttons, ceramics, bottles, glass jugs, and even modified artifacts. Unlike some television shows where people go to a location and dig up or collect artifacts, pain staking work is done before any artifacts are removed from the site. Before I began any work, I had to gain permission from the landowner. First we flag artifacts or concentrations of artifacts that we come across. Pink flags indicate artifacts of importance. Lime green indicate an artifact that has been visibly modified from the manufacturer's intended use. Yellow flags indicate features - these are objects that typically cannot be moved such as gardens or architecture. Once the artifacts have been flagged, we then go back and map them, anywhere from 5 - 30 cm accuracy, with a high powered GPS unit, where the artifact or feature was found. Then we photograph each artifact. Sometimes we'll also take measurements, especially with ceramics, to see if we can decipher the type of vessel the fragment once belonged to, because rarely will archaeologists find a complete vessel. If additional research is needed, we'll then bag up the artifact and note all the information that we have taken from the artifact thus far through photographs and multiple forms without even removing the artifact from the surface. Two days in and we have been able to identify some areas of activity. It appears that much of the activity that took place in this part of the camp was centered on the German officer's club, the mess hall, and theater. At first glance, some entrances to buildings, specifically under where the stairs would have been, contain a larger concentration of glass and ceramic than other areas. This might suggest an informal trash dump if the ceramic or glass was broken inside the building. There also appears to be an increased concentration of bottle caps along the perimeter fence to the south. This suggests that there may have been consumption taking place in this vicinity. The open area between mess halls also contain large amounts of glass such as jugs and American issued ceramics. Only a small fraction of what we have found has begun to be analyzed yet so keep checking back for updates!

  • Pre-fieldwork mapping

  • 8 August 2013

    The last two weeks I've gone down with two different volunteers from the University of Denver to map in some of the remaining foundations in the southeast quadrant of compound 4. Many thanks to Paul Swader (DU graduate student) and Kevin Davis (DU undergraduate student) for their help and time. Most of the buildings that were on cement piers only have partial foundations remaining. Other foundations that were made of cement were bulldozed, which are cracked and out of place. We did our best to locate cement footings that indicate where the walls of the barracks and buildings might have been. Based on the archival research that I conducted earlier this year, I believe we have found the barrack that contained the escape tunnel. We have set up a grid to conduct ground-penetrating radar in this area in the coming weeks. We have also located many of the stone-lined walkways and former gardens at the site. There appears to be a good amount of Iris out here, which we found primarily within the stone-lined gardens. This is perhaps one type of flower that adorned the gardens when the camp was active. In addition to the GPR grid, we have also established a pedestrian survey grid. On August 12 we will begin pedestrian survey to find concentrations of artifacts and we hope to determine how much archaeological integrity is present at the site. Along with the southeast quadrant of compound 4 we also plan to survey a small portion of the eastern half of compound 2. Captain Heino Ehrcke, a former prisoner, lived here. He gave copies of pages from his journal that he kept while in camp to Marilyn Palovich, which she loaned to the Trinidad History Museum. These pages contain sketches of how his barrack was arranged and also details where he kept his garden. It also notes that there were volleyball courts, which are not found on any of the government maps, just to the north of his barrack. The eastern half of compound 1 was where the German enlisted men lived. In the January 1943 map of the compound, it shows enlisted men throughout compounds 1-3, while only compound 4 - a new addition - was for officers. By 1944 most of the camp was occupied by officers and only the eastern half of compound 1 was for enlisted men. We will set up a few survey grids here as well. In addition the the German prisoners, we will also study a small portion of the American officer's compound.

  • Compound 4
    Compound 4 Photo of a map located at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Rocky Mountain Branch in Broomfield, CO. This shows compound 4, the southernmost compound and the one with the most architectural remains. A large portion of the field research will be focused on southeast quadrant of this compound. This is where the escape tunnel was. There is also evidence of a modified recreation building that was converted to a theater in the northeast corner of this quadrant.
  • Compound 2
    Compound 2 Photo of a map located at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Rocky Mountain Branch in Broomfield, CO. This photo depicts where Captain Ehrcke's barracks were located. We will survey His barracks and the volleyball courts. In addition to this, we will also survey the post exchange, where we found a mound of bottle caps. This indicates and area of activity and a possible hangout for the prisoners.
  • Captain Ehrcke diary
    Captain Ehrcke diary Diary pages on loan from Maryilyn Palovich to the Trinidad History Muesum. This sketch illustrates the location of Captain Ehrcke's barrack (below) and the layout of his barrack (above). Notice the volleyball courts to the north of his barrack.
  • Compound 1
    Compound 1 Photo of a map located at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Rocky Mountain Branch in Broomfield, CO. This photo depicts where the enlisted prisoners were housed.
  • American Compound
    American Compound Photo of a map located at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Rocky Mountain Branch in Broomfield, CO. This photo depicts where the American officers quarters' were. By surveying these barracks, I hope to understand how closely the American's followed the Geneva Conventions. Per the treatment of prisoners of war, the German officers were supposed to have been housed in the same style barracks as the American officers.

This portfolio last updated: 11-Jan-2017 6:54 AM