Koji Lau-Ozawa

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Stanford U.

Grant number

Gr. 9912

Approve Date

October 25, 2019

Project Title

Lau-Ozawa, Koji (Stanford U.) "Connected through Confinement: An archaeology of the Gila River Incarceration Camp"

KOJI LAU-OZAWA, then a graduate student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in October 2019 to aid research on ‘Connected through Confinement: An archaeology of the Gila River Incarceration Camp,’ supervised by Dr. Barbara Voss. This project examined the material remains of the Gila River Incarceration Camp, where 16,000 Japanese Americans were confined between 1942-1945. Research was conducted in collaboration with the Gila River Indian Community Cultural Resource Management Program and focused on analyzing landscaping features and material culture from the camp’s refuse deposits. High resolution UAV mapping was conducted and paired with intensive ground surface survey to understand the landscape modifications made by incarcerees. Analysis of this material suggests coordinated efforts to build gardens and enhance residential structures with paved walkways and basements. Portable X-ray florescence (pXRF) analysis of basalt incorporated into landscaping features further allowed for the identification of procurement sites and indicates centralized strategies for gathering materials. Utilizing a low impact catch-and-release survey strategy, over 2000 artifacts associated with the incarceration camp’s trash dump were identified and analyzed in the field. Analysis of this material suggests significant transformations from pre-WWII consumption patterns, and the use of material culture to maintain social connections across diverse networks. The landscape and material culture analysis has greatly expanded knowledge of the strategies employed by incarcerees to navigate the complex and ever-changing demands of camp life.