Jacob Madle recently presented his 2019 field school research at Camp Halsey during the 2019 Arkansas Archeological Society meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was awarded the Hester A. Davis scholarship for 2019 to support travel to the meeting to give his presentation. Congrats Jacob! His paper is entitled, Camp Halsey: From Above to Below.
The abstract is as follows:
The Faulkner County Survey Project is a research collaboration between the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and the Faulkner County Museum. In 2016, the project initiated a program of research at Camp Halsey, a CCC camp in Faulkner County. At the 2019 UCA field school, a research strategy was developed in order to identify the location of enrollee barracks. Historic photos reveal that barracks were constructed on piers. Today, there are no visible foundation remains. Using historic aerial photography, general spatial relationships to visible surface features were considered. To test relationships, thirty-five shovel tests were dug and a 1200 square meter (0.12 ha) area was surveyed using electrical resistivity. Data collected revealed the probable location of several enrollee barracks, which can be used to identify additional features, such as pathways between barracks and overall extent of buildings.
After a very productive two-weeks playing in the dirt and tallying tick totals, we have completed the second season of the UCA Field Archaeology course!
We now know that the Army Garage, Building 19 (Feature 10) was razed October 1937 and converted into a Blacksmith shop, Building 26. Building 19 is visible in the Feb. 1937 aerial image. Only the slab, first recorded during the 2018 field school, is visible in the September 1940 aerial image. There is no evidence of blacksmithing in the remaining Building 19 slab, so it is presumed that the frame of the building was converted into a Blacksmith shop and rebuilt elsewhere at the camp. One possibility is the small square slab south of the Building 19 visible in the September 1940 aerial.
Half way through the field school, excavations began at the possible location of the officer’s quarters (Feature 11). The 1934 inventory of buildings lists “Qtrs for Officers w/screen porch” as a rigid frame structure with five rooms and a capacity of four individuals. Two units were opened. One unit (Unit 6) was opened at the edge of the remaining porch slab to understand the position of the front door of the screened porch. A second unit (Unit 5) was established around the chimney base to evaluate its construction technique.
Excavation at the edge of the patio slab revealed a series of flat stones that likely represent a constructed landing associated with the front door. A large door spring was found in this unit also demonstrating this was the location of the entrance door. A large cedar tree limited further exposure of the constructed landing, although it is hoped that future excavations will allow for a better idea of the size and extent of the stone landing.
The Unit 5 chimney base was also productive by exposing the remaining chimney to evaluate the extent and construction style. A large foundation was constructed under the floor of the house with the chimney built on this foundation. Two large flat stones were centrally placed to form the base of the hearth with large rectangular stones situated around the hearth. Smaller stones were used to create the chimney stack, which has since collapsed with the chimney fall spread to the west (away from the building location).
Artifacts found within the hearth include broken glass, nails, and other construction debris. One of the more interesting objects (a highlight of the field season!) is a 10 cent CCC camp token that was found in the fireplace hearth. CCC camp tokens were generally issued in 5 cent and 10 cent denominations to camp enrollees. Coins were made by several camps and labeled with the Company number and location. The token that was found is a 10 cent token with the label CO 1706. Company 1706 is first associated as a forestry camp, of which men transferred from Camp Victor to establish Soil Conservation Service 1 – the first Soil Conservation Service camp in Arkansas – on October 1, 1934. Company 1706 occupied Camp Halsey until November 1, 1935.
In addition to excavations, testing was also done to evaluate the former location of the enrollee barracks. Resistivity data were collected using a RM Frobisher TAR-3 resistivity meter. Data were overlain on 1937 aerials to evaluate geophysical feature relationships to building locations.
Using these data, 35 shovel tests were dug using a spacing of every 5m and dug at a depth of 35cm and an approximate width of 25cm. Artifacts collected include nails, window glass, and construction debris related to the barracks. The shovel test exercise provided insight into the amount of remaining artifacts and their distribution across the landscape.
The 2019 fieldwork was very productive and students had the opportunity to be exposed to a multi-disciplinary approach to address specific research questions related to social, historical, economic, and political aspects of the camp. Several types of data were collected, which include resistivity data, shovel test data, and feature excavations and their associated artifacts.
The students contributed to a broader project to evaluate Faulkner County historical and archaeological resources and participate in the ongoing research and data collection at Camp Halsey. At the end of the field season, the Halsey’s cooked the field team a picnic lunch where we reminisced about the experience, the heat, the ticks, the interesting artifacts found, the questions we answered, and the questions we created to be explored in future field seasons.
From May 13-31, 2019 University of Central Arkansas students will continue archeological research at Camp Halsey (3FA313) as part of the Field Archaeology course offered at UCA. The upcoming UCA field course is part of a long-term collaborative project between researchers at UCA and Faulkner County Museum to map, evaluate, and document historical and archaeological resources in Faulkner County. This larger project, and the work at Camp Halsey, is organized into three themes that serve to frame to our inquiries: site administration and management, pedagogy and public archaeology, and research.
Fieldwork during the May Intersession will build upon the previous 2018 season using a multi-disciplinary systematic approach to address specific research questions related to social, historical, economic, and political aspects of the camp. Students will be learning several archaeological field methods during the two weeks. Specifically, they will be collecting four types of data from the site: magnetic gradiometry and resistivity data (raster), point data using a total station (vector), and feature excavations with associated artifacts.
1. We will be using magnetic gradiometry and resistivity to continue mapping the large open space where the barracks were located. It is also hoped that densities of metallic debris (using magnetic gradiometry) and the differential soil compaction between the barracks (resistivity) will be mapped, which could offer the former location of removed buildings visible in the 1936 aerial image (see below). Students will gain experience using a Bartington Grad 601 magnetic gradiometer and RM Frobisher TAR-3 resistivity and learn skills related to site survey and field data collection, applied physics, magnetism and resistance, and processes of landscape use and modification.
2. We will also be using a Topcon
total station (on loan from the Arkansas Archeological Survey) to accomplish
three items. First, the site grid established during the 2018 field season will
be re-located and expanded to guide magnetic gradiometry and resistivity surveys.
Second, visible features will be mapped and a working map of the site created.
Third, additional topographic data (z) will be collected to better integrate
constructed features with landscape contours. It will also allow for the expansion
of the digital elevation model (DEM) that can be integrated with the
two-dimensional remote sensing data. Students will gain experience using a
total station and learn skills related to mapping, applied trigonometry,
spatial alignment, settlement patterning, distance analysis, and landscape
3. Finally, we will be excavating and mapping two features. We will finish excavating Feature 10, which is the former automotive garage. The second feature (Feature 11) is the possible location of the officer’s quarters. The 1934 inventory of buildings lists “Qtrs for Officers w/screen porch” as a rigid frame structure with five rooms and a capacity of four individuals. Water and sewer connections are listed. Students will gain experience in traditional excavation methods and learn skills related to developing and refining research questions as data are collected, the importance of clear and concise field note taking, the process of creating profile and plan sketches, and how field artifacts are assigned provenience and collected (tagged and bagged) in the field (in accordance with Arkansas Archeological Survey statewide standards).
During the third week, students will gain experience in archaeological lab methods and learn skills related artifact cleaning, cataloging, and accessioning, how to conducted a preliminary analysis using a handful of artifacts, the process of digitizing field sketches, remote sensing data processing, and the use of primary historical documents to supplement artifact data.
On Friday, May 25 UCA students visited the site of Camp Hollis along Route 7 in the Ouachita National Forest. The camp was one of sixteen camps that existed with the National Forest was first occupied on May 22, 1933 and was active (with a short vacancy in 1935) until 1941. Enrollee efforts were largely on forestry with the building and maintenance of forest service roads, fighting forest fires, and constructing and staffing fire towers. They also contributed to recreational duties, such as the construction of recreation facilities at Iron Springs and Lake Sylvia.
Today, the camp is an archaeological park and contains visible architecture, information signs (although heavily weathered), and a paved trail leading through portions of the camp. UCA students visited the site in order to gain comparative information on the construction and layout of the Hollis mechanic shop (which also had a separate residence). They also gathered comparative information on other remaining architectural features, such as the kitchen and mess hall and recreation hall chimney.
After a hot and humid week filled with a bed of poison ivy (our workspace) and hundreds (thousands?) of ticks, we have successfully completed the scheduled field work associated with the first Field Archaeology (ANTH 4480) field school at UCA!
What began as an inquiry into what was thought to be a possible infirmary (Feature 10), evolved into the realization that Feature 10 was an architectural space related to automotive maintenance and perhaps storage. Rather than a hospital, the space was likely the Army Garage (building #19), which is recorded on the Historical Record of CCC Camp Buildings present at Camp Halsey between September 1934 and November 18, 1938. During the 2018 excavations numerous automotive related items were collected, such as window glass, door (car or building?) hinges, motor parts, wiring, and nuts and bolts. We also documented architectural related items – most notably nails. The only personal item recognized in the field was a very small glass piece of a patent medicine bottle. We will be cleaning, cataloging, and analyzing the artifacts in the UCA Archaeology lab next week.
While artifacts suggest the former structure is the likely remains of an automotive garage, questions remain. For example, the footprint of Feature 10 is roughly 23 x 48 feet, which does not directly match any of the dimensions recorded on the Historical Record of CCC Camp Buildings. In fact, the Army Garage (#19) is listed twice and with different dimensions. The Historical Record also states that the Army Garage was razed in October 1937 and converted into a blacksmith shop (building #26). We found no evidence of smithing in Feature 10, although overgrowth prevented complete excavation during this first season.
Approximately 60-70 percent of Feature 10 was exposed, which is composed of hand mixed, poured, and spread cement that was mixed with local shale and sandstone. The poured areas are 8-feet wide and span the width of structure (approx. 23 feet). Interestingly, a broken glass bottle top was part of the cement mixture and metal detector surveys over both cleared and uncleared floor areas suggest that metal parts are also part of the cement mixture. This suggests that perhaps small bits of trash were also used (at least in small amounts) in the cement fill. It’s not known if that was purposeful or if the trash items are inadvertent inclusions.
Two excavation units were opened adjacent to Feature 10 in areas interpreted as egresses. Unit 1 was established within the proposed Feature 10 main entrance. At this location (SE Corner) two large cement blocks (made with much more dense cement) were present on the inside and outside (FSN 2018-053-03) of the knee-high wall (which was also poured with the same cement mix as the floor). They were likely stepping platforms or stoops to step up and over the knee-high wall. Artifacts from Unit 1 were meager and small (small pieces of glass, some nails, and small bits of metal), which suggests an area regularly cleaned and with a fair amount of foot traffic (hence the small broken bits). A second unit (Unit 2) was established in what was proposed as a back entrance or exit (NE Corner). The Unit 2 location differs in that a cement stepping platform or stoop was not present on the outside of the structure. The eastern half of Unit 2 likely represents a midden area situated immediately outside the back door. The concentrations of artifacts on the eastern (right side) of Unit 2 is likely the result of right-handed technicians opening the back door (which would swing to the left) and tossing unneeded parts into a pile. Excavations were limited because of the significant amount of root growth (both cedar/juniper but also tons of poison ivy!). Nonetheless, numerous artifacts were uncovered, such a large pieces of car window class and automotive parts. A complete map of Feature 10 was created that will be overlain with other data sets (such as total station points) and used to evaluate densities of artifacts and interpretation of the use of space.
In addition to the excavation of Feature 10, magnetic gradiometry, total station, and shovel test data were also collected. Students were exposed to the use of magnetic gradiometry and how to lay out a site-wide grid using a total station (on loan from the Arkansas Archeological Society) A total of 8 20 x 20 meter magnetic gradiometry grids were collected across the former Front Street and the open field to the south. Numerous magnetic anomalies, as anticipated, were discovered. To test some of the magnetic anomalies, a small number (n=6) of shovel tests were done across the former Front Street. While no artifacts were found, shovel tests provide insights into stratigraphy related to the road construction and maintenance.
Overall, the field school was a success. Students gained experience in collecting archaeological data using several different methods. They were exposed to archaeological methods that included remote sensing, site-wide mapping, shovel testing, feature mapping, excavation, and field documentation. In doing so, they all contributed to an ongoing broader project to evaluate Faulkner County historical and archaeological resources and participate in the first set of research and data collection at Camp Halsey. After site data collection was complete, The Halsey’s, who live on the property and graciously allowed us to conduct work at Camp Halsey, cooked the field team a picnic lunch on Friday afternoon. We all sat in the shade on the newly cleaned auto shop floor – a space that hadn’t been used by people in almost 80 years – and discussed what we had learned, the types of artifacts collected, and the shared experience in the 2018 field work.
From May 14-18, 2018 University of Central Arkansas students will be conducting archeological field work at Camp Halsey (3FA313) as part of the first accredited archaeological field school at UCA. The upcoming UCA field school at Camp Halsey is part of a long-term collaborative project between researchers at UCA and Faulkner County Museum to map, evaluate, and document historical and archaeological resources in Faulkner County. This larger project, and the work at Camp Halsey, is organized into three themes that serve to frame to our inquiries: site administration and management, pedagogy and public archaeology, and research.
Fieldwork during the May Intersession will be the first set of multi-disciplinary systematic work to address specific research questions related to social, historical, economic, and political aspects of Camp Halsey. Students will be in groups doing fieldwork over the first week. They will be collecting three types of data from the site: magnetic gradiometry (raster), point data using a total station (vector), and feature excavations with associated artifacts.
1. We will be using magnetic gradiometry to begin mapping a large open space south of the old Front Street. The goal is to better understand the construction sequence of the large earthen terraces in this area that were constructed by the Camp Halsey enrollees. It is also hoped that densities of metallic debris will be mapped, which could offer the former location of removed buildings (such as barracks that were on pilings) and provide the extent of Front Street. Students will gain experience using a Bartington magnetic gradiometer and learn skills related to site survey and field data collection, applied physics and magnetism, and processes of landscape use and modification.
2. We will also be using a Topcon total station (on loan from the Arkansas Archeological Survey) to accomplish three items. First, a site grid will be established to guide magnetic gradiometry survey. With a site-wide grid established, we will then be be able to record the spatial location of visible features and create a working map of the site. Third, topographic data (z) will be collected to better integrate constructed features with landscape contours. It will also allow for the creation of a digital elevation model (DEM) that can be integrated with the two-dimensional magnetic gradiometry data. Students will gain experience using a total station and learn skills related to mapping, applied trigonometry, spatial alignment, settlement patterning, distance analysis, and landscape archaeology.
3. Finally, we will be excavating and mapping two features. The first is a large feature (Feature 10) that we propose is the possible location of the infirmary or hospital. A 1934 inventory of buildings lists the hospital as 20 x 60 ridged frame building with four rooms and a capacity of ten. It had both water and sewer connections. The second feature (Feature 11) is the possible location of the officers quarters. The same 1934 inventory of buildings lists “Qtrs for Officers w/screen porch” as a rigid frame structure with five rooms and a capacity of four individuals. Water and sewer connections are listed. Students will gain experience in traditional excavation methods and learn skills related to developing and refining research questions as data are collected, the importance of clear and concise field note taking, the process of creating profile and plan sketches, and how field artifacts are assigned provenience and collected (tagged and bagged) in the field (in accordance with Arkansas Archeological Survey statewide standards).
During subsequent weeks, each student will work on an independent research project in the UCA archaeology lab. Students will gain experience in archaeological lab methods and learn skills related artifact cleaning, cataloging, and accessioning, how to conducted an analysis using a handful of artifacts, the process of digitizing field sketches, remote sensing data processing, the use of primary historical documents to supplement artifact data, and the writing of an archaeological final report.
It was a very cold day on January 3rd, 2018 (15 degrees!) but we spent several hours at the site doing some basic mapping and developing hypothesis questions to test during the upcoming UCA field school. We have three areas to test, which include the possible officers quarters, the possible location of the hospital, and a possible well enclosure. Six students are registered for the first field school to be held in May 2018. Students will focus on exposing the foundations of these three features and putting excavation units in and around possible high traffic areas. Students will also be working with a total station (on loan from the Arkansas Archeological Survey) so we can begin a program of landscape mapping to more fully understand the relationship of exposed features and to create a digital elevation map.
On October 3, we presented the first of many presentations on our current and upcoming research at Camp Halsey. The paper was entitled, The Faulkner County Survey Project: Beginning a Program of Research at Camp Halsey. Dr. Mckinnon gave the presentation at the Arkansas Archeological Society meeting in North Little Rock. The abstract follows:
Duncan P. McKinnon, Lynita Langely-Ware, Wendy Plotkin, Katelyn Trammel
Faulkner County contains a wealth of historical and archaeological resources from prehistoric and early Euro-American occupations. A long-term collaborative project between the University of Central Arkansas and the Faulkner County Museum is underway to map, evaluate, and document these resources. In this paper, we present recent and ongoing work at Camp Halsey, the first Soil Conservation Service (SCS) camp in Arkansas and later the location of one of many of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camps throughout Arkansas. Results are discussed within the three themes that guide the Faulkner County Survey Project: Site Administration and Management, Pedagogy and Public Archaeology, and Research.