UH West Oahu archaeology students take part in historic dig - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UH West Oahu archaeology students take part in historic dig

The Honouliuli Internment Camp The Honouliuli Internment Camp
KUNIA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

By: Jon Rombaoa

A course offered at UH West Oahu is getting 13 students involved in an archaeological dig at the historic WWII Honouliuli internment and POW camp from July 7 to July 25.

By getting down and dirty on site at Honouliuli, the summer Archaeological Field Techniques class gives students first-hand experience in historic archaeology techniques including excavation, metal detecting, photography, on-site artifact analysis and GPS and instrument mapping.“You are actually working in a place where people actually interacted," student, Earl Ramsay said.  "This where they lived, this where they worked, this is where their lives were, where as in a book, you just have pages and pages. So this is, you kind of get to experience what their life was like.”

“I think it is kind of cool because then you are like, you feel like you are living that experience." another student, Tori McCann said.  "It’s like when you find like a toothpaste, you are like oh my god, wow, other people used this. It’s like, it’s kind of like you are going through a museum but you are living it.”

Aside from guest lectures from faculty and local experts, nationally renowned archaeologists Mary Farrell and Jeff Burton along with UH West Oahu anthropology professor Suzanne Falgout are guiding the students through the three-credit course.  

“I think they are learning that this was a pretty difficult environment to be stuck in for one thing," Farrell said.  "It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s not much breeze down here. For another thing, they are learning a lot about the World War II history. This is a history that‘s not very well known.”

Honouliuli first opened in March 1943 and out of the 13-plus internment camps, was the largest and longest running internment camp in Hawaii.  The camp held approximately 300 internees from Hawaii of Japanese, Okinawan, German and Italian ancestry.  Additionally, Honouliuli housed three of the 13-plus prisoners of war (POW) compounds in Hawaii and held approximately 4,000 POWs of Japanese, Okinawan, Korean, Italian and Filipino origins.

A special issue of Social Process in Hawaii volume 45, “Breaking the Silence:  Lessons of Democracy and Social Justice from Honouliuli Internment and POW Camp, Hawaii,” containing research from nine faculty members from eight different disciplines from UH West Oahu on Honouliuli Oahu be released in late July of 2014.

Related Links:

Honouliuli Internment Camp may become national park


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