I Rei To: Archeological Investigations at the Manzanar Relocation Center Cemetery, Manzanar National Historic Site, California


Between December 1999 and M:lrch 2001 the Western Archeological and Conservation Center of the National Park Service conducted archeological investigations at the relocation center cemetery in Manzanar National Historic Site. A total of 19 surface features were investigated: 104 square meters and 210 linear meters of trench were excavated. In addition an area of 575 square meters was scraped to depths of up to 10 cm. This work discovered that many of the rock outlines and grave markers present at the start of the project bore little correspondence to historical records or actual cemetery conditions. It was determined that there had been no more than 15 burials in the cemetery originally and of these, only six

remain. As a part of this project, graves with human remains were marked with rock outlines and mounded with earth; former graves were marked with rock outlines. Post markers, a returned headstone, and 1 small plot fence were also replaced. The concrete cemetery monument built by the internees was cleaned and repainted.

Vases that once held floral arrangernents that adorned the graves and cemtery monument during the relocation center occupation, as well as the abundant renuins of hand-made artificial flowers, were found during the excavations. As part of the cemetery clean-up when the relocation center closed in 1946, the vases and flower remains apparently had been removed from individual graves and the monument and buried. The archeological work also identified the location of the original internee-constructed fence, so that it couid be accurateIy reconstructed. The location of a 1970's fence refurbished by the Manzanar Committee and clues about the location of a 1946 fence built by the War Relocation Authority were likewise uncovered. Traces of Occupations prior to the relocation center were found as well. A concrete pipeline, an earthen ditch, and buried tree stumps from an orchard planted by the residents of the 1910-1930s town of Manzanar were encountered within the cemetery, and a small roasting pit ,and a few scattered artifacts indicate use of the immediate area by Native Anlerican Indians possibly as early as A.D. 600.

Cite this Record

I Rei To: Archeological Investigations at the Manzanar Relocation Center Cemetery, Manzanar National Historic Site, California. Jeffery F. Burton, Jeremy D. Haines, Mary M. Farrell. Publications in Anthropology ,79. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological and Conservation Center. 2001 ( tDAR id: 4338) ; doi:10.6067/XCV87S7M2W

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 600 to 1970

Spatial Coverage

min long: -118.183; min lat: 36.654 ; max long: -118.089; max lat: 36.733 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Kari Coughlin

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