Volunteers needed to assist archaeological work in UP

Former CCC?camp housed German prisoners of war

Hilly terrain and foundation blocks are remnants from Camp AuTrain in Alger County. An archaeological excavation at the site will begin July 29. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources photo)

GLADSTONE — Hiawatha National Forest and the U.S. Forest Service Passport In Time Program are seeking 12 volunteers to participate in an archaeological excavation at the historic Camp Au Train.

No special skills are required to volunteer, but volunteers under age18 must participate with a responsible adult, and the minimum age is 12.

Volunteers must commit to participate in the entire session, which is July 29 through Aug. 2.

Participants will join archaeologists from the U.S. Forest Service and the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology Program at Michigan Technological University. Passport In Time volunteers will help map the site, engage in a metal detector survey around the sites of the recreation hall and barracks, and excavate test units in the camp midden and near the mess hall.

Camp Au Train was established as a Civilian Conservation Corp camp in 1935 during the Great Depression.

As one of many established camps for this federal public work relief program, Camp Au Train served as the home for numerous, unemployed young men as they engaged in conservation work in the central Upper Peninsula from approximately 1933 to 1942.

However, during the final years of World War II, the camp was re-purposed to house German prisoners of war captured during Rommel’s failed Africa campaign. Camp Au Train was among five POW camps located in the Upper Peninsula, and housed about 225 prisoners and 40 U.S. troops while occupied from 1944 through 1946.

Archaeological research at the camp this year will focus on the everyday lives of both the CCC enrollees and the German POWs while they lived at Camp Au Train.

There is ample history to take in, and much to learn about this site.

To find out more and apply for this volunteer opportunity, go to the Passport In Time website at http://passportintime.com/camp-au-train-excavation-2019.html.

Applications are due June 3.