A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Johnson's Island Civil War POW Camp
For the past 20 years, archaeologist Dave Bush has led excavations at Johnson's Island, a Civil War POW camp on western Lake Erie. In 1999, with the feature story "Doing Time" in ARCHAEOLOGY, Bush began an ongoing collaboration with both the magazine and the Archaeological Institute of America. Since 2002, Johnson's Island Civil War Prison Site has been an Interactive Dig on the ARCHAEOLOGY website, letting hundreds of thousands of people look over his shoulder as he explores the site. That same year AIA President Nancy Wilkie praised his efforts at Johnson's Island, recognizing the site as "an important part of America's cultural heritage."
Bush, a professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology at Heidelberg University, has also made time to serve as a speaker for the AIA lecture circuit. That's not surprising given his personal emphasis on outreach. In addition to the Interactive Dig and AIA lectures, Bush brings educators and students to Johnson's Island to help in the investigations and, at the same time, learn both about the site and archaeology in general.
As for the site itself, Johnson's Island held more than 10,000 Confederate officers between 1862 and 1865. Dave Bush's excavations there are providing unprecedented information about the activities, health, and living conditions of the prisoners. Follow the links below to learn more about this National Landmark site.
Tales From A Civil War Prison
Return to Johnson's Island
The Man with the Keys to the Prison
Prison Break at Johnson's Island
Johnson's Island: A Video Tour
Unlocking a Civil War Prison
Friends and Descendants of Johnson's Island Civil War Prison