Researchers, students and volunteers will get out their shovels and picks again when the Brigham Young University Department of Anthropology returns to Camp Floyd this month to conduct its annual Historic Field School of Archaeology.
Located 20 miles southwest of Lehi, Camp Floyd was the home of the Army of Utah sent by President Buchanan to subdue the "Mormon Rebellion." After it was abandoned in 1861, the site remained relatively undisturbed until excavation by BYU archaeologists began in 1983.Dale E. Berge, BYU professor of anthropology, trains students and volunteers each spring at Camp Floyd in the techniques of excavating historical sites.
Work will begin April 27 and continue through June 15. Non-BYU students can obtain college credit through the university's evening school, and volunteers are welcome to participate. Call 378-6110.
Since the excavation began, a headquarters building, two barracks, a mess hall and a large area of the garbage dump have been investigated.
"Every year we're finding new kinds of things," said Berge. "We've learned a lot about the diet of the soldiers from seeds and bones that we've dug up. Apparently they ate a lot of stew, judging from the number of cattle bones we've found." Coffee beans, pinto beans and vegetables also contributed to the army's diet, along with a little chicken and fish.
Other articles found include shoes, hats, blankets, parts of clothing, buttons, insignia from uniforms, bullets and pipes.
"We've found a number of things that have the Masonic emblem on them, like bone rings that the soldiers apparently made for themselves," said Berge. He said the army established the first Masonic order in Utah.
Berge believes that Camp Floyd was the largest military camp in the United States before the Civil War. It was the outbreak of the war that eventually caused the evacuation of the army from Utah.
According to Berge, the army brought with it 3,500 troops and 1,000 civilian employees. It hired blacksmiths, masons, bricklayers and carpenters from the local community to build housing.
"Prior to the arrival of the army, the economy in the territory was on a barter basis, there wasn't a lot of cash." Berge said the army paid local people a penny a brick for their work. Most of the 200 buildings at Camp Floyd were adobe brick.
"Even when the army left it was an economic boon because they had to leave behind well over $4 million worth of goods." Those goods were auctioned off and sold to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for $100,000. This sale gave rise to the formation of the ZCMI Corporation.