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Monashee Mountain Internment Camp - Day 6: Planks of Wood and Planks of Cider

Written by: Nikki Simon

July 25th 2021

As is fitting for the weekend, and because Sarah is a wonderful human being, Day 6 was just a little 4 hour day on site. Now, I'm sure that you thought that I had said all that there could be said about wood planks, but Day 6 was a unique day in that every single person on site was working a unit with wooden planks, somehow.


Would I like to say that something vastly exciting was found? Yes. Would I be lying? Also yes. (spoilers)That being said, these wooden structures that we keep finding are super important and inform a lot of what we do on-site and what we know (or think we know).


As promised, Colton was able to dismantle a portion of his wood structure with the help of Sarah and Dan. What could be saved was carefully set aside; however, as with all things that are 100+ years old, some of the planks were highly degraded, and there was no way to save them. Luckily we live in a modern age, and I was able to document the structure before and during the dismantling process. The size and shape of the structure suggested to Sara that this had likely been a privy site. Believe it or not, privy areas are one of the biggest gold mines of archaeological debris that one can encounter. As you can imagine that meant everyone was quite eager to see what it would yield. When the necessary section had been removed, the ground was levelled as best as possible, and, finally, a test pit was opened by Colton and me. What we found by the end of the day was, wait for it ... rocks and roots, glorious rocks and roots.

Katy and Chantelle had finished the day before with their "flagpole" unit. Now they were finally able to move on to a nice change of scenery. This new scenery consisted of an area just south of the floor unit; the space was absolutely littered with cans and, what appeared to be pieces of a stove, so there were high hopes! By the end of the day, Katy and Chantelle managed to uncover a good portion of what appeared to be two floors. These were either two separate structures or a single structure with two separate rooms. The layer of forest debris over this particular area was very sparse, which really worked in their favour. Unlike most of the units worked so far, they really didn't have to fight much with roots and rocks, and it didn't take the two of them long at all to uncover the main space and get the gist of what they were working with.

Like Katy and Chantel, Holly was finally set free from her endless days of sifting. On Day 7, she was partnered up with Keagan, where they continued unearthing the plank section that Keagan had gotten a start on the day before. They uncovered planks that seemingly ran in all directions with no particular rhyme or reason in some cases. Some pieces faced the direction of Colton's unit, almost as if the road in that area had been entirely planked; others ran completely perpendicular, as we had seen with support pieces in other units. However, there were still other planks that ran in a third direction, perhaps knocked out of place at some point?


Rory was set to work on a new test pit just a couple meters to the south of Colton; POW Unit #7. There wasn't really much to this unit; after the duff layer and topsoil was an extensive band of sandy soil succeeded by a layer of charcoal after 21 centimetres. By the time Rory had reached the bottom of their unit, like their last one, there appeared to be a plank running into one of the walls and not much that Rory could do about it.

Our day ended at 1:15, and when we got back to our cabins we were almost too tired to move. Almost! We rinsed ourselves off, pulled on our shoes, and all of us headed out on the road to Armstrong, just over an hour away from our home base of Cherryville. What's so special about Armstrong, you ask? Absolutely nothing to be honest. Chantelle had told us all about a cidery called Farmstrong there, and, being the Canadians we are, we were all just too weak-willed to resist the pun. At Farmstrong's, we sampled some excellent cider and some delectable foods (brisket, anyone?). After stocking up on some of the wares and an obligatory stop at a Vernon beach, we headed back to the campgrounds and the trays of lasagne waiting for us there.


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