ICS fifth grade class digs through history at Johnson’s Island


Dr. David Bush tells the ICS fifth grade the history behind the cemetery at Johnsons Island. 

The fifth graders at Immaculate Conception School in Port Clinton spent Monday being archeologists. Mrs. Jane Drusbacky’s class once again had the experience of participating in the Experiential Learning Program in Historical Archaeology offered by the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology of Heidelberg University. 

Lilian Uhinck and Alyssa Diaz sift through soil to look for artifacts that help to explain life at the Johnson's Island military prison.  

The students were able to explore and learn about the Johnson’s Island Civil War Military Prison site in Marblehead with Dr. David R. Bush. Dr. Bush is the site director for the Johnson’s Island Civil War Military Prison and a Professor of Anthropology. Johnson's Island held more than 10,000 Confederate officers between 1862 and 1865. During that time, over 10,000 Southern officers found themselves confined on the island. The Confederate Cemetery on Johnson's Island (the only area publicly owned on the island) contains 206 tombstones commemorating the over 300 prisoners that died while imprisoned here. Prisoners from battles throughout the war ended up imprisoned from weeks to years on Johnson's Island. 

The students were able to dig for artifacts that serve as clues to the activities, health, and living conditions of the prisoners. The students and the adults that went with them were able to uncover more than 300 artifacts that hint at what life was like for the prisoners.

Fifth grade students Adrianna Hummel, Mitchell Coon, and Garrett Hirt dig in Johnson's Island soil. 

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