Monday, February 09, 2015


Wil Hylton's "The Shame of America's Family Detention Camps" in The New York Times Magazine this weekend (Feb. 4, 2015) came while editing our own essay on the man camps of North Dakota. June Carlos Llorca's photo "Children entering a dormitory at Artesia Family Residential Center in New Mexico last September," in particular, made me think of the similarities between the man camps we are studying and the federal detention center. The photograph gives enough factual information of the residential unit. I tried to extract a ground-plan and elevation from the photograph in order to turn photography into architectural evidence. Given the standardized sizes of windows and cladding, one could easily replicate the exact dimensions of the residential unit.

After speculating on the unit's ground plan, I thought it might be possible to produce an entire camp map using Google Earth. Adrian Meyers has given some guidelines on using Google Earth as an archaeological tool, see his pioneering remote sensing of Guantanamo Bay:

Meyers, Adrian. 2010. “Camp Delta, Google Earth and the Ethics of Remote Sensing in Archaeology,” World Archaeology 42, pp. 455-467

I confess that I didn't go very far with the remote sensing exercise, partially because I didn't have enough corroborative information to fine-tune the coordinates. After half an hour of browsing the landscape north of Artesia for images of a camp, I gave up on Google Earth. But I do hope someone takes ti up from here.

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Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States