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Nevada’s Cold War Peace Camp Surveyed

Friday, July 17, 2015

Peace rock formationLAS VEGAS, NEVADA—The Peace Camp outside the Nevada Test Site, now known as the Nevada National Security Site, has been surveyed by a team led by archaeologist Colleen Beck of the Desert Research Institute. “This archaeological research is unique, because the Peace Camp is the only known intact Cold War protest camp in the world,” she told Western Digs. Beck and her colleagues recorded more than 700 features at the site, including tent pads, hearths, ornamental rock formations, and graffiti painted in drainage tunnels. “The features are from daily camping activities, markers for paths and places, and rock patterns on the landscape in the shape of spirals, flowers, crosses, and peace signs, a rock garden in honor of a peace activist, and people’s initials,” she said. The team also compared the graffiti in the private areas of the camp with historic photographs of signs such as “No More Nukes” and “Food Not Bombs” held by the campers at demonstrations. “The tunnel graffiti, of course, had peace symbols but had very few other symbols or slogans that were used on the placards. Instead, most of the art and writings in the tunnels are personal in nature or art especially created for this setting,” Beck explained. To read in-depth about Colleen Beck's research into Atomic Age sites in Nevada, go to "Dawn of a Thousand Suns."

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