SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The Milwaukee Railroad Repair Shops employed more than 500 people between 1916 and 1918 but how those people worked and lived is still a mystery.

Last July, archaeologists and volunteers searched the Milwaukee Railroad Shops for signs of temporary work camps.

Angela Collins was the lead archaeologist on that project. She hopes this excavation will yield better results than last year.

“In the past there were some trenches and some soil cores in this vicinity but there have been no intensive work in this field and that’s what we’re doing now,” Collins said.

Volunteers and archaeologists conducted a survey of the field just west of the railroad shops.

The Milwaukee Railroad Repair Shops employed more than 500 railroad workers and serviced tens of thousands of rail cars a year.

Meagan Thies-Sauder is an archaeology technician. She said while there is still much to learn about the workers, one thing that is known is they were divided by race.

“The workers’ camps were divided up by marginalized communities so we have African American workers who were living across the river and then we have Italian workers who were living here on this side of the river as well as other various ethnicities including the Irish,” said Thies-Sauder.

the team found artifacts such as bolts nails and ceramics and marked the findings with flags

Volunteer Colleen Shisman said she was thrilled to be a part of uncovering Siouxland history.

“As a longtime Iowa resident, I think it’s really exciting to learn about the history of how Iowa got it started, the start of the railroad and we get to see how it was built,” Shisman said.

The Sioux City Railroad Museum’s dig will continue through April 26. Visitors are welcome to watch the dig and talk with the archeologists and volunteers about the project.