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Archaeologist to speak on historic Chinese Quarter dig


March 29, 2017

Join Chelsea Rose for “Rising From the Ashes, the Archaeology of the Jacksonville Chinese Quarter” Thursday, April 6 at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum, 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, Oregon. Tickets for the 6 p.m. soup and salad bar dinner and program are $12, 7 p.m. program only is $5. Reservations are required by April 3. For tickets or more information, call (541) 296-8600 ext. 201 or visit

An archaeological excavation done in Southern Oregon’s Jacksonville as part of the First and Main Street sidewalks project uncovered the remains of a Chinese home that burned September 11, 1888.

The more than 60,000 artifacts recovered from the site are providing new insight into food, medicine, recreation, and religion in a 19th century Chinese household in the American West, during the height of the Chinese Exclusion era.

The site represents the oldest urban Overseas Chinese site in the Pacific Northwest, and the vast artifact assemblage recovered from the intact dwelling makes the collection significant on a national level. Finding artifacts in situ rather than in a dump, midden, or other secondary context, provided archaeologists with a rare glimpse inside a single home. Ongoing research and specialized analysis promises to significantly contribute to our understanding of the overseas Chinese diaspora and the settlement and development of the Oregon Territory.

The Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) conducted data recovery excavations, incorporated SOU students and community volunteers into the investigation, and brought hundreds to the site on public days. Working closely with the Oregon Department of Transportation, the City of Jacksonville, and the Jacksonville Fire Department, SOULA’s excavations in the Chinese Quarter Site not only uncovered an unprecedented find, but also fostered critical awareness and appreciation on behalf of the local community and public for the town’s buried history.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Chelsea Rose is an historical archaeologist at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA). She graduated with honors from the University of Oregon, and received her graduate degree in Cultural Resources Management from Sonoma State University. Chelsea’s recent work has included research in the Jacksonville Chinese Quarters, the homestead of frontier photographer Peter Britt, the native Hawaiian mining camp of Kanaka Flat, and the Historic Applegate Trail. Chelsea regularly works with students and community members in the process of education of interpretation of archaeology though community outreach and public archaeology events, and recently returned from a month-long research trip in Southern China.

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum is the official interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Hands-on, multi-media exhibits illuminate the cultural and natural history of the Gorge, including Ice Age geology, Native American culture, Lewis and Clark, the Oregon Trail, trade, transportation, renewable energy, Ecology, live raptor presentations and more. See the newest exhibit, “A Community Forgotten: Uncovering the Story of The Dalles Chinatown.” The museum is wheel-chair accessible, and family friendly, with a Kids Explorer room. Riverfront Trail offers hiking and biking, and a native plant nature trail circles the pond next to the museum. The Discovery Center is located off I-84 exit 82, at 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, Oregon, 97058. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum adult admission is $9, seniors $7, kids 6 to 16 are $5, and children 5 and under free. Live raptor presentations are held on Saturdays and Sundays and daily during Spring break. The Columbia River Trading Company museum store is open daily. For more information, phone (541) 296-8600 ext. 201, or visit


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