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Getting Burned: Fire, Politics, and Cultural Landscapes in the American West

Author(s): Chelsea Rose

Year: 2015

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The National Historic Landmark town of Jacksonville, Oregon is celebrated for its nineteenth century past. While saloons, hotels, and shops survive as testament to the days of the Oregon gold rush, the selective preservation of the built environment has created a romanticized frontier landscape. A sleepy park now covers the once bustling Chinese Quarter, which burned to the ground in 1888. Recent public archaeology excavations revealed the remains of a burned building, and led to a fruitful collaboration with the local fire department who helped illustrate the taphonomic processes of the historic fire. While fires often lead to the recovery of well-preserved archaeological deposits, the context of the fire itself as a socio-political artifact has been underexplored. Used as both a deliberate and opportunistic means of controlling and creating social and political landscapes, fire was effective at displacing, marginalizing, or even erasing populations like the Overseas Chinese from historic communities.

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Getting Burned: Fire, Politics, and Cultural Landscapes in the American West. Chelsea Rose. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396674)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America