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

Author(s): Chelsea E. Rose

Year: 2015


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.

Cite this Record

Getting Burned: Fire, Politics, and Cultural Landscapes in the American West. Chelsea E. Rose. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433887)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 130