Topic ID #32955 - posted 6/19/2014 1:31 AM

Volunteer opportunity: 19th-Century Chinese Mining Site Excavation & Survey, Malheur NF, OR

Jennifer Palmer

Malheur NF
New! 19th-Century Chinese Mining Site Excavation & Survey

July 21-25, 2014

Must commit to full session

Join us in July for a hike into Oregon's historic past! Most people don't associate Oregon with large immigrant populations. Generally, when folks think about immigrant worker groups, they imagine the logging camps of the Southwest, the Gold Rush camps of Nevada and California, and the railroad workers bringing connections from east to west across the American Frontier. But people from China (mostly men) began arriving in Oregon as early as the 1860s to mine for gold on land that is now a part of the Malheur National Forest. Unfortunately, there has been little research completed on the sites - at least those that remain - associated with these Chinese miners.

Well, with your help, we intend to change all that! The site we have chosen for this year's study is thought to have been a living space where Chinese miners stayed when not actively working their claims. PIT volunteers and Forest Staff will explore the site through excavation and archaeological survey in an attempt to obtain relative, perhaps even precise, dates of occupation, and gather data concerning the camp's overall layout, size, boundaries, and articles and artifacts left behind. We will be working with folks from the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site (out of John Day), and hope to include a presentation at, and/or a tour of, the Heritage Site itself. For more information about the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site, please visit: We will be, quite literally, "breaking ground" on a site that has been explored very little. It is a critical first step in changing the way these important sites are viewed, so join us for this crucial work! There is also much to see and do here in those hours "off the clock," so we hope to see you this summer for our "hike into the past!"

Number of openings: 6

Special skills: Must be physically capable of kneeling/bending/lifting for extended periods each day in a variety of weather conditions; must be able to lift a minimum of 5 gallons (in buckets) of sediment (~ 50 lbs.); previous archaeological survey, excavation, site mapping and recording, artifact identification (specifically 19th-century Chinese), and/or Chinese history helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Tent and self-contained RV camping available at Bates State Park (~ 8 miles from work site); potable water, vault toilet; no hook-ups; limited hiker/biker camp sites with electric hook-ups; fees apply (tent/RV sites $11.00/night; hiker/biker sites $5.00/night); Prairie City and John Day are full-service communities with hotels/motels, restaurants, and a range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for own lodging/camping equipment, food, and transportation

Nearest towns: Prairie City, 25 miles; Sumpter, 35 miles; John Day, 38 miles

Applications due: June 30, 2014

For more information, view the full listing here.


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