Archaeology dig set in Jacksonville's Chinese Quarter

Southern Oregon University archaeologists will return to Jacksonville next month to conduct more excavations at the old Chinese Quarter.

Working in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Transportation and the city of Jacksonville, SOU's Laboratory of Anthropology will do excavations along Main Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is invited to watch. Main Street is located south of California Street and runs from First to Fifth streets.

The Chinese Quarter was established in the mid-1850s and is thought to have been the earliest such quarter in Oregon, making it significant on both a regional and national level. The site served as a vital resource for the thousands of Chinese miners working in Southern Oregon in the 19th century.

SOU's archaeological work this year will expand on previous excavations in an attempt to uncover buildings associated with the neighborhood when it burned in the late 1880s.

Public Archaeology Day will be hosted by SOU and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. Visitors will be able to speak with archaeologists and SOU students about the excavations, view artifacts and learn about the archaeological process.

"The excavations in Jacksonville's Chinese Quarter provide us with an opportunity to bring that neighborhood back to life — and to learn about its people, businesses and the important role it served in the larger community," said SOULA archaeologist Chelsea Rose in a news release.

According to Rose, hosting an open-site public day allows visitors to learn about archaeology and to share in the excitement of discovery.

Visitors heading to Jacksonville can also check out the annual "Meet the Pioneers" event at the nearby Jacksonville Cemetery.

Visitors can learn about the history of Jacksonville through special guided Living History tours on Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12. Tours depart every 15 minutes between 4 and 7:30 p.m. Contact the Jacksonville Visitors Center for more information.

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