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Every rusty nail is sacred, every rusty nail is good: Conflict archaeology, remote sensing, and community engagement at a northwest coast settler fort


Abstract and Figures

Archaeological investigations at Miners’ Fort, a mid-nineteenth-century settler fort located in the US Northwest, is part of a larger inquiry into conflict archaeology and historical memory of settler colonialism and warfare in the region. Built by gold miners, Miners’ Fort overlooked the Pacific Ocean and was used significantly when the Tututni, Joshua, and Mikonotunne besieged it for a month during the Rogue River War of 1855–1856. Archaeological excavation targeting anomalies discovered through remote sensing revealed several features in context, including an indigenously designed hearth built by one or more Native American women who were wives of some settlers. Public archaeology created an opportunity for community building that included descendants of both settlers and indigenous people of the area. Although excavation is destructive to archaeological deposits, by implementing remote sensing and involving the public in the excavation process, a more accurate historical narrative can emerge, as well as a sense of ownership and inclusion among diverse stakeholders.
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Mark Axel Tveskov, Chelsea Rose, Geoffrey Jones, and David Maki
Archaeological investigations at MinersFort, a mid-nineteenth-century settler fort located in the US Northwest, is part of a
larger inquiry into conict archaeology and historical memory of settler colonialism and warfare in the region. Built by gold
miners, MinersFort overlooked the Pacic Ocean and was used signicantly when the Tututni, Joshua, and Mikonotunne
besieged it for a month during the Rogue River War of 18551856. Archaeological excavation targeting anomalies discovered
through remote sensing revealed several features in context, including an indigenously designed hearth built by one or more
Native American women who were wives of some settlers. Public archaeology created an opportunity for community building
that included descendants of both settlers and indigenous people of the area. Although excavation is destructive to archaeo-
logical deposits, by implementing remote sensing and involving the public in the excavationprocess, a more accurate historical
narrative can emerge, as well as a sense of ownership and inclusion among diverse stakeholders.
Investigaciones arqueológicas en el Fuerte de Mineros (MinersFort), un fuerte del siglo 19, ubicado en el noroeste de norte
américa, son parte de una investigación más grande de la arqueología del conicto y memoria histórica de colonialismo y
guerra en la región. Construido por mineros de oro, el Fuerte de Mineros dio vista al Océano Pacico y fue utilizado inten-
samente cuando los grupos indígenas Tututni, Joshua, y Mikonotunne lo cercaron por un mes durante la guerra Rogue
Riverde 18551856. Excavaciones arqueológicas fueron diseñadas para investigar anomalías identicadas por percepción
remota, y descubrieron unas estructuras arqueológicas in situ, incluyendo un fogón de diseño indígena construido por la
esposa nativa americana de un colono europeo. La arqueológica publica dio la oportunidad de conectarse con la comunidad,
incluyendo con los descendentes de ambos colonos europeos e indígenas. Aunque la excavación es destructiva a los restos
arqueológicos, sostenemos que combinar la percepción remota, la excavación, y la arqueología publica puede permitir
que emerja una narrativa histórica más matizada y un sentido de propiedad e inclusión entre diversas partes interesadas.
Since at least the 1970s, archaeological sites
have been conceptualized as nonrenewable
resources that require conservation, and
excavation has been recognized as destructive
to that resource. In North America, the entrée
and involvement of descent communities in the
archaeological process has accelerated concerns
about site preservation, the necessity of consult-
ation, and the need to incorporate the protocols
of these communities in archaeological research
designs and interpretations (see Gonzalez
2016). In this context, the noninvasive nature of
remote sensing can be an asset (Arnott and
Maki 2019; Sunseri and Byram 2017; see also
Bevan 1998; Conyers 2013; Heimmer and De
Vore 1995; Horsley et al. 2014; Mussett and
Khan 2000). Why excavate an archaeological
site and destroy those cultural deposits when
seemingly ever-improving technology can allow
us to see beneath the ground without digging?
Mark Axel Tveskov Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology, Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou
Blvd., Ashland, OR 97520, USA (, corresponding author)
Chelsea Rose Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology, Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd.,
Ashland, OR 97520, USA
Geoffrey Jones Archaeo-Physics, LLC, 4150 Dight Avenue #110, Minneapolis, MN 55406, USA
David Maki Archaeo-Physics, LLC, 4150 Dight Avenue #110, Minneapolis, MN 55406, USA
American Antiquity 84(1), 2019, pp. 4867
Copyright © 2019 by the Society for American Archaeology
Further, Sunseri and Byram (2017:1) caution that
archaeological excavation disrupts stratigraphic
subtleties, risking desecration of the sacred.
MinersFort was built by gold miners on the
southern coast of Oregon during the Rogue River
War of 18551856 and has remained an import-
ant signier of settler colonialism in local and
regional historical memory. The Southern
Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology
(SOULA), in collaboration with local descent
communities, conducted archaeological excava-
tions at the site in 2016. Among our projects
goals were to have an informed public dialogue
about settler colonialism and to facilitate access
to and a sense of ownership of the archaeological
process through public archaeology on the site.
This combination of remote sensing, horizontal
excavating, and inclusive public programing
fostered a critical dialogue about the site and its
signicance. We argue that this dialogue would
have been less rich, nuanced, and inclusive
had we regarded the original stratigraphic prove-
niences of the artifacts at MinersFort as de facto
sacrosanct and subject solely to remote sensing
and light archaeological testing for an audience
of heritage ofcials and academics (Figure 1).
The technology and accessibility of remote
sensing have improved in recent years (Whittaker
2009:57; see also Arnott and Maki 2019;
Conyers 2006,2013; Gaffney and Gater 2006;
Hanna 2011; Horsley et al. 2014; Kvamme
2001,2003; McBride and McBride 2011; Orr
and Steele 2011; Somers 1998; Sunseri and
Byram 2017; Witten 2006). Remote sensing
applications gather geospatial information to
capture subtle changes in topography, vegeta-
tion, or other geomorphological and anthropo-
genic landscape characteristics and include
studying aerial photographs, collecting and
analyzing light detection and ranging (lidar)
and applying geophysical survey methods
such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR), mag-
netometer, electromagnetic induction (EMI), or
earth resistance survey (see Arnott and Maki
2019; Byram 2005,2013; Clark, 1996; Conyers
2013; Hanna 2011; Kvamme 2001,2003;
Somers 1998; Whittaker 2009). Historic maps,
like other remote sensing tools, yield geospatial
information with their own characteristic set of
opportunities and limitations and have been
used analogously by archaeologists with greater
frequency (e.g., Byram 2013; Panich et al.
2018; Tveskov and Johnson 2014).
All these techniques have been applied in
conict archaeology when battleeld artifacts,
fortications, trenches, and other substantial fea-
tures are found (Byram 2005,2013; Hanna 2011;
Hargrave 1999; Nassaney et al. 2004; Parrington
1979; Williams and Shapiro 1982). Somers
(1998) used resistivity and magnetic gradient
survey to identify artifact scatters and architec-
tural features at Fort Laramie, Wyoming; Whit-
taker (2009) used GPR to study the interior of
nineteenth-century US Army fortications in
Iowa and Wisconsin; Arnott and Maki (2019)
used lidar and GPR survey to demonstrate how
US Army forts in the Dakotas were often pur-
posely situated over indigenous burial mounds;
and Maki (2013) used lidar and earth resistance
survey to detect temporary rie pits and trenches
from the Battle of Wood Lake (the nal battle of
the US-Dakota War of 1862) in Minnesota.
Metal detectors are amenable to the study of
battleelds characterized by broadly dispersed
distributions of lead munitions (Hanna 2011:12)
and have been used to great effect in the survey
and forensic interpretation of the 1876 Little
Big Horn battleeld (Scott et al. 1989), the
1778 Monmouth battleeld of the Revolutionary
War (Starbuck 2011:12), the 1637 Mystic Fort
battle of the Pequot War (McBride et al. 2017),
and the 1812 Battle of Caulks Field in Maryland
(Lucas and Schablitsky 2014). In addition, metal
detector survey was combined with EMI survey
to map projectiles and other battle artifacts
from the battleeld of Wood Lake (Arnott and
Maki 2016).
Along the north Pacic coast of North
America, Allan (1997) employed a magnetom-
eter survey to identify features at the early nine-
teenth-century Russian outpost of Fort Ross on
the northern California coast. In addition, Cross
and Voss (1996) used magnetometer and GPR
surveys to identify subsurface features at the Pre-
sidio de San Francisco. Byram (2013) reviewed
the 1852 eld notes and archived maps of the
United States Coast Survey to triangulate the
location of signicant historic-era sites on the
West Coast, including several mid-nineteenth-
century US Army and settler fortications.
Magnetometer, GPR, EMI, and earth resistance
surveys are routinely used by the National Park
Service to manage and interpret the archaeo-
logical record at Fort Vancouver National His-
toric Site on the banks of the Columbia River,
the location of the Hudsons Bay Companys
headquarters in the early nineteenth century,
and, later, the locale of the US Armys Vancou-
ver Barracks (e.g., Bell 1991; Conyers 2000;
Conyers and Amanti 2003; Dalan-Daut, 1986;
De Vore 2012; Edwards and Thorsgard 2013;
McDonald 2000). GPR survey was also used
by the University of Oregon at the US Armys
Fort Klamath (18641890) to identify the
location of subsurface features (OGrady 2014;
see also Tveskov et al. 2015a).
Remote sensing has been part of SOULAs
research on sites associated with the Rogue
River War. Cartographic, lidar, and magnetom-
eter surveys were used to identify the subsurface
remains of structures at the US Armys Fort Lane
(Tveskov and Johnson 2014; McDonald 2008),
and a metal detector and lidar survey was used
to identify and evaluate the location of the Battle
of Hungry Hill (October 31November 1, 1855),
when a small group of Native Americans defeat a
larger force of US Army dragoons and citizen
volunteers in a two-day battle (Tveskov 2015,
Figure 1. The location of MinersFort on the southern Oregon coast at the time of the northern California and southern
Oregon gold rush. Locales mentioned in the text are noted as well.
50 [Vol. 84, No. 1, 2019AMERICAN ANTIQUITY
2017). Byrams coast survey research identied
the Camp Castaway site, which included the
remains of the Captain Lincoln, a US Army
schooner used to transport US Army dragoons
to the Oregon Territory in 1852. The ship
wrecked on the north spit of Coos Bay that Janu-
ary, marooning the men and a large cache of sup-
plies on the beach (Byram 2013; Tveskov et al.
2015b). GPR was used during the Camp Cast-
away project and helped identify clusters of arti-
facts remaining from the camp, including parts of
the ship. Metal detectors were also employed to
investigate the locale of the Battle of Big Bend
(May 2627, 1856), where the indigenous forces
of southern Oregon were nally defeated by the
United States Army (Applen 1997; Tveskov
and Johnson 2018).
At times, dialectic and even tension seem to
exist between the literature and the on-the-
ground application of remote sensing. In avail-
able articles and reports, geophysical survey is
presented with a promise of archaeology that is
less destructive to the archaeological record
(e.g., Sunseri and Byram 2017:1; see also
Conyers 2013; Horsley et al. 2014). A resource
thus preserved and interiorgraphed will be avail-
able for future consideration as the technology of
geophysical survey advances (cf. Sunseri and
Byram 2017). However, our experiences and a
review of the literature suggest that in practical
application, the results of geophysical surveys
often remain underreported, and the results can
be ambiguous, especially when only one
technique is used or when not veried through
excavation. Published results often document
noise from less ideal soil conditions or modern
disturbances that obscure remote sensing
signals and reduce the clarity or usefulness of
the resulting data (e.g., Cross and Voss 1996;
Horsley et al. 2014:84; OGrady 2014; Whittaker
2009). In the case of the work at Fort Klamath,
for example, soil anomalies possibly associated
with signicant features remained subject to
interpretation because construction disturbance
was present and excavation was not performed
to assess the actual nature of the identied
features (OGrady 2014:13).
A better understanding of the physical struc-
ture of a site is often achieved when several
remote sensing techniques are employed, and
their results are veried through excavation
(McKinnon and Haley 2017; Tveskov and John-
son 2014; Wilson and Langford 2011). McKin-
non and Haley (2017) and Horsley and
colleagues (2014:84) point out that this is espe-
cially the case when remote sensing is guided
by anthropological or management questions
posed in a research design. At Fort Vancouver
and Fort Lane, remote sensing and traditional
archaeological excavation were used in a prob-
abilistic manner to allow the interior of the sites
to be delineated to assist ongoing site manage-
ment, conservation, and interpretation (Tveskov
and Johnson 2014; Wilson and Langford
2011). At these Pacic Northwest fortications,
additional value was added by combining remote
sensing and excavation with public archaeology
programs, open houses, and eld schools that
engaged local stakeholders (Wilson and Lang-
ford 2011; Tveskov and Cohen 2014; Tveskov
and Rose 2019). Tapping into some notion of
how archaeology is conductedwhere students
from the local university uncovered the past
with their trowelscommunity efforts asso-
ciated with the Fort Lane project led the State
of Oregon to acquire the property to develop it
as a State Heritage Area in the Oregon State
Parks system.
At MinersFort, we hoped to learn about
the integrity, research potential, and physical
boundaries of the site; teach students excavation
techniques; and engage the local and statewide
community (including both settler and indigen-
ous descendants) in a public dialogue about
history, archaeology, and settler colonialism
(Figure 2). We used several remote sensing tech-
niques and conducted archaeological excavation
at the site. While in the eld, we hosted on-site
open houses and organized a weekly evening lec-
ture and discussion series. MinersFort, a small
earthen revetment, is amenable to these activities
because it is relatively small (less than 2,500 m
thereby reducing the logistical complexity and
cost of the eldwork. It was occupied for about
one month in a manner described in some detail
in primary documentation. The site was not over-
written by subsequent construction, essentially
leaving it to dilapidate in a relatively at pasture.
MinersFort remained in the historical memory
of the local community, and although discing
and some looting have occurred, a signicant
community investment protected it from the
depredations of large-scale pot-hunting. In the
1970s (as detailed below), a local surveyor
marked the corners of the fort with brass pins,
and the local community maintained signage at
the site and held periodic picnics and historic
reenactments on the property.
The site was
used by settlers, several indigenous people, and
at least one person of African descent. Families
from at least three indigenous groups the Con-
federated Tribes of Siletz, the Coquille Indian
Tribe, and the Tolowa Dee-ni´have oral histor-
ies linked to MinersFort and the Rogue River
War generally.
Research by SOULA and Archaeo-Physics
included GIS-based aerial photography and
lidar analysis, magnetic eld gradient survey,
and earth resistance survey. After these were
completed, Southern Oregon University hosted
an archaeological eld school and public archae-
ology program at the site, where excavations
sampled areas of the fort identied by remote
sensing. A rich and diverse assemblage of period
artifacts associated with several domestic and
architectural features was recovered. Despite
taking place in a very rural area, the open houses
and weekly lectures were attended by hundreds
of people, several of whom claimed settler or
indigenous ancestry directly related to people
living there during the Rogue River War.
Some individuals donated artifacts excavated
informally from the site over the years or
provided anecdotes, newspaper clippings, and
insights about the sites history. Others contribu-
ted family oral histories drawn from their settler
or indigenous ancestors relating to the Rogue
River War, including the experiences of named
individuals who were participants in the events
at the fort. Several newspapers and a regional
correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR)
reported on the project. The NPR story was
picked up by the Here and Now program,
bringing the voices of settler and indigenous des-
cendants and archaeologists to an international
MinersFort and the Rogue River War,
While Spanish and English imperialism exerted
inuence to the north and south during the
early nineteenth century, settler colonialism
was slow to directly intrude on the mountainous
region that straddles the border of the modern
states of California and Oregon. Following the
Figure 2. Excavations underway at MinersFort during the summer of 2016. The site has remained relatively undevel-
oped and undisturbed in a eld since June 1856 (Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology).
52 [Vol. 84, No. 1, 2019AMERICAN ANTIQUITY
assertion of United States hegemony in far west-
ern North America and the discovery of gold
in the late 1840s, tens of thousands of settlers
immigrated to the region, with thousands arriv-
ing virtually overnight (Beckham 1971; Douthit
2002; Schwartz 1997; Tveskov 2017; Tveskov
and Rose 2019; Whaley 2010). Hostility between
the settlers and indigenous people was immedi-
ate and persistent, punctuated by attempts at
peacemaking initiated by both sides. In 1853,
agents of the United States government nego-
tiated a treaty with the leaders of the Takelma,
Shasta, and Athapaskan-speaking people of the
interior Rogue River valley, and the Table Rock
Reservation was established. Simultaneously,
the US Army built two forts to help maintain
peace: Fort Orford on the coast and Fort Lane
in the interior Rogue River valley.
Although many settlers and indigenous peo-
ple attempted to make the terms of the treaty
work, peace was short-lived. In the fall of
1855, open war broke out after settler vigilantes
attacked a Takelma community, murdering
most of the inhabitants. Subsequently, most of
the Takelma, Shasta, and Athapaskan-speaking
people opted to ght, abandoning the reservation
to embark on a guerilla campaign against the
American settlers. After defeating a combined
force of US Army dragoons and citizen
volunteers at the Battle of Hungry Hill at the
end of October 1855, the Shasta, Takelma, and
Athapaskan-speaking people fortied them-
selves in the relatively inaccessible Rogue
River canyon that separated the interior valley
from the Pacic coast.
In that winter of 18551856, the small gold-
mining community at the mouth of the Rogue
River was less than two years old and was effect-
ively accessible to distant settler population
centers only by foot, a light ship, or pack mule,
given the shallow sand bar at the river mouth
and the rugged terrain of the surrounding region.
Although some families had established home-
steads, most the immigrants were young men
pursuing gold mining in the black sandof
the ocean beaches. At the outbreak of the war,
the only civil authorities in the region were an
agent of the federal Superintendency of Indian
Affairs, one US customs ofcer, and a small con-
tingent of US Army soldiers, all located at Fort
Orford some 30 difcult miles away. As conict
erupted in the interior valleys in October 1855,
the Gold Beach settlers feared that the Tututni,
Joshua, and Mikonotunnethe Athapaskan-
speaking people who lived on either side of the
mouth of the Rogue Riverwould join the
ght. That fall, they began construction of what
would eventually be called MinersFort on the
narrow open coastal plain between the ocean
beaches and the hills to the east (Anonymous
1856a; W. J. Berry to J. Lane, letter, 30 October,
1856, Joseph Lane papers, mss 18351906,
Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene,
Oregon; R. Bledsoe to the Adjutant General of
Oregon, letter, 29 February, 1856, Yakima and
Rogue River War, document le B, reel 2, docu-
ment 566, Oregon State Archives, Salem,
The indigenous people of the southern
Oregon coast joined the rebellion on February
22, 1856. That night, the federal Indian Agent
and the captain of the local volunteer militia
were assassinated, and in a surprise attack,
many other settlers were murdered or taken cap-
tive. By the following afternoon, the settlement
of Gold Beach and the outlying homesteads
were in ames, and the survivors retreated into
MinersFort with minimal rations, rearms,
and ammunition. The siege lasted until March
20, when the settlers were rescued by 150 US
Army soldiers from Crescent City, California,
with orders to quell the indigenous rebellion in
southern Oregon (Glisan 1874:282292; Jones
1856; Webster 1884:235240). The number of
people within MinersFort varied over the
course of the siege but included about 100
white men, at least 1 African American man
(named Negro Nedin the documents), 5 indi-
genous men (some of whom may have been
captives), 11 children, 8 white women, and at
least 4 Indigenous women who had come to
the fort as partners of white male settlers
(Berry to Lane, 30 October, 1856; Berry et al.
1856; Bledsoe to the Adjutant General of
Oregon, 29 February, 1856; R. W. Dunbar to
J. Lane, letter, 17 March, 1856, Joseph Lane
papers, mss 18351906, Knight Library, Univer-
sity of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon; Glisan 1874;
Jones 1856; E. Meservey to the Adjutant General
of the Oregon Territory, letter, 9 May, 1856,
Yakima and Rogue River War, document le B,
reel 2, document 574, Oregon State Archives,
Salem, Oregon; J. Walker to the Adjutant
General of the Oregon Territory, letter, 19
April 1856, Yakima and Rogue River War, docu-
ment le B, reel 2, document 574, Oregon State
Archives, Salem, Oregon; O. W. Weaver on
behalf of 42 signatories, memorial to Joseph
Lane, 1856, Joseph Lane papers, mss. 1835
1906, Knight Library, University of Oregon,
Eugene, Oregon; Webster 1884).
Some information is available about the
architecture and internal features of Miners
Fort. One account, penned 42 years after the
fort was abandoned and settler hegemony was
secure, described MinersFort proudly as an
impregnable log fort complete with a agpole,
a wide moat always lled with water,and
even a drawbridge (Dodge 1898:75). More
sober narratives written at the time of the siege
indicate a more modest structure: a small revet-
ment of breast-high earthen or grass sod walls
(Dunbar to Lane, 17 March, 1856; Glisan
1874:282292). Inside the walls were two log
cabins, the larger of which housed the settler
women, who had segregated themselves from a
small contingent of Native American women
(Jones 1856:522; Webster 1884:235240). The
men, presumably, split between these two
cabins. One eyewitness described the cabins as
crowded almost to suffocation,with little
privacy to allow for modesty. Several accounts
describe muddy conditions throughout the fort,
suggesting that the cabins had unnished oors
(Jones 1856:522). One eyewitness describes the
inhabitants smoking tobacco in the cabins and
a woman frying pork over the re,but no
written descriptions of replaces, hearths, or
similar features are extant (Jones 1856:522).
During the siege, the forts inhabitants wrote a
few letters and, on at least one occasion, mana-
ged to smuggle them out to Port Orford by row-
boat. The return trip was less successful. An
attempt to resupply the fort by a whaleboat
from Port Orford met with disaster, as six men
drowned when the open boat overturned in the
surf (Berry to Lane, 30 October, 1856; Berry
et al. 1856; Bledsoe to the Adjutant General of
Oregon, 29 February, 1856; Dunbar to Lane,
17 March, 1856; Glisan 1874; Jones 1856;
Merservey to the Adjutant General of the Oregon
Territory, 9 May, 1856; Weaver memorial to
Lane 1856; Webster 1884).
The inhabitants of MinersFort were under
duress not only because of the primitive condi-
tions and overcrowding, but also from hunger
and the threat of violence from the besieging
force. On March 2, with rations short, six men
were killed when a group was ambushed while
venturing from the fort to forage in an abandoned
potato patch. The low fort walls offered minimal
protection, and musket re from the besieging
forces was said to have knocked splinters off
the roofonto those huddled inside the cabins,
and the sentinels on duty in the forts bastions
had to keep their heads down under the shower
of bullets(Webster 1884:235240). The defen-
ders had lost much of their ammunition and their
best weapons during the surprise attack of Febru-
ary 22, leaving them, by their own account, with
mostly fowling pieces(i.e., shotguns) rather
than muskets or ries (Anonymous 1856b; Web-
ster 1884:235240). When the army nally
arrived and lifted the siege, children emerged
from the fort and played in the surrounding
eld, glad of a chance to get out after their
months connement(Jones 1856:522). While
the settler and Native American children played
together, the settler women attempted, unsuc-
cessfully, to persuade the army ofcers to kill
the Native American women who had been
inside the fort with them for a month (Jones
1856:522). According to one ofcer, when one
white woman was informed of the Armys reluc-
tance to murder these indigenous women, she
offered in Lady MacBeth style to do the bloody
work with her own hands(Jones 1856:522).
Remote Sensing at MinersFort
In some form, MinersFort had been subject to
remote sensing investigation since at least the
1960s. Local historians Dorothy Sutton and
Jack Sutton (1969:208) published a book that
included a black-and-white aerial photograph
of the area, showing a rectangular cropmark
with circular bastions in the northeast and south-
west corners. According to community members
who visited our excavations, the eroded walls
of the fort were still visible until at least the
54 [Vol. 84, No. 1, 2019AMERICAN ANTIQUITY
mid-1960s. When historian Stephen Dow Beck-
ham recorded MinersFort for the Oregon State
Historic Preservation Ofce in 1974, he learned
from Robert Knox, the property owner, that
the eld had been recently disced and leveled
(Beckham 1974). According to letters on le
with the Curry County Historical Museum, that
same year, with the outline of the fort now barely
perceptible on the ground surface of the more
level pasture, local civil surveyor Howard New-
house marked the structures four corners with
survey monuments (Fort Milner has been per-
manently marked,undated anonymous docu-
ment, Forts File, Curry County Historical
Society, Gold Beach, Oregon).
Building on Sutton and Sutton (1969),
SOULA identied and scanned a time series of
aerial photographs of the site area dating to
1939, 1940, 1951, 1952, 1965, and 1969 at the
Map and Aerial Photography Library at the Uni-
versity of Oregon, and these were georeferenced
in SOULAs GIS (ArcGIS v. 10.3). The outline
of the fort is clearly visible in the 1939 and
1940 images, showing a small rectangular struc-
ture with circular features (hypothesized to
represent bastions) in two opposite corners,
with the northeast bastion considerably larger
than the southeast (Figure 3). The site area is
washed out in the 1950s photographs, but the
fort is still evident in the 1965 image. The fort
is no longer visible in the 1969 photograph,
which also shows the results of the physical
improvements to the surrounding eld, with
now very homogeneous vegetation and appar-
ently reduced local relief.
Little surface indication of the fort walls was
apparent during our initial site visits, but lidar
data was collected to determine whether any sur-
face expression remained. The lidar investigation
began by downloading raw, discrete-response
lidar data in LAZ format from the USGS Earth-
Explorer web portal.
The LAZ point cloud
was parsed to eliminate responses classied as
other than bare ground and exported as an x, y,
zdatale using LAStools.
Data resolution was good, with lidar returns
spaced an average of 0.25 m apart, resulting in
an overall data sample density of 6.7 discrete
returns per square meter.
The x, y, z data le
was gridded to a uniform density of four samples
per square meter using the gridding method
known as kriging. Gridding was accomplished
using SURFER (Version 10.7.972) surface
mapping software by Golden Software.
After appropriate processing, the gridded data
were used to create imagery using lidar visualiza-
tion and analysis methods tailored for archaeo-
logical prospection (Bennett 2011; Bennett
et. al. 2012; Challis et al. 2008,2011; Hesse
2010; Kokalj et al. 2011;Štular et al. 2012).
These visualization methods have proven effect-
ive for mapping burial mounds and earthworks
during several recent projects conducted in
Minnesota (Arnott and Maki 2019; Arnott,
Brosowske, and Maki 2013; Arnott, Jones, and
Maki 2013; Artz et al. 2013; Riley et al. 2010).
Visualization methods included shaded-relief
imagery using multiple light-source azimuths,
constrained shading elevation maps, visible
sky, and solar insolation. We also used intensity
(a measure of the absorbance/reectance of the
infrared laser pulses) as well as local relief mod-
eling to suppress large-scale topographic trends
and enhance small changes in local topography.
The shaded-relief and local-relief modeling
were most effective, and showed a rectangular
earthwork matching the images on the 1939,
1940, and 1965 aerial photographs (Figure 4).
The rectanglepresumably the walls of Miners
Fortmeasures approximately 35 m × 21 m,
with the long axis of the rectangle oriented 13
degrees east of north. The height of the walls
varies from just a few centimeters to more than
30 cm above the local surroundings. The north-
east and southwest corners of the rectangle
possess the highest elevations, representing
the bastions visible in the aerial photography.
Although there is a subtle elevated rise near the
center of the rectangular earthwork, the lidar
data yielded little evidence of internal features.
Magnetic survey was conducted at the
MinersFort site in March 2016 using a Geoscan
Research FM256 uxgate gradiometer. Magnetic
eld gradient survey responds to local variations
in Earths magnetic eld that are created by sub-
surface materials. The instrument can detect very
subtle anomalies caused by organically enriched,
disturbed, or compacted soils. It is rapid and
capable of very high resolution. The chief limi-
tation is that subtle anomalies are often obscured
by extraneous materials of ferrous metal,
brick, or igneous rock, and by postdepositional
disturbance (Somers 1998). Possible magnetic
survey targets that tend to be very strongly
expressed include iron and steel objects (debris
or elements of features) and brick or stone
architecture (if igneous rock was used). Where
these highly magnetic materials are not immedi-
ately present, magnetic survey can map very sub-
tle features that can be associated with
organically enriched, disturbed, or compacted
soils and sedimentary rock. Although the radius
Figure 3. Detail of a 1939 aerial photograph showing the hypothesized outline of MinersFort evident in crop marks.
Note the rectangular form and the bastions in the southwest and northeast corners. (Map and Aerial Photography
Library at the University of Oregon.)
Figure 4. Shaded-relief lidar image of the feature hypothesized to represent MinersFort, southeast light source. Despite
not being apparent to the naked eye while on site, the walls of a fort 35 m by 21 m with the bastions in the two corners are
56 [Vol. 84, No. 1, 2019AMERICAN ANTIQUITY
of response to subtle features is usually less than
a meter, metal objects may be detected at some-
what greater depth or distance. A 150 m ×
150 m grid was established centered over the
fort, as delineated by the aerial photography and
lidar survey, and this was subdivided into 50 m
x 50 m squares, referred to as survey grids. Within
the grids, data was collected at 1 m transect inter-
vals, with eight data points recorded per meter
along each transect (data sample density = 8 sam-
ples/ m
). With this instrument, the radius of
response to subtle features is usually less than a
meter, although strongly magnetic objects may
be detected at a somewhat greater depth or
Based on the results of the magnetic survey, a
smaller area was selected for coverage with
resistance survey, encompassing a 40 m × 60 m
area divided into 40 m × 30 m grids. A Geoscan
Research RM15 resistance meter was used to
perform the resistance survey, used in a twin-
probe conguration. An attached MPX15
multiplexer allowed simultaneous data collection
with two different mobile probe spacings (50 cm
and 100 cm). The narrower electrode spacing is
capable of higher resolution but is limited in
depth of investigation to approximately 75 cm.
The wider electrode spacing achieves approxi-
mately twice the depth of investigation but
sacrices resolution of smaller features. The
data sample density was four samples per square
meter with the narrower electrode spacing and
two samples per square meter with the wider
electrode spacing.
Processing of both magnetic and resistance
data was performed using Geoplot software
(version 4.0). Data quality with both instruments
was very good, and only very minimal process-
ing was required. Processing of magnetic data
included a zero mean traverse lter, which com-
pensates for defects caused by instrument drift
and orientation and interpolation to a uniform
number of data points (eight per meter) in both
the x and y directions. Resistance survey data
processing included removal of extreme statis-
tical outliers (despike), merging data collected
with the two 50 cm parallel array, and interpol-
ation to a uniform number of data points ( four
per meter) in both the x and y directions. After
processing and initial analysis, resistance and
magnetic data were exported to SURFER map-
ping software for display as image maps. The
maps used in this analysis were plotted on the
archaeological site grid system rather than the
grid used for the geophysical survey.
The results of geophysical surveys of archaeo-
logical sites are generally presented graphically
because anomalies of cultural origin are gener-
ally recognized by their pattern rather than by
their numeric values. When rendered graphic-
ally, one can better recognize cultural and natural
patterns and visualize the physical phenomena
causing the detected anomalies. The magnetic
survey showed the location of a substantial rect-
angular feature with circular bastion-like features
on the northeastern and southeastern corners, a
number of internal features, and other anomalies
associated (presumably) with ferrous metal
artifacts (Figure 5). The footprints of what are
hypothesized to be the two reported cabins
within the forts walls were distinct, and the
northern of the two features is shown as larger
than the southern, an observation that matches
documentary evidence describing a large cabin
used by the settler women and a smaller cabin
used by the indigenous women (see Tveskov
and Rose 2019). Clusters of iron artifacts were
indicated across the fort, and four very strong
anomalies near the corners represented the steel
and brass posts placed vertically in the corner
of the fort by Howard Newhouse in 1974.
While the earth resistance survey did not
detect as many small features as the magnetic
data, the results were complementary (Figure 6).
It revealed features not detected magnetically,
particularly those interpreted as the forts walls
and bastions, which are in close concordance
with the aerial photography and lidar data, as
well as a shallow ditch outside the forts walls
that could represent the borrow pit of cut sod
used in the forts construction. It also showed
correlation with magnetic data that suggest fea-
tures of interest, including the walls of the two
cabins and the presence within each of internal
features. In particular, the earth and magnetic
surveys identied relatively discrete features,
one in the middle of what is interpreted to
be the southern portion of the large cabin and
another in the southeast corner of what is inter-
preted to be the southern cabin. These were
Figure 5. The feature hypothesized to represent MinersFort as revealed by the magnetic survey. The locations of the
walls and bastions are delineated, as are footprints of two cabins with internal features. The northern cabin is larger.
The four strong signals in each corner indicate poles placed vertically, and two of these (in the bastions) were revealed
through excavation to be copper survey markers placed by local surveyor Howard Newhouse in 1974. Each was
left in situ.
Figure 6. The feature hypothesized to represent MinersFort as revealed by the earth resistance survey. These data
delineate the sod walls of the fort and bastions and some internal features, but the cabin footprints were less clear.
58 [Vol. 84, No. 1, 2019AMERICAN ANTIQUITY
hypothesized to represent hearths and were
subsequently examined with traditional archaeo-
logical excavation.
Public Archaeology
Archaeological excavation was conducted at
MinersFort in 2016 through a Southern Oregon
University archaeological eld school. A total of
109 m
were excavated, including 26 individual
2 m x 2 m units and 19 individual 50 cm ×
50 cm test pits used to delineate the distribution
of artifacts around the perimeter of the site
(Figure 7). Units were placed to sample areas
of interest indicated by the geophysical survey:
several were placed around the southeast and
northwest corners of the site to determine the
footprint of the forts walls and bastions, and
block excavations were placed over the areas
hypothesized to be the north and south cabin
areas to target and expose some of the internal
features identied by the geophysical survey. In
all, less than 5% of the surface area of the site
and less than 30% of each cabin was excavated.
Most of each sampled feature was left in situ.
These excavations yielded a large assemblage
of mid-nineteenth-century artifacts, including
cut and hand-wrought iron nails, lead musket
balls (both red and freshly molded), ceramic
and glass fragments, tobacco pipes, glass
beads, rearm parts, crucibles for melting lead
or gold, gunpowder container stoppers, and
many other items (Figure 8).
Most artifacts were found within 25 cm below
the ground in an organic-rich, dark brown/black,
ne, clayey loam mottled with gray ne silt. This
matrix contained little to no coarse content other
than manuports of beach or river cobbles discon-
tinuously distributed across the excavation.
While no obvious sedimentary change or com-
paction marked the oor of the fort or the internal
cabins, the artifact count clearly dropped off
below that. Several features were observed that
corresponded to those identied by the remote
sensing. The outer walls and bastions of the
fort were the most ephemeral. Relatively few
iron nails were found in these areas, and the
architecture was visible only as a slightly more
mottled and slightly more clayey soil unit that
could be followed and contoured with a trowel
only with great difculty. This is in concordance
with the primary documents that indicate the
walls of the fort were constructed expediently
of stacked grass sod and were not signicantly
reinforced with logs or other material, as some
later memoirs claimed. The west wall of the
south cabin, identied by the magnetic gradient
survey, was revealed to be a paving of river or
beach cobbles brought to the site to serve as a
wall footing or ooring in the otherwise muddy
cabin. The south wall of the southern cabin was
also identied and was a sharply linear boundary
of burned and compacted red sediment in con-
cordance with the line of the wall in the geophys-
ical plans.
Excavations within the walls of two cabins
revealed a rich signature of life within the fort.
The feature in the middle of the southern side
of the north cabin, assumed to represent the lar-
ger cabin, was a hearth composed of several
rounded cobbles in a roughly 1 m diameter
area. Inside the feature was a basin-shaped stain
of heavily burned, compacted, and oxidized red
and yellow sediment that continued up to
50 cm below the ground (Figure 9). The hearth
in the southern cabin was composed of a large
cobble pile adjacent to a burn pile of heavily oxi-
dized iron artifacts. This hearth was built in the
style of a camas oven, a lenticular platform of
cobbles used as a subterranean or semisubterra-
nean roasting oven, a feature of indigenous
design found commonly in archaeological sites
in western Oregon and elsewhere in the far
West (Figure 10).
The artifacts recovered in context through
excavations at MinersFort indicate something
about the social experience of the inhabitants
while under siege. The presence of clay tobacco
pipes, alcohol bottles, medicine bottles, inkwells,
lantern glass, and other domestic artifacts point
to a desperate normality inside the fort that is
belied by the dearth of faunal remains other
than miniscule particles of calcined bone, the
spread of red musket balls found across the
fort, and burned wagon and rearms parts
found within the hearths, indicating duress from
starvation, hostile re, and scarcity of rewood.
The urgency of their situation is also indicated
by the large number of freshly molded musket
balls and associated slag and sprues that were
scattered across MinersFort, which was occu-
pied for one month, in number and density
greater by several orders of magnitude than
recovered from Fort Lane, which was occupied
for three years (Tveskov and Cohen 2014; Tves-
kov and Rose 2019). In contradiction to the
Figure 7. Plan view of the archaeological excavations at MinersFort showing the locations of the forts walls, bastions,
and internal cabins as identied by the remote sensing.
60 [Vol. 84, No. 1, 2019AMERICAN ANTIQUITY
written accounts, these lead munitions came not
just in the form of small pellets but also larger
round balls of a variety of calibers, indicating
that several kinds of functional weapons besides
shotguns were used. The fragments of transfer-
ware dishes and robust leaded glass vessels, as
Figure 8. Clay tobacco pipe recovered from the north cabin at MinersFort (Southern Oregon University Laboratory of
Figure 9. Hearth feature of rounded cobblessome displaced by eld plowingand an internal sediment matrix
of burned and reddish-yellow compacted earth located within the north cabin within MinersFort (Southern Oregon
University Laboratory of Anthropology).
well as the large quantities and kinds of glass
beads, suggest that even in desperate ight, the
settlers prioritized saving some of the more sym-
bolic trappings of culture and status.
Summary and Conclusion
At MinersFort, Fort Lane, Camp Castaway, and
the Hungry Hill and Big Bend battleelds, we
would not have been able to orient ourselves as
effectively as we did by using only traditional
excavation. At MinersFort, remote sensing
identied surface features not visible to the
naked eye and efciently identied subsurface
architectural and domestic features. Subsequent
excavations leveraged these data to reveal details
about the architecture of the forts earthen walls
and the conguration of two internal cabins
and their constituent features. The hearths inside
the cabins were identied based on the size and
geometry of the magnetic anomalies, the ampli-
tude of the detected signal, and the alignment
of the positive and negative components of this
signal with respect to the earths magnetic
eld, suggesting that they were caused by a
local increase in soil magnetic susceptibility
values, likely due to thermal enhancement rela-
tive to the surrounding natural soils. What was
not apparent from the geophysical survey was
that one of these features was a hearth of indigen-
ous rather than settler design. The identication
of this hearth, which was probably built by one
or more indigenous women who were in the
fort with their settler husbands, challenges the
public memory of MinersFort as a bastion of
settler colonialism (see Tveskov 2017).
In our experience in archaeology in the
Northwest, Midwest, and the Northeast of
North America and with many projects coordi-
nated with the PBS television show Time Team
America, remote sensing techniques spark
considerable interest and enthusiasm among
nonarchaeologists, including, as Sunseri and
Byram (2017) point out, our partners from
Figure 10. Camas oven hearth feature of indigenous designa lenticular pile of rounded cobbles used as a roasting
platform or earth ovenuncovered within the south cabin at MinersFort. Several indigenous women were inside
the fort with their settler husbands during the siege, and they likely built and used this feature (Southern Oregon
Laboratory of Anthropology).
62 [Vol. 84, No. 1, 2019AMERICAN ANTIQUITY
descent communities. While any avenue to bring
archaeology to a wider audience should be
explored, it seems that the interest in remote
sensing is often grounded on the novelty of the
technology and the promise (not always the
reality) of useful results at site interiography or
A range of remote sensing techniques and
traditional excavation can provide insights
based on previously unseen associations and
contexts among artifacts, ecofacts, and features.
When coupled with an inclusive public archae-
ology program, they can also engender enthusi-
asm, dialogue, and multivalent discussions and
insights among diverse stakeholders. The public
access to the MinersFort excavations attracted
people who shared stories of ancestors who had
been there or nearby. Through the intersection
of archaeology, remote sensing, and public
engagement, we saw the diversity of people
who used the fort, the desperation and power
dynamics at play, and the creative ways that
different residents used their backgrounds and
knowledge to negotiate this colonial moment.
Finally, we think and hope we were successful
at leaving students and members of the local
communitywhether indigenous, descendants
of settlers, or more recently arrivedfeeling
challenged, listened to, and positive about
archaeology as an educational, reexive, and
community-building enterprise.
A conservation ethic in archaeology is essen-
tial, as is recognizing the sovereignty, cultural
perspectives, and protocols of our indigenous
partners. In addition, the use of an explicit
research design followed by the professional
publication and public dissemination of results
are foundational values of our eld. The points
raised by Sunseri and Byram (2017) are well
taken, particularly when and if remote sensing
techniques are employed in a planned and prob-
abilistic (opposed to an ad hoc) manner; when we
can have some condences that the geophysical
results mean what they suggest they mean; and
that these results, whether positive or negative,
are reported in a way that truly realizes their
curatorial potential as nondestructive agents of
archaeological conservation.
Although descendant communities often see
excavation as unnecessarily intrusive, sometimes
it is seen as an opportunity to provide detail to
their histories, particularly when long-term
partnerships with archaeologists have been
established (e.g., Gonzalez 2016; McBride
et al. 2017; Murry 2011; Silliman 2014; Tush-
ingham and Brooks 2017; Tveskov 2007,
2015). There is also, we believe, added value
and an obligation to bring archaeology to a
diverse range of stakeholders, including resi-
dents, students, and the general public. We do
not think it is wise to set ourselves up a priori
as defenders, through a role as gatekeepers or
priests of technological esoterica, of an assumed
sacredness that may or may not actually be
asserted by a community or that may be con-
tested or uid among or within a set of
It may be true that one day the repose and
conformation of an archaeological object will
be regarded much as the original provenience
of excavated objects is regarded today(Sunseri
and Byram 2017:1422). In the meantime, we still
enjoy the benet of engaging the materialities of
the past on site, outside, and with a crowd. Some
of the discussions over MinersFort were dif-
cult, such as when historical memories tied to
notions of manifest destiny were challenged or
when ideas about amateur or professional exca-
vation were contested. Others were joyful, such
as when students identied diagnostic artifacts
or participants chatted amiably over a screen on
a spot where their respective ancestors had
fought a bloody battle. Overall, the public
archaeology fostered, however modestly, a
sense of trust between diverse stakeholders,
including those who have felt alienated from
the archaeological process, whether rural people,
local settler descendants, or indigenous people.
This alienation results, in part, from the gate-
keeping and exclusivity of academic and regula-
tory archaeological praxis. A hands-off approach
may be the best measure in some cases, and
advocating this approach certainly signals con-
siderable virtue. Nonetheless, our role as archae-
ologists is not solely to preserve but also to help
provide access, engagement, and professional
consultation to a richly textured and contested
past to constituencies that extend beyond aca-
demia, as well as beyond tribal, state, or federal
historic preservation ofcials.
1. Although the term LiDAR is commonly used, one
reviewer of this manuscript suggests that the term Airborne
Laser Scanning (ALS) may be more appropriate, as not all
survey instruments that use the operating principle are air-
borne or used in a scanning mode.
2. Examples of community investment in Miners Fort
can be found articles in the Curry County Reporter of Gold
Beach Oregon, c.f., May 18, 2011 and the August 11 and
23, 2004 editions.
le-battleelds, accessed January 9, 2018.
4., accessed January 15, 2016.
5.,accessed January 15, 2016.
6. The projection of the LiDAR data is Lambert Con-
formal Conic, horizontal datum is NAD83, units are feet
(EPSG:2992). This projection is somewhat unusual, but the
GIS raster images can be easily re-projected into a more suit-
able projection system. Vertical datum is NAVD88.
7. Two of these survey markers, each marked with a
brass cap stamped Fort Corner 1974were found 5-10 cm
below the ground surface during the 2016 project during
the bastion excavations in the northeast and southwest corners
of the fort, respectively. These were left in situ.
Acknowledgments. The authors would like to thank Karen
and Scott Knox, Ron Crook, Steve Donovan, Mark Kramer,
Richard Watson, and the community of Gold Beach, Oregon,
for their hospitality. We are grateful for the support of Chief
Donald Ivy, Betty Hockema, Bridgett Borchman-Wheeler,
and Kassandra Rippee from the Coquille Indian Tribe; Robert
Kentta from the Confederated Tribes of Siletz; David Harrel-
son of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; and Joel
Bravo, Loren Bommelyn, and Suntayae Steinruck from the
Tolowa Dee-ni´. The MinersFort project was supported in
part by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and
we thank Nancy Nelson and Trevor Taylor.A terric archaeo-
logical eld school executed the project, and we are grateful
for sharing those experiences with the students. We also
appreciate the continued support of Dan DeNeui, Mark Shib-
ley, and Joanne Preston at Southern Oregon University and
Sigrid Arnott, Andrew Bastier, Amy Cohen, Ashley Cordes,
Kyle Crebbin, Dan Edgerton, Lynn Gamble, Dennis Grifn,
Katie Johnson, and Ben Truwe, who contributed to the
project. Finally, the lead authors would like to thank David
Maki and Geoffrey Jones, who transxed us with their
mystical gizmos and the phantasms that they conjured.
Data Availability Statement. The MinersFort excavation
was conducted under an archaeological permit (AP 2147)
issued by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Ofce to
the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology
(SOULA). All eld notes and artifacts from the project are
curated at the SOULA lab at Southern Oregon University in
Ashland, Oregon, under curation number 2016.03.
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The Rogue River War (RRW) between Indigenous peoples and settlers is historically overlooked and storied through settler-colonial lenses. This essay narrates participation in a digital restorying and archaeological investigation into the war in light of digital advancements in archaeology and communication. The author coins a reflexive approach referred to as a digital constellatory autoethnographic mode of Indigenous archaeology (DCAM) and details how Snapchats, iPhone images, digital memory cards, and artifacts/belongings have sets of logic, mood, and vocalic character. DCAM demonstrates how digital media not counted as “official” data enables Indigenous and ally researchers to have more honest engagements with histories.
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During the 19th century, the U.S. government took ownership of Dakota homelands in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory, leading to increasingly violent conflicts and decades of war. Military and militia forts were built at the physical boundaries of contested space to push “hostiles” west and to protect European American settlers. Fort Wadsworth, constructed in South Dakota during the 1864 Dakota Campaign, and Fort Juelson, built in 1876 by Norwegian immigrants during an “Indian scare” in Minnesota, were both knowingly constructed on top of burial mounds, appropriating and reshaping sacred Native American landscapes into protective enclosures for the dominating, yet fearful, colonizers. Aerial laser scanning, geophysical survey, and historical research explore the archaeological expression and significance of these interlocked landscapes at geographic and cognitive frontiers.
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Frontiers are contingent and dynamic arenas for the negotiation, entrenchment, and innovation of identity, and the imposing materiality of frontier fortifications and their prominence in colonial topographies make them ideal laboratories in which to examine this dynamic. This article presents the results of large-scale excavations in 2011 and 2012 at the officers’ quarters and enlisted men's barracks at Fort Lane, a U.S. Army outpost used during the Rogue River Wars in southern Oregon between 1853 and 1856. We consider how, within this arena, the identities of social class, Confederate or Union, and East Coaster or frontiersman, were crafted in this pre–Civil War frontier setting at the dawn of the modern era.
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Historical maps have the potential to aid archaeological investigations into the persistence of Native American settlements during the mid-19th century, a time when many Native communities disappear from archaeological view. Focusing on Tomales Bay in central California, we evaluate the usefulness of historical maps as a way to discover and interpret archaeological deposits dating to the period, with the aim of better understanding indigenous patterns of residence at the transition from missionary to settler colonialism. In particular, we focus on diseños and plats created to document Mexican-era land grants as well as early maps produced by the General Land Office and United States Coast Survey. Although we note inconsistencies regarding the inclusion of indigenous settlements on historical maps, our case study offers an example of how archaeologists can employ historical maps and targeted archaeological ground-truthing to discover sites that are poorly represented in the historical and archaeological records.
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In this research files article, Shannon Tushingham and Richard Brooks discuss collaborative research on the history of human use of the Hiouchi Flat area near the north bank of the Smith River in California. The authors met in 2003 when Tushingham was conducting archaeological research as a graduate student. Through her research and archaeological work, Tushingham became interested in how the Native community living in the area persisted after Euro-American contact in ways that melded and introduced cultural elements within a traditional Tolowa way of life. The authors document the remembrances and stories of two families — the Cookes and the Catchings — who are examples “of how Tolowa people persisted in the aftermath of the Gold Rush at Hiouchi Flat,” and how “many Indian traditions were passed on because of this persistence.”
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"Do you know the story of the Battle of Hungry Hill? A woman--Queen Mary--led the Native Americans from horseback, and her booming voice could be heard across the battlefield" -- Coquille Elder George Bundy Wasson Jr. from: The Battle of Hungry Hill, fought on October 31 and November 1, 1855, ended in a “humiliating defeat for a fragile coalition of U.S. Army dragoons and several companies of citizen volunteers” against the Takelma. In this research article, Mark Tveskov describes how Euro-American accounts of the battle “overlooked the American defeat,” “veterans of the battle minimized the defeat and desertion in their memoirs, sometimes mythologizing the battle to the point of turning it into a victory,” and “the battle was lost to the larger historical narrative of the American West.” In September 2012, a team of archaeologists and scholars discovered the battle site, and their research points to a history that is sometimes at odds with long-standing portrayals of the Battle of Hungry Hill.
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The remarkable potential of geophysical scanning—to assess the internal variability of sites in new ways, to highlight important phenomena in the field, to exercise co-creation of interpretation and commitment to minimal destruction of community partners’ resources, and to aid in the practice of due diligence in avoiding desecration of the sacred—continues to be underutilized in archaeology. While archaeological artifacts, features, and strata remain primary foci of archaeological geophysics, these phenomena are perceived quite differently in scans than in visual or tactile exposures. In turn, new registers of site exploration afforded by geophysical prospection may be constrained by the language of site excavation and visual observation, requiring adjustments in the ways of thinking about and describing what the instruments are measuring. The texture and form of site deposits as rendered in ground-penetrating radar scans can be examined in detail prior to making interpretations of cultural features or stratigraphy. Far more than simple “anomalies” demanding our attention for excavation, patterns in geophysical data can be the focus of extensive archaeological analysis prior to, in conjunction with, or independent from excavation.
As federally and non-federally recognized tribal communities assert control over the management of tribal heritage, there is a significant opportunity to work with these nations to further refine and develop approaches to archaeological practice that work for the long-term care and protection of tribal heritage. This article evaluates the methodological implications of integrating indigenous values and cultural protocols into archaeological practice and tribal historic preservation. Drawing upon the example of the Kashaya Pomo Interpretive Trail Project at Fort Ross State Historic Park, I examine how respectful, engaged, community-based dialogue with the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians led to the development of a lowimpact archaeological methodology that contributes to the capacity of the Kashia Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) to employ archaeology as a tool of historic preservation. Although this methodology was developed with specific reference to the needs and cultural protocols of the Kashaya Pomo, it provides a salient model of a sovereignty-based approach to tribal historic preservation that may be relevant to other tribal heritage managers. The application of a suite of low-impact survey methods, including the catch-and-release surface collection strategy, also provides tribal and nontribal heritage professionals with additional tools for recovering data from cultural resources with minimal impact.