Archaeologists conducting archaeological excavations in ghost towns, Utah, have made unusual discoveries. A house owned by a 19th century Chinese worker on the transcontinental railroad.
This house, now just a layer of floorboards littered with Chinese coins, stone tools and other crafts, is the first fully excavated Chinese house on the transcontinental railroad. More than 11,000 immigrants from China helped build a railroad linking the Eastern Iowa Line to San Francisco Bay. However, these workers are often excluded from historical documents from the late 1800s, said Christopher Merritt of the State Historic Preservation Office of the Utah Department of History. For example, the existence of Chinatown was not on any map of the terrace.
“Being able to open the entire house for the first time gave us a very interesting lens,” Merritt said of the Chinese railroad worker community.
The town of Terrace was realized in northwestern Utah with the construction of a railroad in the late 1860s. At its peak, it was a railway maintenance town with about 500 people. But in 1902, the railroad Great salt lakeThis meant that workers did not have to travel the lake or pass the terrace. By 1904, the terrace was gone.
A fire in the early 1900s extinguished many of the town’s main streets, but the relics were scattered on the ground. Although looting and vandalism are common problems, state archaeologists desperately want to investigate and protect the site, as the relics represented a “time capsule in a boomtown.” I was thinking.
In close cooperation with the Utah-based China Railroad Workers Descendants Association, the archaeological team made two excavations on-site.
“Material culture, the amount of man-made objects on the ground is amazing,” Merit told Live Science. Archaeologists have collected 10,000 to 20,000 items that have been preserved by the dry desert climate. These items revealed something not on any map: the location of Chinatown on the terrace.
Chinese culture on the transcontinental railroad
Researchers have found where Chinese workers on the terrace are based on artifacts such as Chinese coins, game pieces, Chinese porcelain bowl fragments, stone tools that would have been used to put soy sauce and vinegar. I was able to find out if I lived. According to Merritt, these goods arrived in San Francisco by ship from China across the Pacific Ocean, where workers loaded them on trains for a trip to this “podunk” small town. Archaeologists and volunteers at the excavation site even discovered that melon seeds, peanut shells, and Chinese jujubes were preserved there.
According to Merritt, the 1870 census recorded 56 Chinese workers living on the terrace at the top of the town, but the census records underestimated minorities and immigrant groups. Often. As many as 100 Chinese workers may have called the town temporary housing at its peak. He said there were no legal requirements to isolate these workers from the white residents of the town, but discrimination and racism separated the two communities.
However, researchers have found evidence of at least one Chinese company on the main street. The industry was unclear, but archaeologists found Chinese liquor jars, stone tools, and porcelain at the base of the building. It could have been a grocery store, laundry, or even a restaurant, Merritt said.
“I don’t know the answer yet, but at least now there’s one fixed point that there was a Chinese presence on this main street on the terrace,” Merritt said.
Researchers are now planning a more thorough analysis of the artifacts found in the field, hoping to reveal more stories of the workers who enabled the transcontinental railroad. Utah policymakers also want to protect the terrace. Karen Kwan, a member of Parliament, who is the chairman of the China Railroad Workers Descendants Association, Told to KSL.com She plans to introduce a resolution at the next legislative session that emphasizes the importance of ghost towns like terraces. New fences and signs have also been installed to warn visitors of the site’s identity and prevent looting.
Originally published in Live Science..
Chinese railroad worker’s house excavated in a ghost town, Utah
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