the friends of Kam Wah Chung Summer '19 Events






Public Archaeologic Dig at Kam Wah Chung,

 July 11 – 15, 2019.


 Public Archaeology Day is Saturday, July 13.  On this day, the public is welcome to come participate in helping archaeologist excavate at Kam Wah Chung.  They can get their hands dirty helping to screen for artifacts, maybe even help excavate units!  Tables will be set up to view artifacts found during the dig and artifacts from the collection as well.





Free Public Lecture Series in July




Thursday July 11th 6:00-8:00pm, Canyon City Community Hall, Canyon City


“Archaeology of the Despised: Blacks, Jews, Chinese.”

Dr. Adrian Praetzellis, Sonoma State University


Despite its gloomy title this topic isn’t so depressing. For although racism and poverty were accepted parts of life in the 19th century Far West, archaeology shows that human tenacity and the ability to adapt were alive and well. African American railway porters, Gold Rush era Chinese merchants, and urban Polish Jews were as culturally different as can be. And yet their varied responses to adversity—as preserved in their artifacts and history—show the common resolve to live in dignity that is part of our shared humanity.


Adrian Praetzellis’ experience in archaeology began on Roman and medieval sites in the UK even before he dropped out of high school. Adrian learned his trade on the British archaeology circuit, slowly advancing from itinerant digger to site supervisor. Since moving to the US, he has taught archaeology to generations of university students and written a stack of technical articles that hardly anyone reads. Adrian is also the author of three modestly successful books on archaeological method and theory, most recently Archaeological Theory in a Nutshell (Routledge 2015). He has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Sonoma State University.




Thursday July 18th 6:00-8:00pm, Canyon City Community Hall, Canyon City



"Chinese Tunnels": Myth or Reality?

Dr. Priscilla Wegars, Asian American Comparative Collection


Today, many communities in the American West, where Chinese people once lived, are rumored to have so-called "Chinese tunnels" under downtown buildings and streets. One such place is Pendleton, Oregon. Can "Chinese tunnels" be substantiated, whether through documentary research, oral histories, or other sources? If so, where do they exist, how were they used, and what is the proof of their existence? If not, are they myths with some basis in fact, such as basements that were subdivided or partitioned into smaller areas for use as businesses, living quarters, or opium-smoking establishments? Or, are they stereotypes like others such as "Chinese ovens" and "Chinese walls," wherein anything unexplainable, i.e., "mysterious," is attributed to the Chinese? This PowerPoint presentation investigates these questions, with the aim of providing a definitive answer to the question, "'Chinese Tunnels'": Myth or Reality?"


Priscilla Wegars, Ph.D., is a historian, historical archaeologist, artifact analyst, editor, and proofreader. She founded the University of Idaho's Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC), a unique resource of artifacts, images, and documentary materials essential for understanding Asian American archaeological sites, economic contributions, and cultural history, She wrote Polly Bemis: A Chinese American Pioneer (2003; Honorable Mention for Idaho Book of the Year); Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp (2010); and As Rugged as the Terrain: CCC “Boys,” Federal Convicts, and World War II Alien Internees Wrestle with a Mountain Wilderness (2013; Co-Winner for Idaho Book of the Year). She edited Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese (1993) and co-edited Chinese American Death Rituals: Respecting the Ancestors (2005). Her current project is a full-length biography of Polly Bemis.




Thursday July 25th 6:00-8:00pm, Canyon City Community Hall, Canyon City



“May 1887, What happened?”

Dr. Chuimei Ho and Dr. Bennet Bronson


In May 1887 residents in Lewiston, Idaho recovered parts of 34 Chinese bodies that had drifted down the Snake River. Later investigations showed that seven horse thieves from the Enterprise area in Oregon had murdered those Chinese gold miners at Deep Creek Cove on the Snake. Much has been written on the subject by using exhaustive public and private local data. This presentation will add contemporary perspectives of Chinese in several American cities, including John Day, while tracking a century-long investigation, reporting on a trip to the village where the victims came from, and putting the murder in a wider historical context for discussion.


Dr. Chuimei Ho was born in Hong Kong. She received her BA from the University of Hong Kong in 1977 and her Ph.D., in art history and archaeology, from the University of London in 1984. She came to the United States in 1987 and was adjunct curator at the Field Museum for a number of years. In 2001 she became a founder and first president of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago. Then in 2008 she founded the Chinese in Northwest America Research Committee (CINARC) with Bennet Bronson. Together they have co-authored Coming Home in Gold Brocade, Chinese in Early Northwest America in 2014 and Three Chinese Temples in California – Weaverville, Oroville, Marysville in 2016. Currently they are working on a volume to document early Chinese temples and shrines built in North America before 1920.


Dr. Bennet Bronson was born in Connecticut and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. He was Curator of Asian Archaeology and Ethnology at Chicago’s Field Museum from 1971 to 2008. He specializes in the economic and social evolution of human cultures in eastern Asia, with special reference to early technology and trade. He has been involved for a number of years in a program of archaeological and ethnographic work in China, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Sri Lanka, combined with research on the Asian collections of the Field Museum. His publications include Pearls, co-authored with several researchers at the Natural History Museums in New York, and Splendors of the Forbidden City with Chuimei Ho. He is a co-founder of CINARC, and the webmaster of its website,









 ©  2019  Friends of Kam Wah Chung

Chinese Year of the Earth Pig 4717