In photo at left, Katelyn Briggs (right), Na-Anduin MacLeod and others sift through tons of dirt as they search for clues to the original Robert Newell homestead at Champoeg State Heritage Area.
How often do we get to visit an archaeological dig within a 15-minute drive from our own home? How exciting!
This dig is exhuming early, little-known Oregon history at the site of the former Champoeg State Park, not a heritage area.
“[Oregon State University] Professor David Brauner with assistance from doctoral student and field director Mollie Manion, the eight undergraduate and four graduate students began the … process of excavating the site June 23,” according to the Graphic article on the topic.
IFO has already visited this dig once and is heading out again for another trip to see what they have uncovered since then. The homestead they found may be the first American farm ever built in the Pacific Northwest, according to evidence found recently.
Manion and Brauner explain that they are endeavoring “to give a voice to the people who were left out of the history books.”
Those people include John Ball, who built and lived in the Newell homestead prior to the Newell family, making it what is believed to be
Champoeg was a significant pioneer town for farmers and trappers starting in the 1850s, but after it was wiped out by a large flood in 1861, few remnants of the town remain.
And so the adventures in history continue – even in our own back yard.