Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Boring to the Core: The Archaeology, History, and Dendrochronology of a Railroad Logging Camp, Ladee Flat, Clackamas County, Oregon Public Deposited

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  • Although the timber industry was the major economic force in the lives of several generations of Oregon families, very little archaeological investigation has been done on the dozens of abandoned logging camps that are scattered throughout the forests of the Pacific Northwest. This project focuses on Camp 1, a 1920s era railroad logging operation in the western Cascade Mountains of Clackamas County, approximately 8 miles southeast of Estacada, Oregon. The study contributes to a growing archaeological railroad logging database in Oregon by locating and documenting the spatial organization of one of these forgotten camps and its associated log transportation system, a railroad incline. Archival research, oral histories, photogrammetry, dendrochronology, and archaeological survey methods generated the data that was used to determine site boundaries, as well as locate and identify the function of activity loci represented by surface features and debris scatters. This study demonstrated that tree ages obtained from tree-ring counts on the trees that had regenerated on the site during a systemic survey of the probable location of the camp, in conjunction with organic artifacts such as springboard cut stumps, and the location of artifact concentrations is an effective method to establish site boundaries. The dendrochronological study revealed three disturbance events that have affected the current archaeological record found on the site, two forest fires and the construction of a landing strip. Although Camp 1 has experienced significant cultural and natural impacts to the archaeological resources found on the site, this study has demonstrated that heavily disturbed sites still possess information that is useful to answer a variety of research questions regarding the life ways, technological systems, and use of space in temporary logging camps where thousands of people once lived and worked in the forests of the region.
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