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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 59–70 | Cite as

Interpreting Chinese Worker Camps on the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah

  • Michael R. Polk (迈克 ‧ 波克)
Article
  • 116 Downloads

Abstract

The first transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah, on 10 May 1869. Unique to this construction was the employment of thousands of ethnic Chinese railroad workers. The Promontory Mountains portion of the route had the largest concentration of railroad construction camps. Of 19 camps recorded during an inventory of the Golden Spike National Historic Site, four appear to be of Chinese ethnic origin. These camps were smaller than European American camps, with fewer features. Both Chinese and European American artifacts were found at Chinese worker camps, revealing the practicality of and need for locally produced and railroad-issued items, as well as the workers’ desire to use ethnically familiar items. A comparison with Chinese construction camps in Nevada and California reveals important similarities, suggesting that up to 500 Chinese construction laborers may have lived at the four Utah sites. A multifaceted explanation is provided for the separation of Chinese camps from other workers’ camps.

试论犹他突顶山上的中国劳工营

Chouxiàng

1869年五月10日, 第一条横贯大陆铁路在犹他州的突顶山 峻工。这一工程的独特之处, 在于它雇佣了成千上万的中 国工人。突顶山路段聚集了该铁路工程中最多的劳工营。 在金色道钉国家历史纪念地的目录所记载的19个营地中, 有四个属于中国工人。这些营地比欧美营地规模小, 而遗 迹较少。在中国劳工营, 来自中国与欧美的文物均有出 土。这既显示出当地产品和铁路周边物品的实用性以及他 们对这些物品的需求, 也显示出他们对故乡熟悉物件使用 的渴望。内华达州与加州境内类似的中国劳工营相比较, 显示了两者重要的相似之处。据估计, 有多达500名中国 劳工曾居住在这四个营地内。本文还将对中国劳工营与其 它国家劳工营的分隔提供多面向的解释。

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Polk (迈克 ‧ 波克)
    • 1
  1. 1.Sagebrush ConsultantsOgdenUSA

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