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Britt Archaeological Dig Nominated to National Register of Historic Places

Peter Britt and his family moved to the area shortly after the start of the Gold Rush.

Posted: Feb 22, 2019 7:04 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 10:59 AM

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. -- Archaeologists are nominating the Britt Festival to the National Register of Historic Places.

The festival site is an active archaeology dig. 

Chelsea Rose is an archaeologist at Southern Oregon University, and says the site is a shoo-in to be included on the register. She adds it can take some time for the paperwork to work through all the red tape, but thinks the historical significance of the site will aid its inclusion.

Peter Britt and his family moved to the area shortly after the start of the Gold Rush. They slowly built up a homestead, he planted exotic plants and created a wine label. Britt eventually returned to his original career -- photography -- and captured what Jacksonville and the surrounding area looked like in the 1800s.

CLICK HERE for more history about Peter Britt. 

Rose says the active digs have found important and surprising artifacts.

Today, where a wheelchair ramp sits, was once a barn.

"What we discovered when they did some improvements in 2012 and put in this ramp was that the barn that used to stand here was not razed and moved off site," Rose said. "It as basically just squished and dirt was put on top."

She says they also found garbage pits, which is a gold mine for archaeologists. 

"In that earlier garbage pit is a lot of information about the types of food that Peter Britt was eating -- what he could afford [and] what was available -- compared to much later when the town was more established," Rose said. 

She says the site continues to discover items.

"We recovered some grape seeds that we hope to do DNA on to see what varietals of wine Britt was growing in the 1870s," Rose said. 

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